Firefox 78: Set Firefox as the default PDF viewer on Windows
If you use the Firefox web browser to view PDF documents, you may have noticed that it is not possible to make it the default application for PDF files on Windows.
While you can open any PDF document in the Firefox web browser, it is not possible to associate the browser with the file type to load PDFs in the browser automatically, e.g. on double-click.
Firefox's installer does not associate PDF files with the browser, and that has been an intentional decision according to Mozilla.
The installer is responsible for registering support for default file associations on Windows. We've always intentionally left PDF out of that list, but that decision may be changing soon, so I'm moving this bug so that it can find its way into the installer team's planning.
Mozilla does not reveal why it has made the decision, but announced plans to change the handling of PDF file associations in Firefox 78, at least on Windows 10.
If you run Firefox 78 already, e.g. as a Nightly, Beta or Developer edition, you may be able to set Firefox as the default PDF handler already, e.g. when downloading a PDF document to the local system.
A new "open with" Firefox option should be displayed at the top and you may check the "Do this automatically for files like this from now on" option to automate the process and have Firefox open PDF documents automatically.
Firefox may also be associated with the PDF file type in Windows 10's Settings application. Just open Settings > Apps > Default Apps > Choose default apps by type, scroll down to PDF (why still no search on the page, Microsoft?), select PDF, and pick Firefox from the list of options to make the application the default PDF handler on the system.
Most Chromium-based browsers add themselves as the PDF handler on Windows 10 systems.
The addition of the option is a welcome change. While it may only be useful to a small set of Firefox users, those who want to set Firefox as the default PDF handler, it is a good move as its puzzling why Firefox is able to open PDF documents but cannot be set as the default program for the file type.
Firefox users who install the browser anew or upgrade the browser on Windows will benefit from the change.
I prefer to use a standalone PDF tool to view documents. Sumatra is my tool of choice provided that the PDF documents don't have advanced functionality that Sumatra does not support.
Now You: How do you open PDF documents? (via Techdows)
I have Sumatra PDF, why would I want a crippled, disabled wannabe PDF viewer as my default?
Came here to say the same thing. Sumatra PDF is the best.
+2 Great bit of gear, used it for years.
I used to use Sumatra, but since Okular came out on Windows I have been using that since I also use that on my Kubuntu systems.
SumatraPDF here as well (latest 3.2.0 (x64) version).
Generally speaking I have a rule which is to never associate a file type with a browser (besides of course html and the like within what is assumed as one’s default browser). A browser is a browser, not a computer and I don’t share the concept of universal integration. Divide, compartmentalize ans security/privacy will smile.
Regarding Firefox’s native PDF viewer, I encounter no issues besides one : some PDFs will require browser.display.use_document_fonts to be true which is bothering if you’ve set it to false as I have. Other than that, no problem.
FF should concentrate on the browser and stay away of applications where they have little experience.
Also an introductory course in logical thinking and concise writing would not hurt.
Firefox’s installer does not associate PDF files with the browser, and that has been an intentional decision according to Mozilla.
The installer is responsible for registering support for default file associations on Windows. We’ve always intentionally left PDF out of that list, but that decision may be changing soon, so I’m moving this bug so that it can find its way into the installer team’s planning.
What was it: a wrong decision or a bug???
This idiotic trend of stuffing everything into the browser taken to an extreme. Using stupid crap like Electron which is just a window with a Chrome wrapper running a webpage, or expecting your browser to be a dedicated media player instead of getting one separately. I’m actually surprised better sense prevailed at Mozilla.
Why in the world would I want to view a .pdf file in a browser? I’ve gone to great lengths to ensure that this kind of thing doesn’t happen on my system. Browsers are for .htm files, not .pdf files. I open all my .pdf files in PDF-XChange Viewer (freeware.)
The question is not why you’d want to use web browser as pdf viewer (which is a ridiculous idea anyway) but why They want you to use it as such; my bet is all about tracking and profiling once again.
Well they have their Activity Stream technology and all the potential for data mining sprouting from that. Theres chatter about contextual AI being worked on in the browser. These things need to be watched for abuse, huge new oportunities for sneaking out and monetising data and behaviour.
Adding the ability for a browser to safely view (only view, not modify) certain “web” files without needing plugins or helpers was a good idea. (The web is full of .pdf files.) But one hardly needs to be able to integrate the browser as the default system viewer for such files; it’s easy to use a browser as a .pdf viewer w/o this. It’s just an extra layer that’s unneeded, efficient though it may be workflow-wise.
(Of course, Chrome does this already [with ChromeOS].)
Using a web browser as PDF viewer is a ridiculous idea, as someone remarked.
Linux users may want to try qpdfview.
Just set your default pdf viewer with the operating system or simply turn off the browser feature.
Some people find it easier and quicker to use it within browser.
No need for such a hoorah about it.
More options for tracking and selling data, oh mozilla you have done it again
Personally I would strongly suggest not making Firefox your default pdf viewer. The last 8 years they have never fixed the autorotate when printing PDF. So you’ll be frustrated as hell as you constantly manually change the orientation to print.
Huh? I’ve been using Firefox as my default pdf viewer for at least a year now.
Why do I open pdf files in Firefox? It’s super quick to open pdf files since Firefox is always running, scrolling is very smooth and it works perfectly with my workflow thanks to opening in a tab right next to what I’m currently doing.
I view most of my PDFs in Firefox. It’s always open so they open instantly. I have SumatraPDF for the image-heavy ones (like scanned books with hundreds of pages), because it’s faster when rendering such PDFs.
The idea of rendering PDFs with the browser is acutally pretty smart. The process is similar to what the browser does when rendering HTML (https://andreasgal.com/2011/06/15/pdf-js/) and being more secure then PDF readers is another benefit.
Using Sumatra for years. Yes the workflow might be faster but I have no need for tracking in the browser.
I just noticed that Firefox 78 has associated PDF with Firefox, and I don’t like that.
It’s enough to know that such an association is possible, then it’s up to the user to decide, but doing this automatically is rude.
I re-associated PDF with Sumatra.