Use browser as local PDF reader

Are you also tired of constantly updating and installing new PDF reader versions and you don’t need anything special, just the most basic PDF reader that can read and print PDF files and nothing (much) else?

I got this idea because I’m using Firefox which already uses integrated built-in PDF reader. In general it is meant to preview PDF files you encounter on webpages, but why not use it for PDF’s already on your local disk? Here is how you can do it…

Windows 8

Go to: Control Panel -> Programs -> Make a file type always open in a specific program

Scroll down and find the .pdf entry on the list. Doubled click it and select “More options”. Now select Firefox. If it’s not on the list, scroll all the way down and click “Look for another app on this PC”. Browse for firefox.exe file, usually located in “C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox”. “Current default” column should now say “Firefox”. If it’s not, double click it and select “Firefox” from the list.

Same “trick” can also be used with Google Chrome I guess, since it’s also using integrated PDF reader. Process should be exactly the same as for Firefox, except you have to use chrome.exe program instead of firefox.exe

Now, double click any PDF on your local disk and see if it opens in Firefox. It did when I tested it. No more wasting time updating my PDF readers, it will always get updated along with Firefox that I use all the time anyway. Win win! 🙂 Will post Windows 7 method as well when I get to my laptop with Win7 installed…

Windows 7

Weird enough, this trick doesn’t work in Windows 7. I’ve tried it and Firefox just asks to download the file. And if you set it to open the download automatically without asking, it starts to loop and it will keep on opening new tabs till computer melts down in a smelly pile of plastic and silicon. I don’t quite understand why this works in Win8, but not in Win7. It has to do something with the fact that Win8 comes with preinstalled PDF reader and Win7 doesn’t or something. And Firefox also behaves differently.

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