How to View PDF Files on Firefox Browser without Downloading

The PDF documents that are available on the web, could earlier be only downloaded and then opened using one of the many PDF readers and editors installed in the computer OS. But now, most of them have provided the easier and direct options for viewing the PDF files, without leaving the browser. For Mozilla Firefox, there are two different ways for doing that.
– Using the built-in PDF Viewer in the browser
– Using a reader plugin and make it default

View PDF file in Firefox using the built-in PDF viewer

Firefox PDF Viewer

The built-in PDF Viewer in the Firefox browser is quite enough for the users to view the PDF document, as it doesn’t take up any extra load and saves a lot of time, without the need of downloading and opening the external app to view the document.

This PDF viewer is enabled by default, and you would have to dig a little into the internal settings if you don’t want to use this viewer, and wanted to download the PDF file before opening it, although there is an option of saving in the viewer.

Features / functions in the built-in PDF viewer

There are quite a few features of this viewer, and it doesn’t end with just displaying the PDF file. Here’s what all the plugin does.

Zooming in and out – comes with the direct options to zoom in and out. There is also Automatic Zoom options, and the user can select a particular zoom or select to see PDF on the page width or the page fit size.

Firefox PDF Viewer Zooming

Page up / down & Skipping to a page – the user can go up and down the different pages in the PDF using the options, and also can skip directly to a particular page by typing the number.

Firefox PDF Viewer Pages

View page thumbnails – For those who don’t have an idea of which page they directly wanted to skip to, there’s a thumbnail viewer that opens on the left side and the user can quickly scroll through that before selecting the actual page they wanted to read.

Firefox PDF Viewer Thumbnails

Options on the right corner – There are four options which are really helpful in doing the stuff that you would want when you don’t want to end it with just the reading of the PDF – download the PDF file to the computer, Print it directly from the browser, switching it to the full screen mode and opening the current view in the new window.

Firefox PDF Viewer Options

You can open the pdf in full screen view, and this is a good part considering that you don’t need to install any third party apps or plugins to do this.

Firefox PDF Full Screen

Controlling the PDF Viewer with keyboard shortcuts

There are several keyboard shortcuts using which you can control the PDF and do the same functions which are given on the top of the reader.

  • Next page: ? or N or K
  • Previous page: ? or P or J
  • Zoom in: Ctrl + +
  • Zoom out: Ctrl +
  • Auto zoom: Ctrl + 0
  • Rotating the document: r
  • Rotating counterclockwise: shift + r

How to view PDF files using Adobe Reader in Firefox

There are some chances that you might not like to use the default and built-in PDF viewer in your Firefox browser, and may look for alternatives. The best alternative would be the Adobe reader, which can again open the PDF file directly from the browser without having to download it separately and open it from the downloads section.

If you have the Adobe Reader installed in your computer, then proceed with the steps below to set it up to view the PDF files, and if not, first download it from this link: Adobe Reader.

Go to Options from the Firefox Menu, and select the Applications Tab.

Under the applications, you will see the various content types, in which you will need to browse to “Portable Document Format (PDF)”, which would be having the default option of “Preview in Firefox” with a few other options, but the one you need to select here is “Open in Adobe Reader”.

Firefox Options PDF

The best PDF reader plugins which can directly open your PDF files without downloading them, include the Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Reader, Nitro PDF Reader and Sumatra PDF. Do keep in mind that what all we are discussing here, is about the PDF viewing, and not about the editing.

Firefox doesn’t open PDF files with the built-in viewer

Some times, the Firefox browser won’t open any PDF files irrespective of the size or the content. If you are facing such an issue, check out the workaround to try out.

1. Choose to download the PDF and open it with the PDF reader out of the browser (in the worst case).

2. Follow the above step to switch to an option such as Adobe Acrobat to open the PDF files in the browser.

3. This probably could be an issue because of one of the add-ons you have installed, which blocks the javascript. Go to the Add-ons section in the Firefox menu, and start disabling one add-on after the other and test whether the PDF is opening.

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