How To View PDF Files Online

Written by Pavan Kumar on October 14, 2008



PDF – portable document format is the most popular format which eveyone use to publish an e-book. The popularity of this lies in the fact that it cannot be affected by viruses and also the size is comparatively less compared with normal document format (.doc or .docx). Recently I was looking for a tutorial and found one in pdf format. I just wanted to read it for the time being and not to download, if you are in such a situation, you may use these methods to view it online.

1. Use Google’s View As HTML feature:

Whenever you encounter a pdf file which you wish to read, just right click on that and copy link location, open Google homepage and right click on the search bar and paste – search. Most of the popular files are indexed by google and hence the result will come up with the title of the pdf file. You can find the View as HTML link in the second line of the result after the file format. Most of the indexed files will have such option to view it as html, but a very few don’t. View as HTML link has been shown in the image below.

Click Vew as html to open


2. Use Online PDF Viewer:

Online PDF, word, postscript viewer is a free tool to view pdf online. You may view any pdf file hosted online [web view] or even you can also view any file located in your local system by uploading it [file view]. It has a very simple user friendly interface and you can easily and instantly read any pdf file. Just enter the url / locate the file on your system and click view. Local files would naturally take some more time based on our bandwidth. Here is a screenshot of the user interface.

 view web or local pdf file with this viewer


Comparing both:

They both are useful in their own way. I prefer Google for few things and sometimes, I wish to go with online viewer.

  1. Google is fast as they don’t need to convert when we ask. They keep converted version in cache and when we request, the cached version will be displayed. But on the other one, all conversion process should start when we request.
  2. Google does not cache any images and hence we cannot find images in the converted form. Images can be found in online viewer.
  3. Google’s converted page looks cluttered, but not is the same case with viewer, the conversion is as it is, may be somewhat blurred.
  4. Google’s converted page is usual html page and hence one can easily copy any content in case of need. But the viewer converts the entire page into image and hence there is no chance that you can copy content.
  5. Google conversion is possible for those pages which are indexed. PDF viewer can even convert the file which is stored on your personal computer.
  6. Reading with google is easy as only scrolling is needed while the other one needs different pages to be loaded separately to access.
  7. One Guess: Google cannot convert copy protected files [not view protected], but other one can do it [mere guess 😉 ].

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10 Readers responded to this post

Pavan ,hey you forgot about PDfmenot which is also good online PDF View site.


Thanks for reminding, I really forgot… :-(

It is true with Google, it has really simplify our live. We can easily view pdf file in html format from Google SERP. Even from inside, Gmail it is easy to view pdf file.


You are reminding me one more way, Send the file in mail to oneself through gmail, open it as html 😎

Welcome to :-)

The first Google trick is cool and best, i think ! :)


You feel the other one most needed when you find a file which is not cached by google…

Another way– many pdf to flash converters:


emailing to your gmail account and clicking “view” uses google document viewer. outputs a picture, like Succeeds with pdf’s that crash

-Google have removed the ‘View as HTML’ button.

Viewing a PDF file in Google Docs is just as slow and clunky as viewing the PDF file itself.

How do you now view a PDF file as HTML?

Free desktop PDF reader, faster and smaller than adobe:

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About The Author

    Pavan Kumar

    Pavan Kumar completed Engineering in Electronics and Communication in the year 2008. He is very enthusiastic and keen to work on different aspects of computer, internet and mobile related fields. The articles here reflect his creativity. This blog was started as a showcase of solutions for different problems and today it has got a good reputation in the blogosphere. Read More...

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