I'm having fits with a certain web PDF document using both Firefox and Safari. Basically the document in question doesn't consist of one big pdf file; rather it consists of a bunch (20 or so) smaller files, one for each chapter or section, and the main page has file links to each of them. In Firefox on a PC, clicking on the link for section 22 simply opens that PDF in the existing in-browser window. In Safari or Firefox on Mac... it doesn't do anything - I can't navigate to or view section 22. Similarly, downloading the individual files and saving them doesn't seem to work very well either, though I am thinking of downloading them and trying to re-create locally the directory/file structure the links seem to expect - still kind of a PITA.

Link to PDF document

Does anyone know of any browser add-on or other tool that could be used to view something like this on a Mac?

  • Your link isn't.
    – user588
    Sep 11, 2010 at 4:32
  • whoops. fixed the link.
    – memilanuk
    Sep 11, 2010 at 5:01
  • Are you using Adobe's Adobe Reader plug-in with Safari and Firefox or the built-in OS X PDF viewer? (eg. Safari's built-in plugin)
    – Chealion
    Sep 11, 2010 at 8:58
  • I guess I'm using the built-in plug-in - the page displays in the browser window, and as far as I can tell I don't have any Adobe Acrobat Reader plug-in for either - nor can I find anything online that resembles one. Works just fine on Windows...
    – memilanuk
    Sep 12, 2010 at 20:04

3 Answers 3


Adobe's Safari plugin for their PDF Reader doesn't work in 64 bit mode (and they don't supply a Firefox/Mac plugin at all!).

Try this Adobe kb article to see if setting 32-bit mode for Safari will work for you. I had similar isses a while back, and I had to reinstall Reader (after upgrading to Snow Leopard) after doing this tip.


There are some PDFs that the built-in PDF viewer can not handle - mostly using newer features available in Adobe Acrobat or linking to remote content. (This does not appear to be the case)

One option is to download and install Adobe Reader for Mac OS X which can handle these PDFs correctly. It will also install an Internet Plug-in to hand off handling of PDFs to the Adobe Reader program but you will notice a significant delay in the loading of PDFs.

The other workaround is download the other PDFs directly from the following URL: http://www.nrahq.org/compete/RuleBooks/HPR/hpr-w##.pdf (replace the ## with 01 through 22 for each section and the ## with "Illustra" for the Illustration page and the w## with "apdx" for the appendix).

  • Mmmm... already had Adobe Acrobat downloaded and installed on this Macbook, and updated to the latest version. Just on the off chance, I deleted that version from the /Applications directory, and downloaded & installed fresh. Exited and restarted Firefox - zero change in ability to browse that document. Can you browse the links in that file from your Mac?
    – memilanuk
    Sep 12, 2010 at 21:49
  • So... now Safari won't open the file at all, nor hand off to Acrobat Reader - just opens a blank window, nothing else. I'd had some other extensions loaded for being able to open PDFs in the browser window, instead of having to open them in Acrobat Reader. I disabled those, and now Firefox will open the file and hand off to Reader... but Reader still cannot open any of the file links on that page except one... that I'd already downloaded directly to the same directory that the hpr-index.pdf file is in. So that file is where the index is pointing to - in the same local directory.
    – memilanuk
    Sep 12, 2010 at 22:11
  • @memilanuk Not sure. Updated my answer with how you can access the secondary files but it should technically be working. (Even with just OS X's renderer)
    – Chealion
    Sep 13, 2010 at 5:42

I think the issue is the way the Mac PDF viewers display links to files vs. links to URLs.

I opened your PDF in Acrobat Pro X and can see the links have an action of opening a file instead of a URL.

Modify the link properties to specify an action of "Open a web link" instead of "Open a file" and the links should work in the browser.

I modified your hpr-index.pdf and changed one of the links to open the URL: http://www.nrahq.org/compete/RuleBooks/HPR/hpr-w03.pdf Viewing the file in Safari using the native PDF viewer opened the correct file when clicking the link in the PDF.

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