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How do I get firefox to open a pdf in adobe instead of the new pdf reader?

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New User

How do I get firefox to open a pdf in adobe instead of the new pdf reader?

Before the recent update, 19.0, I would google something and see [PDF] next to a link. I click the middle mouse button to open it in a new tab. Firefox would download the file and open it with Adobe Reader. I like this.

With the new update 19.0, the pdf file would be opened in the new tab. I have to go and down load it and then open it in Adobe. I don't like this.

I go into preferences under applications. I look to see if I can change this. Next to Adobe Reader document, I choose Use Adobe Reader, but when I click on a [PDF] link, it still opens the file in Firefox and not Adobe.

I want it back to the way it was.

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Accepted Solutions
New User

Re: How do I get firefox to open a pdf in adobe instead of the new pdf reader?

Problem: Open a pdf in Firefox, it wants to save the file. Remedy: In Firefox, Tools, Options, choose Applications tab. Left (Content Type) column, choose Portable Document Format (pdf). Right column (Action) choose Preview in Firefox. I am using Firefox 21.0. Wednesday, May 29, 2013, Tom Budlong

18 REPLIES
Site Moderator

Re: How do I get firefox to open a pdf in adobe instead of the new pdf reader?

You can set the pdfjs.disabled pref to true on the about:config page to disable the build-in PDF viewer and use the Adobe Reader instead.

See also:

New User

Re: How do I get firefox to open a pdf in adobe instead of the new pdf reader?

I changed the setting to true, but now it asks me to save the PDF rather than open it in Adobe Reader within FF.

Site Moderator

Re: How do I get firefox to open a pdf in adobe instead of the new pdf reader?

Check the settings for PDF files.

  • Firefox > Preferences > Applications > Adobe PDF document : Use Adobe Reader
New User

Re: How do I get firefox to open a pdf in adobe instead of the new pdf reader?

I see the same behavior -- I changed the pdfjs.disabled setting to true and now Firefox asks me to save (most) PDF files without giving me the option to open them directly with Acrobat Reader. I followed the link given above and verified that Adobe Acrobat PDF document is set to "Always ask". I don't understand why Firefox doesn't give me the option to open the files in Acrobat Reader. Nor do I understand why this is true for most, but not all pdf files (such as http://www.ti.com/lit/gpn/am26c31; I can't find an example of one that works outside our internal web site, which might be a clue that our internal web site is not configured properly).

I hate it when arbitrary changes to software breaks my workflow. http://xkcd.com/1172/

Site Moderator

Re: How do I get firefox to open a pdf in adobe instead of the new pdf reader?

Do you have the Adobe Reader plugin installed and enabled?

  • Tools > Add-ons > Plugins
New User

Re: How do I get firefox to open a pdf in adobe instead of the new pdf reader?

I don't have the plugin enabled. Traditionally, that was the only way I could figure out how to tell Firefox that I wanted to read PDF documents with the standalone reader instead of in a separate window/tab within Firefox.

The plugin I have is "Adobe Acrobat NPAPI Plug-in, Version 10.1.6". Is that the latest/best plugin to use? All I want is for Firefox to ask me "Save, or open with Reader" when I download PDFs. I don't want to view them within Firefox.

Site Moderator

Re: How do I get firefox to open a pdf in adobe instead of the new pdf reader?

You can set the pdfjs.disabled pref to true on the about:config page to disable the build-in PDF viewer.

You can change the action for Portable Document Format (PDF) from Preview in Firefox to Always Ask in "Firefox > Options > Applications".

See also:

New User

Re: How do I get firefox to open a pdf in adobe instead of the new pdf reader?

Hi cor-el, Thank you for your reply.

I have pdfjs.disabled pref set to true.

I have set the following Content Types to "Always ask":

  • Adobe Acrobat FDF document
  • Adobe Acrobat XML Data Package File
  • Adobe Form Client Data File
  • Portable Document Format (pdf/adobe)
  • Portable Document Format (doesn/matter)
  • Portable Document Format (binary/octet-stream)
  • Portable Document Format (application/x-pdf)
  • Portable Document Format (application/x-octet-stream)
  • Portable Document Format (application/x-download)
  • Portable Document Format (application/force-download)
  • Portable Document Format ("application/pdf")

And I just noticed now that Portable Document Format (application/pdf) is set to "Adobe Reader"

With the release of 19.0, Firefox started displaying PDF documents within Firefox itself, which I don't want. I found a page that directed me to set pdfjs.disabled to true, which I have done, and now Firefox only offers me the option of saving PDF documents -- it no longer offers me the option of displaying them with Adobe Reader.

I would like to know how to make Firefox go back to the old behavior of asking me whether I wanted to save the document, or open it with Adobe Reader. So far, I can't figure out how to do that.

Thanks again for the tips. Please keep them coming.

Site Moderator

Re: How do I get firefox to open a pdf in adobe instead of the new pdf reader?

Do you have an enabled Adobe Reader plugin on the Tools > Add-ons > Plugins page?

Yo you set the action for Portable Document Format to Adobe Reader (in Firefox)?

Maybe best to remove these actions and only leave application/x-pdf

  1. Portable Document Format (doesn/matter)
  2. Portable Document Format (binary/octet-stream)
  3. Portable Document Format (application/x-octet-stream)
  4. Portable Document Format (application/x-download)
  5. Portable Document Format (application/force-download)