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Why You Should Embed a Web PDF Viewer in Your Application

Developers have plenty of options for viewing PDFs in their applications. With so many solutions to choose from, it’s easy to put off thinking about PDF support until much later in the development process. But doing so is often a recipe for trouble, resulting in ad hoc workarounds and settling for third-party plug-ins or native browser support that could impact application performance and security.

Directly embedding a web-based PDF viewer provides developers with much more flexibility and control over how their application manages and presents PDFs. By integrating a PDF JavaScript (PDF JS) viewer early in the development process, it’s easier to build a better user experience that doesn’t force users to take additional steps in order to interact with PDFs.

4 Benefits of an Embedded Web PDF Viewer

1. Consistent Viewing Experience

One of the original intentions of the PDF format was to ensure that documents would look the same no matter where or how they were being viewed. Unfortunately, not every viewer renders documents in the same way. More importantly, there are so many different ways of building a PDF that it can be difficult to know if it contains certain elements that are difficult for certain viewers to manage. This is typically the case with fonts and other formatting issues. While flattening the PDF can often address many of these issues, there are many instances where rasterizing the document robs it of valuable functionality (fillable form fields, for example).

By embedding a web PDF viewer directly into an application with a PDF JS integration, developers can ensure that users will always have a consistent viewing experience. Since the application will automatically open PDFs rather than handing the viewing task off to a browser plug-in or an external program on the user’s device, the document should render exactly as it was intended to look. This helps to avoid confusion and helps to enhance the user’s overall experience within the application.

2. Control Over Files

Organizations put a lot of time and resources into safeguarding confidential assets, but they can quickly undermine those efforts by failing to maintain control over their documents when sharing them. Many PDF viewing solutions allow or even require someone to download the document without having to obtain any special permissions. While this typically isn’t a major concern for public-facing documents, it could be disastrous for any shared PDFs that contain sensitive data or private information.

When developers use an embedded web PDF viewer, they allow document owners to maintain control over what people can and cannot do with shared PDFs. If they simply want someone to be able to view a document, but not edit it or download it, they can set the right permissions and restrictions to maintain control over the file. Embedding a PDF JS viewer is essential to this approach because it creates the conditions of the viewing experience.

3. Responsive Viewing

Today’s PDF viewing solutions need to account for what the viewing experience looks like on multiple screen sizes and devices. Not everyone will be reading a document on a conventional computer screen. They may want to view PDFs on a tablet or smartphone, both of which call for different viewing controls due to the nature of the device interface.

Without an embedded web PDF viewer, mobile users may not be able to readily access PDF-based content within an application. For customer facing solutions, this can seriously compromise the user experience. It’s also a major obstacle for organizations seeking to leverage an application to support a collaborative workplace. By integrating that viewing support, developers can ensure that users will be able to view PDF documents easily no matter what device they’re using.

4. No Dependencies

Many PDF viewing solutions offer extensive features, but at the cost of impacting application performance and security. That’s because they require cumbersome, memory-intensive plug-ins or complex server configurations. Even worse, they may be completely separate third-party solutions that require PDF files to be shared outside a developer’s secure application environment.

With the right PDF JS library, developers can easily integrate web PDF viewing capabilities directly into the browser without resorting to any external dependencies. Since JavaScript PDF viewers are so lightweight, they can be installed with a small amount of code that doesn’t have an impact on application performance. And since a PDF JS viewer can render PDFs within the solution, there’s no reason to risk exposing them to external software environments.

Embed a Web PDF Viewer Today with Accusoft PDF Viewer

As a lightweight JavaScript PDF library, Accusoft PDF Viewer allows developers to add dynamic PDF support to their applications in a snap. While many PDF JS solutions require complicated coding to integrate properly, Accusoft PDF Viewer delivers PDF functionality to a web application with just ten lines of code.

See for yourself:

<div id="viewer">
</div> <script>
   (async () => {
     const pdfViewer = await window.Accusoft.PdfViewerControl.create({
       sourceDocument: 'https://MyURL.com/MyPDF.pdf',
       container: document.getElementById('viewer')
     });
   })();
 </script>

Accusoft PDF Viewer builds upon the versatility and reliability of the popular PDF.js open-source library, which serves as the foundation of many commercial PDF viewing solutions. From there, we used our extensive imaging technology expertise to push the boundaries in terms of rendering performance and usability. Optimized for speed and ease of use, this free-to-use web PDF viewer provides multiple benefits to developers looking to add robust viewing support without bogging down their development cycle.

  • Responsive UI: Easily view and interact with PDFs on any screen size thanks to optimized mobile controls.
  • Powerful Rendering: Smart rendering technology ensures that images remain crisp at all zoom levels.
  • Lightning Fast Search: Get near-instant search results when trying to locate specific text, even when viewing large documents.
  • 100% Client-Side: With no server configurations or plug-ins, all viewing sessions remain entirely within a secure application environment.

We’re hard at work developing new features and updates to make Accusoft PDF Viewer even better in the future. But there’s no reason why developers need to wait to add powerful web PDF viewing to their applications. Check out the Accusoft PDF Viewer fact sheet for a detailed overview of this versatile PDF JS library, or download it today to try it for yourself.