PDF Help

Obtaining and Installing Adobe Reader®

What is Adobe Reader and What are PDF Files?

Adobe Reader is free software for viewing and printing Portable Document Format (PDF) files on any computer. PDF is a universal file format that preserves all the fonts, formatting, graphics and color of any document, regardless of the application and platform used to create it. PDF files are compact and can be shared, viewed, navigated and printed exactly as they were created.

How do I get Adobe Reader?

Most computers come with Adobe Reader preinstalled. If not, Reader is available from Adobe for free download. Click here to download the latest version. There are various versions available for Macintosh, Palm OS, Unix, Windows and other operating systems. Note that Reader is a large download and may take a while if you are using a dialup modem. But once installed, you can view all the forms and publications on our site and any PDF file on the Internet.

Problems Downloading, Displaying or Filling-in PDF Files

Almost all problems related to PDF files not working correctly are due to an incorrect installation of Adobe Reader or you're using an older version of Reader. If one file on our site doesn't open correctly, then try a different file. If that doesn't work either, the problem is probably due to your computer configuration. The following remedies solve most problems.

  1. Make sure you are using the latest version of Adobe Reader, available here. Even if you have the latest version, some application files may have been corrupted or deleted, so you may still need to re-download and re-install the program.
  2. Instead of left-clicking on the link to open the item, try RIGHT-clicking (or control-clicking if you have a one-button mouse on Macintosh), then download/save the item to your hard drive. Then open the item directly in Reader rather than going through your web browser. Do this by opening Reader first, then use File-Open to view the document, or just double-click the file's icon.
  3. Remember that some of the PDF files are quite large. If you're using a dialup modem, they could take several minutes to download.
  4. As a last resort, use a different computer to download the file.
  5. You may also need to uninstall the previous version before installing the new one. Unfortunately, we are unable to assist with this type of situation, so please refer to your computer's Help menu or owners manual for assistance.

If you are still experiencing problems after trying these steps, contact matt.ryan@ncagr.gov

Problems Printing PDF Files

If the files download and display correctly, but you are unable to print them, first make sure you've gone through all the steps listed above in Problems Downloading, Displaying or Filling-in PDF Files. If one file doesn't print correctly then try a different file. If that doesn't work either, the problem is probably due to your computer configuration. The following remedies solve most printing problems.

  1. Open the file in Adobe Reader (not your web browser) and choose File, Print. In the box that appears, click the "Advanced" button at the bottom, then check the option that says "Print as Image". This converts the entire document into a graphic before sending it to the printer. This option may not be available with all printer drivers.
  2. As a last resort, take the file to another computer and printer, and print it there.

If you are still experiencing problems after trying these steps, contact matt.ryan@ncagr.gov

Can I Save the Data on the Forms?

Most of the forms on this site can be filled out online, printed and submitted by postal mail. The ability to save the filled-in forms and submit them electronically is currently not available, due to limitations and licensing restrictions of Adobe Reader.

You may have discovered that some PDF forms on other sites can be saved with data intact, such as IRS forms. Adobe Reader does have a "hidden" ability to save data on forms, and this feature can be activated when the form is created. However, there is a very steep licensing fee that must be paid by the creator of the form in order to activate this feature, and that fee must be paid for each individual form, and paid again each time the form is changed. For that reason, we are unable to support this feature at this time.

If you would like to send comments to Adobe about this limitation, you may do so here: http://www.adobe.com/support/feature.html .

Saving the Data Using the Full Version of Acrobat

If you have purchased the full version of Adobe Acrobat, then you can save the information on the forms. Keep in mind that this only refers to the full commercial version, not the free Reader.

Clearing Data From Forms

To ensure the privacy of data you enter on a form with the fill-in feature, be sure to use the "Click here to clear form" button when you are finished. This Clear Form button will reset all the fields to be blank and will remove any data you have entered. Failure to do so may permit others using the same computer to view the data you have entered.

This only applies if you are using a computer in a public location, such as a library or school. If you are using your own home or office computer, and you know that nobody else uses that same computer, then the privacy of your data is not an issue.

If you have any comments or concerns about these "fill in and print" forms, please contact matt.ryan@ncagr.gov.