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PDF Solution: Here's How to Display in the Browser

  • I've been sitting on this for a while now hoping for a secure PDF viewer from Microsoft.  Aparently there is no fix to open PDFs in the browser coming anytime soon, so I'll share a way to display PDFs from O365 even though Browser File Handling is set to Strict. 

    My hope is that folks will find this method useful but more importantly, that MS will improve communication around it's plans (or lack thereof) to address this issue and speed up development of a secure PDF viewer.  It's my understanding that one such silverlight viewer exists like on so perhaps it will be added to O365 very soon.


    This is not a complete solution yet, but it works.


    Check it out here:



    Here is a complete installable solution with instructions:


    {UPDATE 2} 2011-09-30

    Below is a more complete PDF solution for Office365 which works on all subscriptions (P1-E3).



    PDF Utilities Library Template


    • Install by simply creating a new Document Library from a Template.
    • Enables Viewing PDF Files in Browser anonymously and Authenticated.
    • Document Hyperlinks Automatically work for PDF files
    • PDF Icon Automatically Appears
    • New Menu Item 'Open PDF in Browser' Appears
    • No Site Template, Workflow, Content Type or Doc Library Template required


    Please use this solution and not the original one at the beginning of this thread.


    Let me know if you have questions.


    7 out of 8 people found this post helpful.

  • Nice work....opens fine in Firefox but ironically, it doesn't open for me in IE9 :-)

  • Thanks Steve.  I'm on IE8 so thanks for reminding me to turn off auto updates and prevent upgrade to IE9!

    Does Adobe reader open PDFs from other sites in IE9 for you?

  • Yeah I can open PDFs from other sites ok.... when i try yours, I get the a white page and a little red 'X' in the top left corner. I'm on 64 bit IE9 which won't even open Flash so be to do with that maybe.

  • Steve, Don't know if this will help w IE9 but you could try this:

  • Yeah it's a x64 thing:

    try 32 bit IE9



  • Would this work if I had a private site with a document library full of pdf documents?

  • Bernie, yes it would.  In fact even my page will open your pdf as long as you're logged into your private site.

    Try typing the full path to your file like this:

  • I'm missing something.  How do I get this to work for my clients who will be opening pdf files in a library that I would create for them.

  • The process is fairly straight forward, but I havn't had time to make it an installable sharepoint solution.


    All you have to do to get it to work is:

    Save pdf.aspx in the doc library


    To make it more useful for your clients you have to provide a link in the library like this:

    add a column to the doc lib called something like DocURL.

    add a workflow which sets the value of that column to the URL of pdf.aspx with the respective pdf file in the query string like this:

    Show that column instead of the built in 'Name (with link)' column in the Doc Lib View


    I've developed and proven the workflow, but havn't made this into a uploadable solution yet.  Sorry.



    Here is a complete installable solution with instructions:



    0 out of 1 people found this post helpful.

  • Hi Jbooker

    This is realy nice work from you - Respect on scripting and research :-)

    But we need a central solution from MS on this.

    PDF files are normal all around the world - and I love the MS products.

    But fore the first time in my life I'm wondering...Is this because MS want to force their own formats?


  • Hi Stein,

    Thanks.  You're right i don't want to take the heat off MS to provide a built-in fix.  We need a secure PDF viewer like the silverlight XPS\PDF viewer they already have on

    Not only does the above solution provide a method that some may find useful also proves that browser file handling set to strict is not so strict.  Perhaps MS will turn up the heat and provide a secure viewer very soon.



  • Hi Josh,

    It's definitely a nice work around for non-IE browsers.

  • Thank you Eric.  BTW, It works fine in IE 32-bit as well.