I am not a developer, just a charity volunteer so bear with me please!!...

I would like to find a way to simply view files uploaded to contacts (for example under Activities, or Notes) without downloading them every time.

Example, I want to save a PDF of a letter under a Note. But every time I want to view the PDF, it downloads it, clogging up my PC....

How do I get around this problem??

Thank you and apologies if this is a super duper easy question...




As Pradeep implies, this isn't a CiviCRM issue but a web browser configuration issue.

I'm not sure what web browser you're using, but in Firefox, when I click on a PDF in an activity (see "1" below), I get a pop-up where I can select "Open With" (2) and "Do this automatically for files like this from now on" (3). I imagine similar options exist for all the major web browsers.

enter image description here

  • Thank youuu :=) – ANNA COASSIN Sep 3 '18 at 7:53
  • Just to note that this will still download the file to your computer. It's just that it will save the file in a temporary directory rather than saving it in your downloads directory. – William Mortada Sep 7 '18 at 11:49

To view pdf rather downloading locally you will need to install a PDF preview "add on" in Chrome.

Or you can turn off PDF download from chrome settings

Navigate to Settings >> Advanced >> Content Settings >> PDF Documents. Turn off 'Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them in Chrome'.



  • Hi, I have tried this, and it still downloads every time :(.... – ANNA COASSIN Sep 4 '18 at 11:36
  • Hi Anna, I have updated my answer to include second solution i.e turn off from chrome browser settings. – Pradeep Nayak Sep 6 '18 at 15:28

In the latest version, if you customize civicrm/file link to have download=0 query string parameter in it, the file will be opened in a new tab instead of downloading. For eg, if the URL is


Adding download parameter will open the pdf/image in the new tab of the browser.


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