PDF forms on Mac with Firefox

Posted by on August 23, 2012 in Blog Posts

Many IT professionals these days are using Macs and when it comes to PDF forms they want to have best experience possible. Adobe Acrobat is THE tool for that as its feature set is unbeatable (it does support static and dynamic forms, annotations, attachments etc.) and many other alternatives like PDF.JS are just not working good enough even with very simple PDF files. Even the built-in Apple Preview, while displaying static PDF forms fine, can not submit them and dynamic XFA forms are just not supported at all. So, the recommended configuration in this case is:

  • Have your Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, 10.7 Lion or 10.8 Mountain Lion ready
  • Mozilla Firefox (we do review 14.0.1 which btw is also certified for PDF Share Forms too)
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader or Professional (we recommend at least 10.1.4 version, as it is the only one that have FF NPAPI plugin which is working and does not have known security implications)

Despite the choice of the tools is narrow, they do the job fine, and there is basically no difference between this configuration and same setup on Windows. So, here is the recommended set of actions (assuming you already got Mozilla Firefox):

0. Close all FF and Acrobat windows if any.

1. Download/Install Adobe Acrobat Reader 10.1.4+ from Adobe site or FTP:

ftp://ftp.adobe.com/pub/adobe/reader/mac/10.x/

Make sure you are using Standard Install or have Browser Plug-In checked.

2. Go to the Applications folder and “Get Info” for Firefox (Right click + Get Info or just Cmd+I)

Make sure it is running in 32-bit mode. This is important as otherwise Adobe NPAPI plugin will not work and you will see a blank page instead of your PDF.

(More info on that here)

3. Now lets start Firefox and see how it works. Try to open some PDF file (or form) like this one. Or just use your PDF Share Forms :)

Make sure it did opened in the browser (was not downloaded separately and the opened). That is it.

What to do if something goes wrong?

A. Double-check all previous steps and especially the Adobe version (10.1.4) and 32-bit mode for Firefox.

B. Cleanup /Library/Internet Plug-Ins for older instances of PDFViewer or PDFViewerFF plugins

C. Check Firefox’s Tools – Add-ons – Plugins to see if Adobe Acrobat NPAPI Plug-in is there and is enabled

D. Verify mime types association in Firefox properties. It shall be set to NPAPI plugin for PDF files

4 Comments

  1. Thanks so much. I have been looking for an answer to this question for a while now! Thanks again!

  2. I’ve gone through all the above steps, and the last one is finally revealing the problem, but not how to fix it.

    When I pull up that last box (mime types association) under D. above, there is no listing for Adobe PDF document. I have the other three (Form Client Data File, Acrobat XML Data Package File, and Acrobat FDF document). No PDF document. How do I get that in there so it can access the plug in? I can open pdf documents attached to my email, but none that are connected to a web link.

    Help – thanks!

  3. Thanks so much for posting. I was back fetching important pdfs off the web in less than 5 minutes!

  4. Never would have thought about running firefox in the 32-bit mode is the reason why i can’t open pdfs
    Thanks a lot!!!

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