Viewing PDFs

Where do I get Acrobat or Adobe Reader support?

Find support, service, and troubleshooting resources at Adobe's support web page.

Where do I get the Reader software?

The product is designed to be used with the free Adobe® Reader® 8 software. If you are already using Reader 7 or newer, you do not need to install anything.

If you do not have Adobe Reader installed or have an older version of the software, we recommend you install the latest version of Reader from the Adobe Reader download page at Adobe's web site. From this page, you can download Reader for Macintosh, Windows, Linux, and several types of UNIX operating systems. You do NOT need to install the Yahoo! Toolbar or Photoshop® Album from this page, although it is your option to do so.

Once you have installed Adobe Reader, use its automatic update feature to install the latest updates over the internet. If Reader does not download updates the first time it is run, connect to the internet and select Help > Check for updates now... from the menubar within Reader.

Can I use a version of Acrobat older than 7?

The product was developed to run in Adobe® Reader® 7.0 or newer. If you prefer to run an older version of Acrobat software, there may be some issues:

Can I use Acrobat Standard or Professional?

You may use either Acrobat Standard or Professional, recommended version 7 or newer.

Why can't I view PDFs in my web browser?

Your Adobe PDF Browser plug-in isn't configured correctly if, when you click on a link to a PDF:

To configure your browser to open PDF files (Acrobat 7 or 8):

  1. Quit your web browser.
  2. Start Acrobat or Adobe Reader.
  3. Select Edit > Preferences.
  4. Select Internet in the list on the left.
  5. Select Display PDF in Browser, and click OK.
  6. Restart your web browser.

You may also have a corrupted installation of Acrobat. Try the "Detect and Repair" function of Acrobat (Help > Detect and Repair) and then repeat the process above.

This may also be a result of security restrictions on your PC. If you are in a locked down environment you may not be allowed to use the PDF Browser plug-in. You may need to contact your IT department about how you can enable viewing PDFs in your browser.

The on-screen text looks too "fuzzy."

The default settings for display are "Smooth Text" and "Smooth Images". If this appears too blurry, you can change your preferences by selecting Display in your Adobe Reader Preferences and unchecking these options.

This may also be the result of scanning a poor-quality original document.

The on-screen text and graphics look poor or "speckled".

This can occur if your monitor is set to 256 colors or less. Thousands of colors (16-bit "High Color") or greater is recommended for optimal viewing. If your monitor and computer hardware support it, increase your colors beyond 256.

Sometimes text appears smooth on-screen, but when I return to that same text later it looks rough or jagged.

This problem sometimes occurs with displaying scanned text pages in Acrobat Reader. Often this is a memory issue; Acrobat is not getting enough of your computer's memory (RAM) to smooth the image. Be sure your computer meets the minimum system requirements to use Adobe Reader.

The tables and lines in PDFs show up with different line thicknesses.

The Adobe software may incorrectly display table and line widths. The lines may appear at varying weights, even though the lines may be the same weight, or the lines may drop out if the magnification is too low to display the level of detail. The lines may appear correctly at a higher magnification (such as appearing correctly at 200% but disappearing at 157%.) and will have the correct width when printed to a laser printer.

I am an author/speaker. The graphics in my paper on this product look much worse than in my original Microsoft Office document.

Microsoft Office applications, such as Word or PowerPoint, include a smoothing (known as anti-aliasing) feature that automatically smooths images for on-screen display. Acrobat viewers do not include the same feature, so images may appear less smooth in PDF than in a Microsoft Office application.

Sometimes when I copy text out of a paper and paste it in a word processor, some words are misspelled that look correct on screen. Why?

Scanned PDF files have two layers to them: a display layer, which is for on-screen viewing and printing, and a hidden text layer, which Acrobat uses when you copy text from a document (it also uses this to search). When PDF files are created from scanned hard copy originals, Acrobat tries to recognize the words so it can store them in the text layer. While the software is nearly 100% accurate, it is not quite perfect and some words aren't read correctly. Occasionally these errors show up in the text layer.

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