About PDF Files

What is a PDF file?

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format developed by Adobe Systems, Inc. and is created using their Adobe Acrobat software. This format allows files to be viewed online and printed with the exact document layout that the original author intended, regardless of the platform or browser that people use. PDF files are used throughout our site, especially in the MTL section, particularly when reproducing documents that were originally intended for print publication.

How do I download a PDF file?

Adobe Acrobat Reader™ is required to view a PDF file. This software is FREE, and is so commonly used that it may already be loaded on your computer. If you encounter problems while trying to download a PDF file, you may want to go to the Adobe web site to download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader™. If you are using a relatively new browser (Netscape or Internet Explorer 4.0 and above), the PDF file should download directly into your browser. Older versions may prompt you first, asking whether to save or view the file. If you click on a PDF link and a window pops up requesting that you select a program with which to view the file, you probably don't have Adobe Reader loaded on your computer yet.

How do I navigate a PDF file?

To jump from page to page:

Use the scroll bar, or navigate using the page numbers at the bottom of the screen where it says "1 of 5" or something similar. The arrow to the right of this area jumps you to the next page, the arrow to the left of this area jumps you to the previous page.

To jump to a specific numbered page:
  • Click the page number box in the status bar at the bottom of the main window, type the page number, and click "OK" OR
  • Choose "View > Go To Page", type the page number, and click "OK" OR
  • Drag the scroll box in the vertical scroll bar up and down until the rectangle to the left of the scroll bar displays the number of the page to which you want to jump.
To print:
  1. Choose "File > Print".
  2. Indicate the page range.
  3. Click "OK" (Windows) or "Print" (Macintosh).
To increase magnification:

In the bottom left corner of the screen you should see a percentage like "124%". This is the magnification of the page. It can be changed either by typing a new percentage over it and hitting "enter" on the keyboard, or by clicking the down arrow to the right of the percentage and choosing a setting from the list that appears.

Other magnification methods involve using the magnification icon. Select the magnifying glass symbol (zoom tool) located on the toolbar at the top of the screen, it is next to the hand tool. Choose one of the following:

  • Click on the document page to double the current magnification OR
  • Drag the zoom tool to draw a rectangle, called a marquee, around the area you want to magnify.
To find specific text:

Choose the binoculars ("find") icon from the top of the page. Enter the text you are searching for, and click "find" or press the enter key.


  • If you have trouble installing and using Adobe Acrobat Reader, please visit the Adobe support page at https://www.adobe.com/support/main.html

  • If you have Acrobat Reader installed, and are using Internet Explorer 5.5, you may have trouble displaying large PDF documents directly from the web. If any PDF link displays only a blank screen when clicked, right-click on the link (hold and click on a Macintosh), and save the file to your hard drive. Then open the PDF file in Acrobat from your hard drive.

  • If you have Acrobat Reader installed but have trouble printing a particular document, try selecting "Print as image" when your system displays the print options window.

  • Adobe provides online conversion tools for Adobe PDF documents that help visually disabled users whose screen reader software is not compatible with the Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0. These online tools convert PDF documents into either HTML or ASCII text, which can then be read by a number of common screen reader programs.