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View PDFs in Firefox 5 Web Browsers
To date, people who wanted to view downloaded PDFs on a Mac have had three options:
  • Use Safari's in-line PDF viewer plug-in to view PDFs in Safari.
  • Use Firefox v3 and the Firefox PDF plug-in for Mac to view PDFs in Firefox.
  • Use a current version of Firefox, download the PDFs, and view them in a PDF reader app.
That's right -- there was no way to view PDFs in Firefox 4 or 5 as one could do in Safari, because the Firefox PDF plug-in didn't work above Firefox 3.6.

That is, it didn't officially work. But it turns out that with some simple modifications, you can get this plug-in to work just fine in Firefox 5 and probably future versions of Firefox, thus allowing you to view PDFs in the browser once again.
  • With the Applications folder open in Finder, do a Get Info on Firefox.
  • Check the box for 'Open in 32-bit mode.'
  • If Firefox is currently open, quit and relaunch it.
  • Download the Firefox PDF Plug-in for Mac (this is the beta 1.2 plug-in; the official 1.1.3 plug-in doesn't work with this procedure).
  • When prompted, Save the downloaded file.
  • You should get a file called fx-quartz-pdf-1.2.0.xpi in your Downloads folder. Double-click it to decompress it.
  • Inside the resulting folder, you'll see 'install.rdf.' Open this file in TextEdit or vi or another simple text editor.
  • Look for a line reading '<em:maxVersion>4.0.*</em:maxVersion>'.
  • Change that 4 to 20. (Or you could change it to 5, but since Firefox is going to go through version numbers pretty quickly, you should pick one pretty far out.)
  • Save and exit.
  • Select all the files in the fx-quartz-pdf-1.2.0 folder, right-click on them, and select 'Compress 6 items.' Do NOT compress the containing folder or it won't work later on.
  • Now you'll have a file called Archive.zip. Rename this file fx-quartz-pdf-1.2.0.xpi.
  • In Firefox, go to the Tools menu and select Add-Ons.
  • At the top of the window, look for the button with the gear icon. Click this and select 'Install Add-On from File.'
  • Browse to and select the fx-quartz-pdf-1.2.0.xpi file you created.
  • Approve the add-on installation when prompted.
Now this may work fine for some of you and you may be done. Test the add-on by attempting to open an online PDF. If it opens in the browser, great, you're done. But in my case, more work was required, because Firefox claimed that the add-on was installed, but it wasn't actually working. So I had to do some additional clean-up.
  • Quit Firefox.
  • Open ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/[random_characters].default/extensions/.
  • You should see a file called colesbury@gmail.com.xpi. It's the compressed file we created earlier, but with a different name. I think this is why it's not working. If you see a folder called colesbury@gmail.com instead, you have some other problem.
  • Go up one level to the [gibberish].default folder. You should see a file called extensions.ini. Open this file in your text editor.
  • Look for an entry that ends with colesbury@gmail.com.xpi.
  • Remove the '.xpi' extension.
  • Save and exit.
  • Back in the extensions folder, double-click on colesbury@gmail.com.xpi. This should expand it into a folder named colesbury@gmail.com. If necessary, delete the previous .xpi file.
  • Launch Firefox 5. It should properly display PDFs in the browser now.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one.]
    •    
  • Currently 3.82 / 5
  You rated: 5 / 5 (11 votes cast)
 
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View PDFs in Firefox 5 | 39 comments | Create New Account
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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: Superdog on Jun 24, '11 08:02:03AM

I can read PDF documents online in Firefox 4 and 5 using the Add-on PDF Download 3.0.0.2, without click on the 32bit mode.



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: abderrahman on Jun 24, '11 10:25:14AM

Just today: released PDF Browser plug-in. It works with latest Firefox and SeaMonkey, and in 64 bit mode. I've already tested. Check it out: Go here:
http://dw.com.com/redir?edId=3&siteId=4&oId=3000-2378_4-31480&ontId=2378_4&spi=9a67dda9b013a67d0fc9e7a4a042f1dd&lop=link&tag=tdw_dltext&ltype=dl_dlnow&pid=11913225&mfgId=85552&merId=85552&pguid=cn24qQoOYIwAACHQQz0AAABD&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fdownload.cnet.com%2F3001-2378_4-31480.html%3Fspi%3D9a67dda9b013a67d0fc9e7a4a042f1dd



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: Trashman on Jun 24, '11 08:04:28AM

Yes! I did have to do the extra clean-up steps to get it to work, but it works fine!



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: karog on Jun 24, '11 08:23:19AM

Chrome for OS X also has a built-in PDF viewer.



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: acc on Jun 24, '11 08:33:43AM

I had been searching for a fix to this very issue yesterday. Though this hint is a little convoluted, it works as advertised. In my case it did require the second part in order to get it to work.

Thanks



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: alexiskai on Jun 24, '11 12:04:48PM

Yeah, sorry for the convolutedness, but that was the only way to get it to work. I suspected that the second phase might be true for everyone, but having only tested it on mine, I couldn't be sure.



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: acc on Jun 26, '11 01:08:34PM

Well, I think I spoke too soon. It did work, one time. Next time I restarted FF it would not work. Not sure what the issue is but, though the extension shows as installed within the extensions manager, it refuses not work.



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: tibbar on Aug 02, '11 08:45:36PM

That's because the wrong plugin is linked in the tutorial. There are actually two versions of the PDF plugin floating around, both labeled "1.2.0". However, their file hashes are different. This one works.

http://firefox-mac-pdf.s3.amazonaws.com/fx-quartz-pdf-1.2.0.xpi

You just need to run Firefox in 32-bit mode and install the Add-on Compatibility Reporter extension. Restart. Install PDF plugin. Restart and test!

Ignore the incessant forum spam for the stupid Schubert|it plugin. It's plastered all over here and in the Google Code forums. "pdf.js" is coming soon, hopefully making both of these obsolete.



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: BrainStormMedia on Oct 26, '11 11:17:57PM

I second this. I had to open the URL in Safari to DL it, since URL links do not work in this forum.
The procedure worked WITHOUT doing all of the secondary editing. I am running 10.6.8 on a MacBook Pro, and using FF 7.0.1.



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: jsr1138 on Jun 24, '11 10:17:25AM

Great work-around! Thanks so much for posting this. I had been really annoyed with this problem since upgrading to FF4 a while back, and then was pretty annoyed to see FF5 didn't offer native PDF support either. Followed your steps and it worked like a charm -- PDFs are now opening just fine!

Couple of quick notes:
* I had to go through your full process, as well, with that second set of steps in the Extensions folder.

* A couple of times, I had issues with OSX not reading the .xpi file as a compressed file, so I had to right-click and compress the file first, then when I un/de-compressed it, it opened the archive and made the subfolders like it was supposed to. This happened in the sixth step of the first section ('You should get a file called fx-quartz-pdf-1.2.0.xpi in your Downloads folder. Double-click it to decompress it.') and then again in the eighth step in the second section ('Back in the extensions folder, double-click on colesbury@gmail.com.xpi. This should expand it into a folder...') -- but again, just manually compressing the file so OS X saw it as an archive file did the trick.

* In addition, I also ran into a minor snag when I tried to add the extension in Firefox -- when trying to select the file in the 'Browse to and select the blahblah.xpi file you created' step, that file was grayed out. It turned out that by compressing the 6 files in the previous step, it had created the file fx-quartz-pdf-1.2.0.xpi but had renamed it with a .zip on the end and then hidden the extension. I did a 'Get Info' on the file in the Finder window and just deleted the .zip from the filename. (Note that OS X will prompt you to either use .zip or .xpi as the extension at this point, and you want to select .xpi)

Just thought I'd post these minor snags in case anyone else runs into them as well. Thanks again for posting these steps!



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: alexiskai on Jun 24, '11 07:11:41PM

Hi jsr1138,

The snags you're reporting are likely the result of running the procedure under OS 10.5. This version of the OS does not recognize .xpi files as compressed files. You can get around it by renaming it with the .zip extension as you discovered and then changing back to .xpi (but do it in the Get Info dialog box or you'll run into the hidden extension problem you had).

Thanks



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: tddisc on Jun 24, '11 10:22:11AM

PDF Browser 2.4.1 works in Firefox 4 and 5 (in 64bit mode). Although MacUpdate says it's $69, it's free for home or educational use. Find it on their site www.schubert-it.com/pluginpdf/

T



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: gmachen on Jun 24, '11 12:14:38PM
– I couldn't get alexiskai's procedure to work under Leopard 10.5.8 (anyone else?), even if doing his additional clean-up steps. It appears normally among my Add-ons Manager active Extensions, but just doesn't work.

– [url=http://www.schubert-it.com/pluginpdf/]Here[/url] is the the main Schubert webpage for the PDF Browser Plugin 2.4.1 corresponding to abderrahman's above download link. Note well that it is Snow Leopard only; no plain-vanilla Leopard. Grrrr!

Edit: What's wrong with the URL tags? http://www.schubert-it.com/pluginpdf/

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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: alexiskai on Jun 24, '11 07:08:48PM

Hi gmachen,

I just tested this on a 10.5.8 Intel box, and it does work for me. The only thing I had to change about the procedure is that 10.5 doesn't recognize .xpi as a compressed format, so you have to go through some contortions of renaming the files to .zip and then back to .xpi. And of course you don't get the option to run in 32-bit mode under 10.5. But otherwise I did the procedure exactly as written and it worked.



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: joelseph on Jun 26, '11 07:28:37PM

No version for 10.5? That's strange... I used to use that plugin all the time on my Powerbook... long before Leopard. Wonder if the developer would provide an older version?



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: alexiskai on Jun 27, '11 09:50:41AM

See my reply to parent post - it does work in Leopard for me, with slight alterations.



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Weird side effect
Authored by: alexiskai on Jun 26, '11 02:58:44PM

It appears that one cannot copy text out of the URL address bar of a tab in which a PDF is open in Firefox. Copying out of the PDF itself works fine. Dragging text out of the URL bar works fine. It's just the copy function that doesn't work.



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: xplora on Jun 26, '11 06:20:48PM

Works great under an administrative login, but under a standard user Firefox 5 appears to detect this and still read the extension as incompatible (on 10.6.8).



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: xplora on Jun 26, '11 07:38:27PM

heh ignore me, read this instead... the 32-bit setting for the application is a user setting, therefore setting 32-bit as an admin, will not force an app to run as 32-bit for a standard user. The standard user will need to set 32-bit for themselves.



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: David Allen on Jun 27, '11 01:32:05PM

As a side note for those who would like to view pdfs in Camino, download the following file of an older pdf plugin for Firefox;
http://firefox-mac-pdf.googlecode.com/files/fx-quartz-pdf-0.9.xpi

Change the .xpi suffix to .zip and unzip the file.
Find the pdfplugin.plugin and drop it into Mac HD/Library/Internet Plug-ins (or ~/Library/Internet Plug-ins) and now instead of downloading, pdfs will open in the Camino browser.

---
Dah•veed |David Allen|
Monterrey, NL, Mexico



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: honors on Jun 28, '11 04:32:52PM

I am running OS 10.6.8 and Firefox 5.0. I ran into the snags JSR mentioned before and several others. I finally had to give up. It just seems to me that if your going to give out these directions that you would make them applicable to the very latest software versions. This wasted about an hour of my time, trying to follow these directions and then trying to undo all the steps when it did not work.



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: alexiskai on Jul 07, '11 11:19:05AM

I formulated these steps using 10.6.8 and FF5. That's what I'm running now and it continues to work fine on my machine. If you want to report that it didn't work for you, or that you got certain errors and want help, that's fine, but don't accuse me of laziness or somehow having failed you. None of these hints come with a warranty. Either give constructive feedback or keep your sour grapes to yourself.



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: honors on Jul 10, '11 10:22:40PM

All I'm saying is that I spent over an hour trying diligently, desperately to follow every single point of these directions and ran into one roadblock after another. JSR's comments were helpful in getting past a couple of snags, but overall these directions led me to one blind alley after another and did not work for me. Other readers may appreciate the warning.



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: aqwe on Aug 03, '11 03:28:54AM

Thanks a lot alexiskai!

Following *all* of the steps (even the ones you thought may not be needed) allowed me to install the plugin running with the latest FF 5.0.1 on OS X 10.6.8. So now it works just as it used to with FF3! :)

Some people just don't know how to ask for help when they get stuck and instead criticise those that are trying to offer such help. Just ignore such comments. Thumbs up to you!



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: aca on Jun 29, '11 03:18:28PM

Hooray! The Schubert plug-in does work, but it doesn't seem to allow searching (??!), so I like the no-frills Firefox plug-in. Now if it only had a "open in..." open when right-clicking, to quickly send the PDF to Preview or Acrobat when necessary.

Firefox has quit on me unexpectedly once when viewing a PDF since doing this procedure, though, so it might not be *completely* safe...



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Sure 5, but what about 6?
Authored by: smallduck on Jun 30, '11 09:57:01AM

I'm on Aurora update channel (more bleeding edge than betas, less crashy than the nightlies), add-on compatibility disabled. When trying to add the altered plugin I'm still getting "Firefox PDF Plugin for Mac OS X could not be installed because it is not compatible with Aurora 6.0a2"



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Sure 5, but what about 6?
Authored by: smallduck on Jun 30, '11 06:32:55PM

never mind, i skipped step 2 :-) now it seems to work just fine



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: illuvsummr on Jul 19, '11 12:34:54PM

Thanks; this worked beautifully for me on OS 10.5.8 (had to replace .xpi with .zip, since my OS version doesn't recognize .xpi as a compressed file format, but other than that it worked and I don't have to go back to Firefox 3.6).



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: greenvomit8 on Aug 02, '11 05:06:11AM

I got stuck at the end of the instructions. What do you mean by?
"If necessary, delete the previous .xpi file"



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: aqwe on Aug 04, '11 12:30:08AM

The process following where you edit the extensions.ini file is to make it consistent with what has changed in the .ini file. After extracting the contents of "colesbury@gmail.com.xpi", it gives you a "colesbury@gmail.com" folder (which now matches the change in the extensions.ini from the edit). So "If necessary, delete the previous .xpi file." is saying you can now remove "colesbury@gmail.com.xpi" file, because it isn't needed anymore. Now FF5 should load the plugin from the "colesbury@gmail.com" folder and it should work as it used to in FF3.

Good luck.

And don't forget the "Open in 32-bit mode" setting on FF btw.

Edited on Aug 04, '11 12:34:16AM by aqwe



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: alexiskai on Aug 25, '11 12:31:53PM

I wrote "if necessary" because some folks may have the unzip routine configured to auto-delete the archive, so they would not see the file still hanging around after it was expanded. If you still have the file at the end, by all means delete it.



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: lalani98 on Aug 06, '11 05:29:55PM

I've followed the steps listed in the first section successfully (as far as I can tell). In my Add-ons manager, the plugin is displayed (but alas, pdfs still download instead of simply viewing).

However, when I attempt the steps listed in the second section, I cannot find the paths listed. For instance, in the Library/Application Support/... part, I don't have a Firefox folder, but instead have a Mozilla folder. Inside that, there is a folder called "Extensions" and within that a gibberish folder (with two more gibberish folders inside that). The problem is that I can't find the extensions.ini file to change in any of these folders or subfolders.

Any advice?



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: aqwe on Aug 07, '11 11:19:14PM

You seem to have forgotten about the '~' in front of the directory path alexiskai specified.

The '~' means it is relative to your home directory (e.g. if you opened up a Terminal and did "cd ~", you'll find yourself at your home directory. You can try doing a "pwd" after this command and you'll see the full absolute path that you could type instead of using '~'). By default, when you open a Terminal it will start in your home directory unless you have made changes to your profile.

NB: If you haven't heard of the "home directory" before, then you can read an introduction to it here (OS X showing its *nix roots :D): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_directory
Thus the steps in the 2nd section is effectively making changes to your own user profile (where FF has stored its settings against your particular login).

---
You may teach a man to fish, but that won't stop him from being lazy. :P
Edited on Aug 07, '11 11:29:55PM by aqwe



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: lalani98 on Aug 08, '11 05:22:20AM

Excellent--I found the files in my username folder's Library. Silly Macs.

Anyway, now works like a charm. Worth going through the steps to have pdfs once again open in the browser!



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: Plecto on Aug 25, '11 10:02:23AM

Thanks a lot!! your procedure worked also for me with Firefox 6.0 on Mac OSX 10.5.8.



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: maccouch on Sep 17, '11 11:29:18AM

You can also use the schubert pdf plugin.

I wrote a description of how to install it on my website just for firefox. The default is every user, every browser.

This way you don't have to use firefox in 32 bit only or with any other limitation.



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: TylerO on Feb 04, '12 08:03:09AM

Just did it for Firefox 10.0 and it works great. Also had to do the "second" steps listed above, but it's easily worth the time to do it. Thank you!



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: lllj on Apr 09, '12 05:59:26PM

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

I held off upgrading Firefox for so long because of some incompatible add-ons. Then I finally upgraded, and my inability to properly view PDFs in the browser was driving me nuts. And it has continued to drive me nuts ever since.

I really can't express how happy I am that that worked.



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View PDFs in Firefox 5
Authored by: lonewolfette9847 on Apr 17, '12 07:39:16PM

I'm not sure if this will work in FF5, but it worked in Aurora 13+, go into preferences & click the applications tab. In the search box, type pdf & you should get two results. Change both to Adobe Reader, close preferences & restart Aurora. The pdf files my not open inline, but they should at least open separately, but automatically in Adobe Reader. It gets the job done, at least, & doesn't crash my browser or make me manually open the downloaded file.



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