Firefox 106 will let you type directly into browser PDFs

Sorry Adobe but we can let users type or even hand-write directly

Mozilla has released the latest version of the leading FOSS browser for Linux, Windows, macOS, FreeBSD and mobile OSes.

Firefox version 106 isn't a big release, but it includes some welcome new features nonetheless, with notable improvements in PDF handling and cross-device sync.

The built-in Javascript-based PDF viewer has been updated, so there's less need to rely on a local PDF viewer having these functions. Firefox has been able to display PDFs for many years, and since version 93 late last year, you can complete forms directly in the browser as well – in both AcroForms and the deprecated XFA format. That nicely obsoletes Adobe's scary warning about the older format.

Now the viewer can also annotate PDF documents, which means they can type, or hand-write, directly onto a PDF in a choice of colors, size, line thickness, opacity, and so on, then save the PDF file locally, complete with the new additions. A side-effect is that it can display comments in PDF files, something which third-party PDF viewers often struggle with.

These new abilities get rid of two problems: First, that while you can reasonably expect any random PDF reader app to at least show you the file, some of the alternative ones can't handle things like comments. Second, as malware-laden PDFs are unfortunately still a thing, the less need there is to open a PDF locally, the more it helps your system security.

The PDF viewer can also access the hidden text layer embedded in some PDFs, for example by OCR apps – and it can pass that text through, for example to screen readers such as Voiceover, for users with visual impairments. It can also extract text from images.

Support for the WebRTC set of standards has been improved via libwebrtc version 103, which means better handling of clientless communications apps, including lower latency and better screen sharing. There's also improved support for Wayland and Pipewire on Linux, including a two-fingered swipe gesture for moving forwards and backwards through sites.

A handy new feature is Firefox View, which gives a quick overview of recently-closed tabs and lets you pick up pages that you read on Firefox Mobile – obviously, excluding activity in private windows.

You can take a look at the release notes here.

Windows and Mac users can grab the new version directly from Mozilla and it should appear soon in current Linux distros. ®

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