I’ve long used the WebKitOmitPDFSupport default so that Safari would download PDF files rather than display them in the browser window. In Mavericks, there’s a bug where this causes Safari to display the raw data of the PDF file. You can prevent this by entering these commands in Terminal go back to the default behavior:
defaults write com.apple.safari WebKitOmitPDFSupport -bool NO killall -SIGTERM cfprefsd
I found that the killall was necessary, even if Safari was not running, in order to make the change stick. Logging out might also work.
When Safari is displaying a PDF file, there are two main ways to save it to disk:
- Hover the cursor about an inch up from the bottom of the window. (The bottom doesn’t work.) This displays four buttons, the rightmost of which is a downward-pointing arrow that saves the PDF to your Downloads folder.
- Choose File ‣ Save As… (Command-S). This lets you pick a folder and a filename, which is often useful for financial statements that have a poor default filename. However, sometimes File ‣ Save As… tries to save a Web archive instead of a PDF.
I’m not aware of any built-in way to auto-download PDF files without either of these extra steps. If there’s a link to the PDF file, you can Option-click it, but often there is no visible link.
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