Pdf documents continue to be a pain in the butt for mobile web users. Most mobile browsers can't open them and downloading a PDF for viewing with a dedicated reader app is time consuming and only possible on fairly advanced handsets.
A month ago I wrote about a way to view PDFs in Opera Mini by pasting the PDF's URL into an online PDF to HTML converter form. That works but requires quite a few steps to accomplish and isn't particularly user friendly.
A WapReview reader named Joel has discovered a new much easier way to view PDFs on any phone that can run Opera Mini. It's a bookmarklet that rewrites links to PDFs on a Web page so that they point to the online PDF to image converter at view.samurajdata.se. Only links to PDFs get re-written after running the bookmarklet, the page still looks and works normally except that PDFs now actually display in th browser when the link to one is clicked.
Here's how to get and use Joel's bookmarklet in Opera Mini.
- Visit o.yeswap.com/#Tools using Opera Mini
- Click one on the first link in the Tools section labeled "View PDFs".
- When the page reloads, press # then 7 in Opera Mini (# then 5 in Opera Mini 5) to bookmark the page.
To use the bookmarklet:
- Visit a page that has links to PDFs. This can be a Google Search result page or any other page with PDF links.
- Immediately after the page loads go toopera Mini's Bookmark page and click the "View PDFs" bookmark. The current page will reload
- Clicking links to PDFs now opens them in the view.samurajdata.se online PDF viewer. Hint, use Opera Mini's "Desktop View" which lets you scroll around and zoom into the document image as needed.
I've only tested the bookmarklet in Opera Mini, but it should also work with iPhones, the S60 5th edition browser and recent versions of Mobile Internet Explorer, Palm Blazer or Opera Mobile. In Opera Mobile you need to turn off the option to open bookmarks in a new window.
Incidentally the free Java browser UCWEB has built-in PDF "preview" capabilities which should make it an even easier way to view PDFs. However the UCWEB PDF service seems to be down at the moment. I tried using it to open three random PDFs that I found using Google ( Form 11-C, Ticket.pdf and Ward_Meehan.pdf ) and got an error message or a blank page with all three in UCWEB. The same files opened almost instantly with Joel's bookmarklet.