Last updated: October 27, 1998

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Everglades Digital Library

PDF Help Page

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).

Developed by Adobe 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 format, see the FIU Libraries' handout 'PDF FAQ' [ in PDF format!] or visit the web page " Noddy's Guide 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?

    There are a number of reasons why PDF documents makes sense for the Everglades Information Network & Digital Library.

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, Windows and Unix The Reader is also available in English, Japanese, French, Spanish, and various other European languages. 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 memory.

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 downloaded software

5. What kind of computer(s) is the Acrobat Reader made for?

     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 browser?

     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 the "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.

8. How do I learn to publish PDF documents?

    Check out the following resources to learn about electronic publishing and PDF:
| FIU Libraries' PDF FAQ | EIN&DL Help Page | EDL Home Page | EIN Home Page

This page is designed and maintained by:

EIN&EDL Project Director
Florida International University Libraries
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