Can’t view PDF files in Firefox? A certain PDF doesn’t look right in Preview? Can’t fill out a PDF form and save it? Take a look at these three PDF problems that Mac users run in to and how to solve them.
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. Today let’s look at some common PDF problems and how to solve them.
So PDF stand for Portable Document Format and it was created by Adobe and it’s widely used by both Macs and PCs. It basically allows people to send you documents that will look the same across platform on your screen and print them out. It’s used commonly by the government for various forms you need to fill out. It’s used for documentation. It’s used for all sorts of things.
There are three very common problems that happen on a Mac with PDFs. Let’s look at each and how to solve them.
So Apple did a really cool thing when they created the preview application and the functionality inside Safari to allow you to view PDFs right inside the browser. This means you don’t have to download the Adobe Reader at all and you can view PDFs in the browser just as easily as you can view html pages.
But this left Firefox users out in the cold because Adobe didn’t see the need to develop and Intel-based program for Firefox since most Apple users use Safari anyway. There is a solution: there is a third party plugin called the Quartz plugin that will allow you to view PDF files inside of Firefox. This is the url where you can download it. So all you need to do to install it is just go here and click here on the install PDF plugin link.
You’ll have to click here to allow it to install. It comes up with this: confirmation dialogue, install now, and there you go. Then you have to click here to restart Firefox and from that point on you can view PDFs inside Firefox just as easily as you would inside Safari.
The second problems that some Mac users have with PDFs is sometimes they don’t open right in Preview. Preview is a great application for viewing 99.9% of all PDFs out there, but every once in a while somebody uses a really advanced piece of functionality that only works properly in the actual Adobe Reader. So you’re going to want to download the Adobe Reader and have it handy just in case.
So you basically want to go to Adobe.com and it’s not quite as easy as you’d think to go and find it. If you go to the downloads tabs and you select Adobe Reader, it’ll take you directly to the page that recognizes you’re on an Intel Mac and give you the proper thing to download. Then once you’ve got this in your machine, you can still use Preview to view PDFs, but you’ve got this as a backup in your applications folder just in case you want to get see how it looks in the actual Adobe Reader.
OK, so here’s a frustrating problem that happens with PDFs. Sometimes you get one that you can actually fill out in either Preview or the Adobe Reader, but you can’t save it. So you basically have to print out your form all filled out and that’s it. If you want to make a change later, you have to fill it all out again.
I don’t know why some companies do this. A lot of government agencies like to do this as well — give you a PDF that you can’t save changes to, but there is a way around this.
There is a program called PDFpen. Go to smileonmymac.com to go and download it. Now, it’s a shareware and it allows you to basically go in and do all sorts of things to PDFs. You can edit them, you can write annotations on them, you can do just about anything you want and you can save them. So, if you have to fill out a form, you can fill the form out and save it with all of your fields filled in; and open it up later and
print it out or make changes again.
So here’s the smileonmymac website and here’s PDFpen. It’s rather expensive at about $50 for the standard version and there’s a pro version that’s twice that. If you use PDF documents a lot, it certainly could come in handy. You can even draw on it or add signatures to documents so you can actually go completely paperless, getting a PDF document, signing it and emailing it back.
So there are three common problems that Mac users have with PDFs and how to solve them. Until next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.