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Acrobat Reader Help Page

Table of Contents

Setting up Acrobat Reader

Step 1: Determining if you already have Acrobat set up:

To determine if you already have Adobe Acrobat installed and set up correctly, click the following link: Test Acrobat

If a test PDF document which says "Congratulations" appears, then Acrobat Reader is installed and your browser is configured to work with it.

If not, proceed to Step 2.

Step 2: Downloading and installing Acrobat

  1. Click Get Adobe Reader to get the latest version of the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  2. Follow the steps and click CONTINUE.
  3. Click on the red DOWNLOAD button.
  4. The Save As dialog box will appear. You can accept the default location and click Save to continue or use the drop down list to select the desired location on your computer, and then click Save.
  5. After the Adobe installation file downloads, double click on the file to install Adobe Reader and follow the instructions on the screen.

Test it: Close and restart your browser. Come back to this page and click the Test Acrobat link again. Does the PDF document load? If not, proceed to Step 3.

Step 3: Configuring Acrobat (if it still does not work after installation)

After Acrobat Reader installs, no further configuration should be needed. If Acrobat is still not working properly, then try the following:
  • Internet Explorer Users: Enabling Active X
    If you have already installed Adobe Acrobat on your computer but the Test Acrobat document does not display in Internet Explorer, you may need to enable Active X:
    1. From the Internet Explorer menu bar, click on Tools|Internet Options.
    2. Cllick the Security tab.
    3. Select the Internet zone.
    4. Under Security Level for this zone, click Default Level. The security level should now say Medium. This will enable Active X.
    5. Click the following link to verify that Acrobat now works: Test Acrobat.
  • Setting Acrobat to run as a separate application:
    By default, Acrobat installs itself to run as a browser plugin, meaning that it will display PDF files inside your browser window. As an alternative, you can set Acrobat to open in a separate window.
    Acrobat Reader 7 or later:
    1. Close your browser.
    2. Start Acrobat. (Look in Start Menu | Programs.)
    3. Go under Edit | Preferences.
    4. Select Internet in the list on the left.
    5. Uncheck Display PDF in Browser and click OK.
    6. Close Acrobat.
    7. Restart your browser.
    8. Click the following link: Test Acrobat. Does the test PDF file open in a new window? (If your browser prompts you to open the file or save it, try opening it.)

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Using Acrobat Reader


Clicking on the link to a PDF file should cause the PDF file to download and open for viewing.

The Acrobat toolbar has tools for

  • Navigating within the document Navigate. (You can also scroll and use the Page Up and Page Down keys.)
  • Adjusting the size of the text Zoom in/Zoom Out.
  • Rotating the document's orientation Rotate.


Click on the printer icon Print on the Acrobat tool bar to print the document.


Click on the diskette icon Save on the Acrobat tool bar to save the document on your computer.

Saving - alternate method

  • Right-click on the link to the PDF document and save it on your computer:
    • INTERNET EXPLORER: Click "Save Target As".
    • NETSCAPE: Click "Save Link As" and be sure to change the extension of the file name to .pdf when you save it.
  • Double click on the file you have saved. If Acrobat Reader has been installed on your computer, it should launch and display the document.

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Troubleshooting Common Problems

Viewing PDF documents

Acrobat does not start when I click on the link to a PDF file.

Acrobat starts but the document does not display.

  • Some PDF files are very large and take a long time to download. Also, the server may experience slowdowns during times of peak activity.
  • Look at the status bar (at the bottom of your browser window where the document is loading) and see if it indicates that a document is being downloaded.
    • If downloading activity is occurring, you may need to just give it more time.
    • If downloading activity is not occurring (or appears to be "stuck"), then you may either click your browser's BACK button and try again, or try saving the PDF file to your computer (see saving - alternate method, above) and opening it from there.

Document displays sideways or upside down.

Click the Rotate View icon Rotate on the Acrobat toolbar until the document appears right side up.

Document size needs to be changed (e.g. document is too small to read on the screen).

Use the Zoom In/Zoom Out tool Zoom in/Zoom out on the Acrobat tool bar to change document's display size. You can click on the "-" and "+" signs, or use the drop down menu.

Document won't open in EbscoHost database with IE and MAC OS X.

  • When prompted to save an .asp file, rename the file with a .pdf extension. The file will then open in Adobe Reader.
  • Use a different Internet browser. The issue of renaming PDF files does not occur with Apple Safari or Netscape Navigator.
  • E-mail the file to yourself, save the PDF on your computer and then open it from there.

Printing PDF documents

Document does not print.

  • Try using the print icon Print on the Acrobat tool bar (rather than your browser's print function). On the print dialog box that appears, make sure that the option to "Print to file" is unchecked.
  • If print icon is grayed out, it may mean that the document's security prevents printing.
  • To learn more about resolving printing problems, go to the Acrobat Reader Support page and look at the section under Printing.

Document takes a very long time to print.

Some factors that affect print time:

  • The size of the file
  • The type of network connection with which you are working
  • The speed of the computer on which you are working
  • The type and memory of the printer you are using

Try printing it on a different printer, one with more memory, or try printing it one page at a time.

Document prints only odd or even pages.

Select the "Even and Odd Pages" option on the Acrobat print dialog box (that appears when you click the printer icon).

Document prints as mirror image.

Select the "Print as image" option on the Acrobat print dialog box (that appears when you click the printer icon).

Document prints slightly smaller in size than expected

READER 5: Choose File > Print, and make sure that the "Shrink Oversized Pages to Paper Size" option in the Print dialog box is unchecked.
READER 6: Choose File > Print, and in the drop down list next to "Page Scaling", make sure that None is selected.

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Windows XP Issues

Open Internet Explorer > Tools menu > Manage Add-ons

In the Manage Add-ons dialog, select Add-ons that have been used by Internet Explorer

Make sure Adobe Acrobat Control for ActiveX (pdf.ocx) is Enabled. If it's disabled, enable the add-on and restart Internet Explorer.

Other known issues: Security warnings or no results when you use Acrobat Reader "Help"

Need More Help?

The following online resources are available: