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Adobe® Reader® FAQ

What do I need to use Adobe® Reader® on the Internet?

You need the Adobe® plugin which is available free at

Get Adobe Reader

The Adobe plugin has been widely distributed and may already be installed on your computer. You can test to see if your computer can display Adobe files with this small test.

What is Adobe?

Adobe Reader is software that allows you to read documents saved in the Adobe [.pdf] format.

Why are you using Adobe instead of html?

There are times when the Adobe format works better than html (the usual format for Web pages). We frequently create Adobe documents from work that has been printed. This allows users to see and print the document as it appeared in the original version (including fonts that they may not own and with the formatting exactly as it was in the printed piece).

I'm having trouble reading, opening, or printing this Adobe file, what can I do?

We have had reports from some users that they have had trouble opening, reading, or printing some large PDF files.

If that is the case with you, we suggest that you go to the page and:

  1. Right Click on the link to the PDF (Mac users: Control+Click)
  2. Choose "Save Link as..." from the pop up menu (or "Save Target as...")
  3. Save the PDF to your hard drive (remember where you are saving it and the name of the file)
  4. When the download is complete, go to that downloaded file
  5. Double Click the file
    (This should open the file with Adobe Reader, instead of using the Adobe plug-in.)
  6. Read or print the file

Are Adobe PDF files accessible?

Currently there are no specific Section 508 guidelines for PDF files but you can ensure the accessibility of your documents by following these procedures:

  • Make sure that the correct settings for creating a PDF file with selectable text are selected. Go to Adobe's How To Create Accessible Adobe PDF Files for more information.
  • Provide a link to download the free Adobe Reader on every page that has download PDF files.
  • Also provide a link to download the *free "Make Accessible Plug-In" utility to convert PDF files to text or HTML.
  • Make sure that all graphics are described in the text.

*When the "Make Accessible Plug-In" utility is activated by the user, the utility converts a multi-column PDF file into a single-column text or HTML file. This creates a document that a screen reader can understand.


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