View PDF files in Firefox or choose another viewer

Firefox includes a built-in PDF viewer to display PDF files inside the browser window. This article explains how to use the built-in PDF viewer, how to fix the common issues you might encounter, and how to use another PDF viewer.

Firefox’s built-in PDF Viewer

Firefox includes a built-in PDF viewer that allows you to view almost all PDF files found on the web without an external application (exceptions to this are PDF files with a MIME type incorrectly set). This built-in PDF viewer is enabled by default. When you click on a link to a PDF file or open it from the Firefox Downloads panel, it will be rendered with the built-in pdf viewer.


To learn more about the built-in PDF viewer, see Using Firefox's built-in PDF viewer (below).

Use a third-party PDF viewer for downloaded PDF files

When Firefox is set as the default for viewing PDFs in the browser, you can still open downloaded PDF files with a third-party tool. To open a PDF file you downloaded in Firefox using another viewer:

  1. Open the Downloads panel by clicking the download icon 57 download icon next to the address bar.
  2. Right-click on the file folder iconWinDownloadFile of the PDF file and select Open Containing Folder.Hold down the control key while you click (two-finger click) the magnifying glass icon MagnifyingGlassof the PDF file and select Show in Finder.
  3. Then, in the Downloads folder, right-clickControl-click on the file, select Open with and choose your favorite PDF viewer.

Disable the built-in PDF viewer and use another viewer

You can also set a different third-party PDF viewer to handle PDF files, instead of Firefox’s built-in PDF viewer. To switch from using the built-in PDF viewer to another viewer:

  1. In the Menu bar at the top of the screen, click Firefox and select Preferences. Click the menu button Fx57Menu and select OptionsPreferences.Click the menu button Fx89menuButton and select Settings.

  2. In the General panel, go down to the Applications section.
  3. Find Portable Document Format (PDF) in the list and click on the entry to select it.
  4. Click on the arrow under the Action column for the above entry and select the PDF viewer you wish to use from the drop-down menu.
Note: When Open in Firefox is the selected action, the built-in PDF viewer is used.

Set Firefox to ask you what to do with PDF files

If you want Firefox to always ask you what to do with PDF files, follow the above steps to change the action for the Portable Document Format (PDF) entry, except select Always ask from the drop-down menu. The next time you click on a link to download a PDF file, Firefox will show you a prompt asking what to do with the file. You can then choose to open it with Firefox's built-in PDF viewer, open it with a different PDF application, or you can choose to save the file.


For more information, see Change what Firefox does when you click on or download a file.

Using Firefox's built-in PDF viewer

Fill out forms in PDF Viewer

Note: This feature is available starting in Firefox version 83 and higher.

Some PDF files have interactive fields to fill in data (such as on forms). Using Firefox's built-in PDF viewer you can fill out fields such as text, check boxes, and radio buttons. After entering data into these fields you can download the file to have the filled-out version saved to your computer.

PDF Form

PDF Viewer toolbar functions

  • View document thumbnails or outline: The slider button on the far left will open a sidebar with thumbnails of the document's pages. Some documents will also have an outline view available. These make it easy to navigate through a long document.
    PDF Thumbnails
  • Page up and down or skip directly to a page: You can use the up and down arrows to page through a document or enter the number of the page you want to go to.
    PDF Pager
  • Change the size of the document: Use the + and - buttons to zoom in and out or choose a zoom setting from the dropdown menu.
    PDF Zoom
  • Fullscreen or Presentation mode: Click the fullscreen button to allow the PDF file to take over your entire screen. Press ESC to exit fullscreen mode.
    PDF Fullscreen
  • Print: Click the Printer button to open the print setup dialog.
    PDF Print
  • Download: Click the Download button to save the PDF file to your computer or to open it with a PDF reader program.
    PDF Download
  • Copy current view: Right-clickHold down the control key while you click the current view button to open the current view in another tab or window.
    PDF Copy

PDF Viewer keyboard shortcuts

Command Shortcut
Next page N or J or or Page Down
Previous page P or K or or Page Up
Zoom in Ctrl + +command + +
Zoom out Ctrl + -command + -
Automatic Zoom Ctrl + 0command + 0
Rotate the document clockwise R
Rotate counterclockwise Shift + R

Troubleshoot problems with the PDF viewer

  • With certain types of PDF files, the PDF Viewer may have problems displaying fonts, colors, or the whole document. If some PDF files don't render well or are blank, click the download button on the right side of the document header to open it with the default PDF viewer application on your computer.

Was this article helpful?

Please wait...

These fine people helped write this article:

Illustration of hands


Grow and share your expertise with others. Answer questions and improve our knowledge base.

Learn More