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How to open a PDF file in an <iframe>?

Posted by: admin November 30, 2017 Leave a comment


I want to open the pdf file in an iframe. I am using following code:

<a class="iframeLink" href="https://something.com/HTC_One_XL_User_Guide.pdf"
   jQuery1640737952376988841="85"> User guide </a>

It is opening fine in Firefox, but it is not opening in IE8.

Does anyone know how to make it work also for IE ?


Using an iframe to “render” a PDF will not work on all browsers; it depends on how the browser handles PDF files. Some browsers (such as Firefox and Chrome) have a built-in PDF rendered which allows them to display the PDF inline where as some older browsers (perhaps older versions of IE attempt to download the file instead).

Instead, I recommend checking out PDFObject which is a Javascript library to embed PDFs in HTML files. It handles browser compatibility pretty well and will most likely work on IE8.

In your HTML, you could set up a div to display the PDFs:

<div id="pdfRenderer"></div>

Then, you can have Javascript code to embed a PDF in that div:

var pdf = new PDFObject({
  url: "https://something.com/HTC_One_XL_User_Guide.pdf",
  id: "pdfRendered",
  pdfOpenParams: {
    view: "FitH"


This is the code to link an HTTP(S) accessible PDF from an <iframe>:

<iframe src="https://research.google.com/pubs/archive/44678.pdf"
   width="800px" height="600px" >

Fiddle: http://jsfiddle.net/cEuZ3/1545/

EDIT: and you can use Javascript, from the <a> tag (onclick event) to set iFrame’ SRC attribute at runtime…

EDIT 2: Appearently, it is a bug (but there are workarounds):

PDF files do not open in Internet Explorer with Adobe Reader 10.0 – users get an empty gray screen. How can I fix this for my users?


It also important to make sure that the web server sends the file with Content-Disposition = inline.
this might not be the case if you are reading the file yourself and send it’s content to the browser:

in php it will look like this…

header("Content-Disposition: inline; filename=doc.pdf");



Do it like this:

<iframe src="http://samplepdf.com/sample.pdf" width="800px" height="600px"></iframe>

Remember to close iframe tag.