How to read Adobe Acrobat "PDF" files.
Some of the downloads on this site are in "PDF" format. That's a very common system for publishing information, and you'll almost certainly find it useful in the future - you can often download instructions for your camera or television as PDF, for example. However, you do need to have the (free) "Reader" program on your machine. Not sure if you have it already? Try this small test file - if you can read the contents, you can skip the rest of this page! Otherwise, read on...
What you have to do is to download the best version for your machine. These downloads can take quite a long time, so dial-up users may want to wait until "off-peak" charges apply.
- For most modern PCs, typically running Windows 2000, Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 you should choose the latest version of Acrobat Reader which you can get here. I'd advise you not to include any of the "extras" offered from time to time unless you know what they are and know that you want them. You may need to log on as an Administrator to install the Reader if your usual login doesn't have full privileges.
- A new alternative to Acrobat Reader has recently emerged from Nuance software, who have a full-featured reader available (free) here. This has "improved" searching, and also the ability to complete PDF forms and save the results (the Adobe free reader can't save the entries you make in forms).
- For older machines, typically running Windows 98, it may be better to try an older version (5) of Acrobat Reader which you can get here. This version may not have all the bells and whistles of the latest one, but takes up less memory and can be faster to run - important if your computer is a "senior citizen". Some recent documents may not display perfectly in older versions, though. Alternatively, you might like to try the free Foxit Reader, which is a much smaller download and needs less resources to run.
That's all there is to it. Download the best version for your machine and install it. Then, when you click on a link which leads to a PDF document, it will open in the Reader, after a short delay while the program loads.
- If you want to keep a copy of a PDF document from a link on the web, either:
- Right-click the link, and choose "Save Target As..." or:
- If you already have the document open in the Reader program, choose Save a Copy... from the File menu
- As an alternative to using the Reader program, you might like to try this online service to view PDF documents via your web browser.
- Want to create PDF documents? This is done by "printing" a document (e.g. from Word or Excel) through a special converter utility to generate a PDF file. The original converter was the (expensive) Professional version of Adobe Acrobat, but there are free ones available. Have a look at these: