Is there any CMS that allow user to view the pdf file on the CMS instead of downloading them into the computer and open using a PDF viewer?

I notice that the CMS I encounter usually require user to download the pdf file to the computer and open it using a PDF viewer.

  • What do you mean? Something like Google Docs which attempts to convert it into HTML? Or are you asking how to configure Apache/IIS to send a suitable Content-Type header for .pdf files? Nov 1, 2011 at 9:16

1 Answer 1


First, this isn't really quite a CMS question(except where maybe you'd be looking for a plugin related to the things I mention below). Roughly speaking your CMS generally doesn't care too much what your content is. It's more responsible for what to do with it, eg. organize into categories, generate listing pages, etc.

The overall reason PDFs don't display on-site is that PDF isn't a web-native file format, like say HTML or the various common image types. While Chrome has a built-in PDF viewer, this generally means that displaying a PDF in-browser requires something like a plugin from Adobe Reader, or Foxit. But this still takes you out of the "web" and into your OS system/browser for the viewing. Even then, the plugin generally has to be configured, by the user, to display within the browser. It's often set to always prompt for download.

There are some recent projects working toward creating Javascript PDF renderers: pdf.js and PDFObject.

FlexPaper is an open-source Scribd-like document viewer that will handle PDFs.
Embedit.in is similar(and handles many other file types), but hosted.

You'll have to determine for yourself how functional they are and whether they'll handle whatever particular documents you're likely to run through them. I haven't used them myself to date. I believe PDFObject is the more mature; there may be others. Once you make a selection, there's nothing keeping you from integrating it into your site templates on output.

  • 1
    Google Chrome supports PDF natively. Nov 1, 2011 at 16:27
  • Ah, thanks; edited. I mostly just use Chrome for testing. Still pulls you off the web, though, so may not be quite what's desired.
    – Su'
    Nov 1, 2011 at 16:50
  • Yes, I think it should be a plugin for CMS. I was looking for plugin that can be used in different CMS. But, I saw your javascript PDF renderers interesting. Maybe I will move in the "Javascript PDF renderers" direction. Thanks. Nov 2, 2011 at 1:51

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