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Working with PDFs (Adobe Reader)

OU module content is often provided as PDFs (portable document files).

PDFs will open in your browser or alternatively you can download a PDF and open it using Adobe Reader. If Adobe Reader is not already on your computer, you can download it for free from Adobe.

Downloading and saving a PDF file

To download a PDF file from a web page:

  1. Click the right button of your mouse on the filename (Mac users use Control and mouse-click).
  2. Choose Save Link As and check that the file is being saved where you want it to be.
  3. Choose a location to save the file on your computer such as, 'Desktop' or 'My Documents' and then press 'OK' .
  4. To open it browse to the location where you saved the PDF or you may get the option to open the file once it has finished downloading.

In Safari, right click on the link to the PDF and then select 'Download linked file as'. Select a location to save the file to and then open the copy of the file on your computer.

Making notes in a PDF

Many people print out PDFs and hand write notes on them. However the built-in tools for digital annotation provided by Adobe Reader are fast, flexible and free. Adobe Reader's tools are explained in Use annotation and drawing markup tools to add comments in PDFs in the Adobe help Centre.

Keep your Adobe Reader software up to date

You should keep your version updated for security reasons and to take advantage of any useful new features that are added. You can install the latest version of the software from the Adobe website.

Even if you run an older operating system you can and should run an up-to-date version of Adobe Reader. The latest version is Adobe Reader DC. If you need a copy of an older version, go to Adobe Acrobat Reader other versions. Do not download from an unofficial source because of the risk of picking up malware.

Add backwards and forwards buttons to the toolbar

PDFs often include hyperlinks to other places in the document. When you've clicked on the link and read the material you often want to return to where you were before following the link. When you're in your browser reading a web page you simply click on the back button; Adobe Reader also has a back button, but it's hidden. To reveal it select View > Show/Hide > Toolbar Items > Page Navigation > Previous view. A button with a leftward pointing arrow appears in your toolbar next to the page count. If you repeat the process and select Next view you get the equivalent forward button. These can save you a lot of time navigating complex documents.

When I print PDF files I get unreadable characters. How do I resolve this?

You can fix this by following these steps within Adobe:

  1. Select File > Print
  2. Select Advanced
  3. Tick the 'Print as image' checkbox
  4. Now print the PDF again.

Last updated 11 months ago