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About PDF Documents

PDF Icon You can download and get help using the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print PDF documents. If you are having trouble printing the PDF document check Adobe's website for troubleshooting advice, or e-mail us for a free copy of the report.

PDF Icon Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) Files

Persons using screen-reading devices generally cannot directly read documents in PDF format. Adobe Systems, Inc., provides a free translation service through their Access web pages, which will translate PDF files to web pages (HTML documents). This can be used in one of three ways:

  1. The user's browser can be configured to use this service as a helper application, so that every time they click on a link to a PDF document, this document is automatically sent to the Access server and returned as a web page.
  2. The user can go to the Access.adobe.com server and fill out a form. When this form is submitted, the server will retrieve the PDF document, translate it, and return it to the user.
  3. The user can send an e-mail message to the Access server, giving the address of the document to be translated. The server will then get this document and translate it to either a web page or a text (ASCII) document. Note that this is the only one of the three options that also gives the ability to produce a text document from the PDF file.

If PDF files are not on the Internet and the user doesn't want to submit the files as an e-mail attachment for translation, Adobe Access is a free downloadable accessibility plug-in for use with the latest versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader for Microsoft Windows 3.1, Windows 95, or Windows NT. This plug-in converts PDF files on a user's local system into plain text, which can be read by screen reading programs. For systems with Internet access, Adobe recommends using the forms-based Access translation service instead.

For other PDF tools, see the PDFzone web site.

For more information, contact: Tom McDonald

Web administration: webadmin@ers.usda.gov

Updated date: March 1, 2006