Google Chrome users may soon be able to download an edited PDF without workarounds, based on recently spotted changes in the Chromium Gerrit. The change, as is implied, centers around Chrome's built-in PDF Viewer. And the commit itself is fairly straightforward. Namely, it points to the addition of "UI to download edited PDF."
That includes the addition of an "action menu" that provides options to download either an edited or the original PDF. The menu isn't going to be activated by default though. So users may not see it every time. Instead, the company is setting the tool up to only show the menu if there are edits to the document. The "SaveEditedPDFForm" feature also needs to be enabled.
That latter requirement likely refers to a flag to be added in the Chromium Gerrit for testing. And, later on, that may be swapped out to refer to a setting in the PDF Viewer's settings. But it isn't immediately clear whether that's the case.
So what, exactly, is this PDF Viewer Download change?
By comparison to how the PDF Viewer feature currently works in Chrome, the ability to download an edited document isn't entirely new. In fact, it's already relatively easy to accomplish. Namely, users need to load up the "Print" UI instead of tapping the download button. Then, they need to select the option to "print" the document as a PDF. That saves the PDF in its current form, edits and all.
But clicking on the download will only download the original documents, without the edits being represented.
That makes the current feature somewhat counterintuitive. The expectation would be that the 'current' iteration of a given document, PDF or otherwise, would be downloaded at a click. Not some earlier version of the document that's no longer visible. That is, in a nutshell, how effectively every document-editing program works, whether that's for PDFs or other file types.
The disparity has existed in Chrome since the PDF Viewer was first added to the code. So this will undoubtedly be a welcome change from the user perspective. Especially with more users working or learning from home than ever before.
This isn't the only recent change spotted on its way to Chrome's PDF Viewer
Now, Google is also making a few other changes to the way Chrome handles PDFs in a bid to bring some consistency between its web app experience and that found on traditional platforms. For instance, Googlers are currently testing the rollout of a two-page view.
As expected, a two-page view lets users see more than one page of a PDF at once. Like the new saving feature, that will undoubtedly improve productivity, although the download feature is obviously more focused on improving intuitiveness and usability.
That earlier test feature is also only appearing in beta variants of Chrome, leaving Chrome OS out for the time being unless users are willing to install a more buggy variant of the OS. A similar path will most likely be followed with the new download feature. And, as with most features in Chrome, that will likely be tucked behind flags, to begin with. But those haven't been added just yet.