Open a PDF file in C#

[Open a PDF file]

At design time I added a WebBrowser control to the form. When the program starts it uses the following code to open a PDF file in a WebBrowser control.

// Display the PDF file.
private void Form1_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
    string filename = Application.StartupPath;
    filename = Path.GetFullPath(
        Path.Combine(filename, ".\\Test.pdf"));

At design time I added that file to the project and set its “Copy to Output Directory” property to “Copy if newer” so the file will be in the executable program’s directory.

This code gets the program’s startup directory and adds the file name Test.pdf. It then makes the wbrPdf WebBrowser control navigate to that file.

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8 Responses to Open a PDF file in C#

  1. Richard Payne says:

    I have created a PDF from word document and wish to know how to jump to header after opening the webrowser

  2. Ziz says:

    I tried this today in Win10 with VS2017 but find it does not work. Maybe you have set something in your environment to make it open in the app. Today all I can get it to do is save the file to disk.

    • RodStephens says:

      Did the program run and fail? If so, what’s the error message?

      Be sure you unzipped the project. (Some people try to run projects inside the zip file. Visual Studio looks like it’s trying but it doesn’t work.) Also make sure the PDF file is copied into the executable directory so the program can find it.

      Otherwise I don’t know why it wouldn’t work. You should only need permission to read the PDF file.

      It works for me with Windows 10 Home 1903 and these:

      • C# 2008
      • Visual Studio Community 2019 v 16.0.3
      • Visual Studio Community 2019 v 16.2.5
  3. Ziz says:

    It is unzipped. Compiles and runs but When I run the main winform that contains the webbrowser component it says “Navigation to the website was cancelled” and I get two other dialogs that open for “File Download” if I download I get the pdf file just does not show inside the Winform dialog. Must be a setting somewhere I need to turn on\off? Do you have something like an interop or PDF ticked in references?

  4. Hatif says:

    Hello I want take PDF file from Database and directly display in Web browser Control in C# Windows form I am using following code but it is not working Plase help me:

    //    string selectQuery = string.Format(@"Select pdffile From pdffile  Where ID="+ textBox1.Text);
    string selectQuery = string.Format(@"Select pdffile From pdffile Where ID={0}"
                                        , textBox1.Text);
    SqlCommand selectCommand = new SqlCommand(selectQuery, con);
    SqlDataReader reader = selectCommand.ExecuteReader();
    if (reader.Read())
        byte[] fileData = (byte[])reader[0];
        System.IO.File.WriteAllBytes("hello.pdf", fileData);
    • RodStephens says:

      You should be able to use the WebBrowser control’s Navigate method to open a pdf file, so I would focus on the data that the reader is returning. Make sure the pdf file is stored correctly in the database, that the field can hold binary data correctly (for example, it is a BLOB field), etc.

      You could use the debugger to look at the returned data a little to see if it looks like pdf data and has roughly the right size. Similarly you can look at hello.pdf to see if it contains pdf-like data and it has the right size.

      Is the browser giving you an error message? Or does it just not do anything?

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