Using PDF Copies
Many of the links in this web site go to PDF files. The purpose of this document is to explain what these are, and how to use them.
What is a PDF file?
Adobe PDF is an electronic file format created by Adobe that lets you view and print a file exactly as the author designed it, without needing to have the same application or fonts that were used to create the file.
Since its introduction in 1993, PDF has become an Internet standard for electronic distribution that faithfully preserves the look and feel of the original document--complete with fonts, colors, images, and layout.
How do you read a PDF file?
To read a PDF file one must use Adobe Reader or one of the other PDF reader programs.
Adobe Reader is free software that lets you view and print Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) documents and fill in Adobe PDF forms. (If you do not have Reader, you may download it free from: http://get.adobe.com/reader/)
From within this web site just click on a link, an underlined text or any photo area where the mouse pointer turns into a hand with the index finger pointed. If you have Reader, the document will open and you may read it on your screen.
If you wish to save the file to your computer, you just find the word “File” in the upper left corner of the PDF document screen and click on it.
Next you select “Save a Copy” or just “Save as” and select that.
You will then need to tell it where to save the file on your computer. I normally save to my Desktop and then move it to My Documents or just Documents.
But please be aware that some of these PDF files are hundreds of pages, so before you print to read a file, make sure you want to print all of those pages.
Some PDF files have Bookmarks or Chapters; if so there will be little page type symbols on the upper left margin. Normally, the second one down will be the Bookmarks or Chapters. For example, the PDF file of the book 24th Forward has bookmarks on major topic areas as well as on all maps. This helps to facilitate navigating the documents.
That’s all there is to reading a PDF file.
What if the PDF on my screen is too small to read?
Sometimes the PDF file that I see is too small to read easily. How can I make it larger?
display the PDF file with Adobe Reader as in the photo at the left
(click to enlarge).
You will note in the tool bar buttons for setting the display size: one is a "+" and the other a "-". Hover the mouse over the "+" and you should get the display shown in the photo. Enlarge it to enable you to read it comfortably.
For those of you with a mouse with a "wheel" in the center there may be a quicker way.
First display the PDF file with Adobe Reader as in the photo at the left. Then with the pointer inside the material you wish to enlarge, hold down the Ctrl (Control) key with your left hand and rotate the mouse wheel toward the screen to enlarge, or away from the screen to reduce the display size. This works for most things you have displayed.
How do you find specific text in a PDF file?
Suppose the PDF file you have opened is rather large, the TAPS file for example, and you wish to find a specific name or string of text. How do you do that with Adobe Reader?
First open the file with Reader.
Note that on the tool bar, you will find the option, "Find." Click on it.
You will then see the options: "Find Next in Current PDF Document," and "Open Full Reader Search." This latter may already be on the tool bar as a binocular symbol.
I actually prefer the latter as it finds all occurrences of the search word in context so that you can jump to the one you wish directly without having to pass by those earlier in the text.
Enter the word or words in one or the other of these searching formats, and Reader will find all occurrences of your search term.
Note also that you can specify Whole Words and also Case Sensitive. And also note that you can search for number strings, for example, 19th, 21st, etc.
This search capability makes PDF files very useful.