Trouble downloading PDF files?

Troubleshooting Step 1:

Do you have Acrobat Reader installed on your computer?  Acrobat reader version 2.1 or greater is required to view our PDF guidelines. Acrobat Reader can be downloaded for FREE at:

The Adobe Acrobat reader software is available for just about any major computing platform - even Linux!

Troubleshooting Step 2:

Is Acrobat Reader configured correctly as a Helper Application?

If you are getting garbage on your screen when you click on a PDF link, and you have Acrobat installed, then chances are your Internet Browser is not configured correctly to use Acrobat as a helper application.


The PC platform uses the file extension (.PDF) by default to identify the correct helper application to open. Normal installations seem to handle this automatically.


We have had a number of people mention that they had problems downloading the PDF files eventhough they had Adobe Acrobat installed on their computers. The following has solved their problem when using Netscape Navigator:

  1. Launch Netscape Navigator, then from the menu bar, select Edit - Preferences.
  2. Under the Category heading, turn down the arrow next to Navigator and click Applications.
  3. Scroll down the applications list until you see "Portable Document Format" under the Description heading. Highlight this entry and click the Edit button.
  4. Verify the following settings:
Description: Portable Document Format
MIME Type: application/pdf
Suffix: pdf
  1. If any of these entries are missing you can click on their respective boxes and type in the appropriate information.
  2. Under the Handled by heading, click the button next to Application the click the Choose button.
  3. Using the Open/Save dialog, locate the Acrobat Reader application on your computer and click the Open button.
  4. Next to the File Type, select PDF from the submenu.
  5. Click OK twice to close both preferences windows.
  6. Quit Netscape Navigator and relaunch. You are ready to download and view our PDF files.

Troubleshooting Step 3:

If you are still having problems, you can download the file to your computer directly. Then open your Acrobat Reader application and select the file you just downloaded to open.

The procedure to download a file without using a helper application is different for each platform, and different for each type of browser that you use. Here are some combinations:

PC/Internet Explorer - Right-click on the link to the PDF file and select "Save Target As..." from the pop-up menu. Enter a path and file name then select OK.

PC/Netscape Navigator - Hold down the Shift key, then click on the PDF link. The "Save As..." dialog box will open. Enter a path and file name, then select OK.

Mac/Netscape Navigator - Hold down the Command key and click on the PDF link. Enter a local file name and select OK.

Read the documentation for your browser if you are using a different combination than listed above.

After downloading the file, remember where you put it. Open the Adobe Acrobat application. Select File/Open and point it to the new file you downloaded.

I hope this helps. If you followed these steps and you are still having problems, please email me at:

Many thanks to Derek Disbro for compiling this information for me.

Rich Savitski

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