Native PDF Viewer added to Firefox

With the release of Firefox 19 beta the team at Mozilla has taken the exciting step of officially integrating the PDF.js open source project, a PDF reader written in JavaScript and also developed by Mozilla, into their popular web browser.

After you have upgraded to Firefox 19 beta the next time you click on a link to a PDF you will find that it automatically displays the PDF in the browser using the new built-in PDF viewer.

The features are limited right now:

  • View PDF files
  • Zoom
  • Print
  • Select text
  • Bookmark / page thumbnail navigation

The addition of a native PDF reader to Firefox comes a couple of years after Google added the same PDF viewing functionality to their Chrome browser. Up until now Firefox users had to install add-ons done by third-parties if they wanted PDF viewing functionality inside the browser.

PDF.js is a relatively new project so there are some issues rendering certain types of PDFs — in one test I did it had trouble rendering a PDF that used transparency groups — but these issues should be ironed out over time. It can take a number of years before a PDF viewer reaches maturity.

A tip of the hat to the Mozilla team for making it easier for everyone to view PDF files easily.

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About the Author: Rowan Hanna

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