UPDATED April 16th, after the April CU, it seems opening PDF in web browser is working whatever a PDF reader is installed or not
With SharePoint 2013 and Office Web Applications 2013, Microsoft is now supporting PDF with Office Web Applications.
However, there is few things to do in order to be able to preview PDF and open it with web browser:
- SharePoint 2013 and Office Web Application 2013 RTM:
- For PDF preview in search results, you must edit the Item_PDF_HoverPanel.html file available below the Master Pages gallery (Master Page Gallery\Display Templates\Search) – see http://stevemannspath.blogspot.fr/2012/10/sharepoint-2013-pdf-preview-in-search.html, this covers both Search Center and local search updates to get PDF preview in search results
- SharePoint 2013 and Office Web Application 2013 with March 2013 CU
- Apply the same operations for search preview
- You can now open PDF file with web browser; this will launch Word Web Application
IMPORTANT NOTE for both web browser opening and file preview you must have installed locally (i.e. on your client) a PDF application BUT this is not working with all PDF reader; I have tested with Foxit Reader 5.4.5 and Adobe Reader 11, and I had preview and web opening with only Acrobat Reader 11.