Last updated: October 27, 1998
1. What is the Adobe PDF Format?
The Portable Document Format (PDF) is a format for electronic documents
that allows them to display online just as they would if they were printed out
by a laser printer. Any computer user can then view and manipulate the file
using the Adobe Acrobat reader (it's freeware, and it's available for PC and Mac).
Systems, Inc., PDF is based on
the postcript language.
PDF documents may be used in any digital environment --
online or on a personal computer -- and they may contain text,
figures, images, clipart,
or other graphics in black-and-white or color.
PDF documents can be used
on most any type of computer system as long as the computer
can run the Acrobat Reader software.
For an even fuller explanation of the PDF
see the FIU Libraries' handout
'PDF FAQ' [ in PDF format!]
or visit the web page "
to Acrobat and PDF, prepared by folks
at the University of Nottingham. It describes Acrobat, PDF, and
other details we would
go into here if we hadn't found this great overview.
2. Why are you using PDF in the EDL?
are a number of reasons why PDF documents makes sense for the
Everglades Information Network & Digital Library.
- PDF documents allow the author or creator to control how the document
looks, no matter how or where it is seen. Whether it is viewed online
or printed out, the PDF document will match the author's original.
- In some cases, PDF documents take less time to create (than
so we can get them online and available to users much faster.
When authors deliver files already in electronic format, it is a quick
and simple process to translate them to PDF.
- PDF documents have some powerful features for the user, when
with the Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Users may move forwards or backwards
through the document one page at a time, or all-at-once. They may
zoom in and out for a better view; and they may search for keywords
the document, or select desired sections from a table-of-contents'
3. What do I need to use PDF documents?
You need a Web-capable computer, a Web browser such as Netscape or Internet Explorer,
and an appropriate version of
the Acrobat Reader software.
The Acrobat Reader is freeware, available just for the
asking (or the downloading!), and versions are made for Macintosh,
and Unix The Reader is also available in
English, Japanese, French, Spanish, and various other European
The software ranges from about 1 to 8 MB in size and requires a few
RAM to run.
Keep in mind that very large PDF documents may require additional
4. Where do I get the Acrobat Reader?
The software is freely available from
Adobe's download page, or from Emerge,
one of the many mirror sites. Installation information comes with the
5. What kind of computer(s) is the Acrobat Reader made
Macintosh; Windows 95, NT, 3.1; SunOS, Solaris,
Linux, IBM AIX, HP-UX, SGI IRIX;
OS/2 Warp; and DOS.
6. How do I configure the Reader to work with my Web
Installation instructions comes with each version of the reader
software. When you download the software, follow the prompts that
display on the screen.
7. How do I use the Acrobat Reader once it is installed?
When properly installed as a plug-in or helper
application for your Web browser,
you need to do nothing extra to view a PDF document. When you click
on the link for a
PDF document, the Reader will automatically launch and
display the document on your screen.
To learn how to use the many features of the
Reader, refer to
"Acrobat Reader Tutorial: A step-by-step tutorial on
how to use Acrobat Reader to view PDF documents", prepared by the
Agricultural Instructional Media (AIM) Lab at the
University of Illinois. Using lots of examples and screen shots, the
tutorial shows you how
to navigate through PDF documents, search for keywords, zoom in and
out, and more.
This page is designed and maintained by:
8. How do I learn to publish PDF documents?
Check out the following resources to learn
about electronic publishing and PDF:
Florida International University Libraries
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