PDF files, OSX and Chrome

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PDF files, OSX and Chrome

Postby LifeIsGood » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:40 am

Can anyone explain why (or better yet tell me how to fix) when I click on a PDF file on some web sites, the document opens and on others the only option is to download and save it in order to view it? I have the Chrome PDF plugin installed and enabled.
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Re: PDF files, OSX and Chrome

Postby JamesSFO » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:44 pm

Chrome doesn't need a plugin for a long time now, it has a built in PDF viewer. What version of OS X, Chrome, and an example website URL + pdf please?
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Re: PDF files, OSX and Chrome

Postby LifeIsGood » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:52 am

James, thanks for the reply. I'm running OSX 10.6.8 and Chrome Version 23.0.1271.97. Unfortunately I can't give you a link to the sites where I've encountered problems because they are usually on brokerage (Vanguard) sites. I do know that if I try to access these same sites via Windows and IE, I'm given the option of viewing or downloading the document.
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Re: PDF files, OSX and Chrome

Postby JamesSFO » Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:13 am

Maybe it's something about the brokerage site then? Can you replicate on another site?

I've had no problems on any website with PDFs using same version of Chrome and the newer Mac OS 10.8. What PDF viewer are you using? There is one built into Chrome maybe the additional one your referenced is causing the problem.
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Re: PDF files, OSX and Chrome

Postby LazyNihilist » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:09 pm

LifeIsGood wrote:Can anyone explain why (or better yet tell me how to fix) when I click on a PDF file on some web sites, the document opens and on others the only option is to download and save it in order to view it? I have the Chrome PDF plugin installed and enabled.


When some websites force you to download or save a PDF file (or other filetypes), it means that either the browser is unable to handle that filetype or the website is telling the browser that it should ask the user to save it instead of opening it.

The websites do it by setting the MIME type of the PDF file to application/octet-stream
http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/746116
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Re: PDF files, OSX and Chrome

Postby Mudpuppy » Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:13 pm

LifeIsGood wrote:Can anyone explain why (or better yet tell me how to fix) when I click on a PDF file on some web sites, the document opens and on others the only option is to download and save it in order to view it? I have the Chrome PDF plugin installed and enabled.

The website is likely requesting this. You can code a website to view a PDF within the current tab, to view the PDF in a new tab (or browser window), to view the PDF in a PDF application (outside of the browser), or to save the PDF file. Every website developer can choose to do their own thing, even if it annoys the users.
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Re: PDF files, OSX and Chrome

Postby LifeIsGood » Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:34 am

Thanks for all the responses. This must be something specific to Chrome. On Vanguard, when I click on STATEMENTS it shows the PDF icon and above it VIEW/DOWNLOAD. When I click on it, the only option is to download. The same process in IE gives the option of VIEW or DOWNLOAD.
Not a big deal, just inconvenient if all I want to do is take a quick look at a file.
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Re: PDF files, OSX and Chrome

Postby sscritic » Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:48 am

How do you have IE on your Mac running under OS X? Is it IE 4.2?
On June 13, 2003, Microsoft announced that it was ceasing further development of Internet Explorer for Mac and the final update was released on July 11, 2003.


I don't have IE on my mac, so I can't test it. Safari behaves just like Chrome on the statements page: it downloads.

P.S. I would try Firefox, but after I tried Chrome for you, Vanguard reset my cookies for Safari and made me remember the name of my (oops, I almost gave you my secret question!). I don't know if I can remember it twice in one day.
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Re: PDF files, OSX and Chrome

Postby sscritic » Sat Dec 22, 2012 10:48 am

I think this is a Vanguard setting. I use Safari and I got the same behavior you got for statement, but if I go to view a prospectus, the prospectus show up in the popup window that opens when you first click on view a prospectus. Whether a pdf appears in a window or gets downloaded seems to depend on what Vanguard wants to do with the file.

Think about it; why do you want a statement? Because you don't get paper statements mailed home. But you do want a record for your records. The assumption is that you want a copy on your computer. Now I get mailed paper statements, so I don't want a copy on my computer. On the other hand, when I want to get a prospectus, I want to get a prospectus: I want the download. Vanguard doesn't give it to me, so I have to do some right clicking and choosing a save to option.
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