What is a PDF file?
PDF stands for Portable Document Format. PDF files are the easiest way to share documents electronically with people who have different computer platforms (Mac/PC) or different software (Word/Word Perfect/PageMaker/Quark). Using Adobe Acrobat allows the College to convert any document into an PDF file, with its original appearance preserved, and then distribute it for viewing and printing on any computer system. You will see and print the file exactly as it was designed even though you don’t have the original program on which it was created.

However, you need the Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to view or print PDF documents.


How do I get Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on my computer?

If you do not already have Adobe Acrobat Reader, it is available for free by downloading it from the Adobe Home Page. Click on the icon on the left, then follow Adobe’s instructions for downloading and installing the program. We recommend that you download the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (4.0 or newer). If you already have an older version installed, we recommend that you upgrade to a newer version. If you have any difficulties downloading the Reader, Adobe’s Web site offers customer support.


How do I open a PDF file?
To open a PDF file simply click on the link to the file. (If this does not work, see ‘Problems viewing or printing PDF files’ below.)

What happens next depends on the Web browser you are using and how Adobe Acrobat Reader is configured to work with your browser. The file will either automatically open when you click on it, or you will be asked if you want to save the file to disk or open it.

If you choose ‘Save to disk’ the file will be downloaded to a location on your hard drive that you specify in the ‘Save as...’ dialogue box. Remember where you saved it. Once the file is saved to your hard drive (some larger files like the Self-assessment Tool may take a long time to save depending on your computer) you can open it any time using the Acrobat Reader, even when you are not connected to the Internet.

If you choose ‘Open it’ Acrobat will download the file and open it immediately. It will not save a copy on your computer.


How do I download a PDF file to my hard drive?
If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer, right-click on the file’s hyperlink and select ‘Save Target As’. Then save the document in the directory of your choice.

If you are using Netscape, right-click on the hyperlink and select ‘Save Link As’. Then save the document in the directory of your choice.

Once you have saved the file to disk you can open it anytime using the Acrobat Reader, even when you are off-line.


Problems viewing or printing PDF files
If you are having problems opening Acrobat files on our site it is most likely due to how Acrobat is configured on your computer to work with the Web browser you are using. The following tips should help if you are using a PC. If you require more details please see Adobe’s on-line Customer Support section (www.adobe.com/support). For Mac support see Adobe’s Web site.


PDF files display as blank pages or not at all
If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer to browse the Internet, you may find that some PDF files display as blank pages or not at all. To correct this problem try one of the following solutions.

Solution 1: Save the File to your hard drive and open it with Acrobat

Click on the link to the PDF file with the right mouse button.
Choose ‘Save Target As’
Specify a location on your hard drive where you want to save the file. Click Save.
Start Adobe Acrobat. Choose File > Open then go to the location where the file is saved and choose ‘Open’.

Solution 2: Enabling the Browser to Use Acrobat as a Helper Application

Enabling the browser to use the viewer as a helper application causes Internet Explorer to start the Acrobat viewer, and display the PDF files within the Acrobat viewer window, instead of within the browser window.

Acrobat 4.0x Viewers:
To configure an Acrobat 4.0x viewer as a helper application:

Exit from Internet Explorer
Start the Acrobat 4.0x viewer.
Choose File > Preferences > General.
Deselect ‘Web Browser Integration’ in the Options section and then click OK.
Exit from the Acrobat 4.0x viewer.
Restart Internet Explorer or AOL.
Note: The next time you select a link to a PDF file in Internet Explorer, a dialog box will prompt you to specify what to do with the file. If you select ‘Open this file from its current location,’ Internet Explorer opens the PDF file in the Acrobat viewer as a helper application. If you select ‘Save this file to disk,’ Internet Explorer saves the PDF file to your hard disk. You can open the file later using the Acrobat Reader.

If you are using Acrobat Reader 3.0 we recommend that you upgrade your Acrobat Viewer to version 4.0x and follow the steps above.


Computer Freezes
If your computer is freezing it might because you are trying to print a large document directly from the Web site while you are still connected to the Internet and your computer’s memory can’t handle that task.

Solution:

Click on the right mouse button to save the PDF file to your hard drive;
Once the file has downloaded successfully, log off the internet;
Start Adobe Acrobat 4.0
Choose File > Open then go to the location where the file is saved and choose ‘Open’.
Now print the document.

Firewalls and filters
If you are accessing the internet at work, there may be firewalls or filters in place that prevent you from downloading files of a certain size from the internet or printing files of a certain size to your printer. Contact your system administrator or technical support for more information.


Click here for further information on Adobe Acrobat Setup, Installation & Use (from University of Ottawa's website)