Answered By: Digital Library Services Team
Last Updated: Jul 09, 2015     Views: 31

Acrobat documents, also known as PDF files (PDF stands for Portable Document Format) are a platform-independent way of storing rich text documents including illustrations etc. Unlike web pages, Acrobat documents are full page facsimiles of print documents and when printed are as good as (if not better than) photocopies of the print original.

Acrobat documents are easily created from desktop publishing programs and are therefore an easy way of creating an accurate electronic version of a print publication. This is why they are the main format in which electronic journals articles are supplied, for example.

To view an Acrobat document you need to have a suitable reader program installed on your computer: on Windows computers this usually means installing Adobe Reader. This is installed on all Library and IT Zone computers, and you may already have it installed on your work or home computer. If not, the software is free and downloadable from Adobe's website.

Adobe Reader is available for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, iOS and Android. Other reader software is available for most platforms.

Macintosh and Linux computers, and most tablet and smartphone devices, can usually display PDFs without installing any extra software, though you may need to install Adobe Reader to handle some encrypted files and any with Adobe DRM (Digital Rights Management).

If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer as your browser, the reader will install a plug-in which will show Acrobat documents in your browser window. Other browsers may either use the plugin, or use the reader as a helper application: you will need to consult your browser's documentation on how to set this up. Some browsers now include a built-in PDF viewer, eg Firefox, Chrome and Safari. You may still need to install Adobe Reader to handle some encrypted files and any with Adobe DRM (Digital Rights Management).