Adobe's Reader is the recommended application for viewing PDF (Portable Document Format) files on the web. PDF documents are derived from documents created in other applications, such as InDesign or Excel, and retain the typography, layout, and graphics of the original. To read a PDF document online you need Adobe Reader software, a network connection, and a graphical web browser (such as Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari) with Adobe's PDF plug-in installed. The plug-in allows you to view PDF files right in the window of your web browser.
Note: Many schools and units have standardized on the use of specific applications and operating systems. Faculty and staff should speak to their local support provider to determine which products are supported locally before selecting or purchasing software.
Adobe Reader is freeware and is available for download from the Adobe website.
- Download the Windows version of Adobe Reader from Adobe's web-site
- Download the OS X version of Adobe Reader from Adobe's web-site
- Remember to allow Adobe Reader Updater to update to the current version or else manually update by selecting Check for Updates... under the Help menu
Adobe Reader versions 11.0.7 and above function correctly in Windows 8.1 Update. Microsoft Reader functions as a basic PDF reader within the Modern/tiled environment.
OS X compatibility
Adobe Reader X versions 10.0.4 and above function correctly in OS X Mavericks.
No further configuration is necessary. However, please note the following for Windows computers regarding the web browser plug-in:
- If only one browser is on your machine, the plug-in will be automatically installed in the browser's plug-ins folder when you install Acrobat Reader. If more than one browser is on your machine, the plug-in will be installed in the plug-ins folder of the first browser it finds.
- If you have more than one browser on your machine, you must check to make sure that the plug-in is installed in the correct browser's plug-ins folder.
After you ensure that the plug-in is in your browser's plug-ins folder, all you need to do is restart your browser before viewing PDF files.
Product history at the University
Various versions of first Acrobat Reader and then Adobe Reader have been supported at the University since the mid 1990s.
Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader revised to version 9.0 beginning in June 2008. The University began supporting Adobe Reader 9.0 in October 2008, moved to 9.1.x for Fiscal 2010, and moved to 9.3.3 for Fiscal 2011.
Adobe Acrobat X and Adobe Reader X were released in November 2010. The University completed its transition to Adobe Reader X at the beginning of Fiscal 2012.
Adobe Acrobat XI and Adobe Reader XI were released in October 2012. The University completed its transition to Adobe Reader XI at the beginning of Fiscal 2014.
Saving documents in PDF format
Adobe released PDF as an open standard in July 2008 and there are now many ways to save documents into PDF format from web browsers and other applications.
PDF is a native file format in all versions of the OS X currently supported at the University and PDFs can be created from any application with a print dialog. Adobe's Creative Suite includes Acrobat Pro, but this option is too costly and overly complex for most users.
Windows options for creating PDFs are varied. Adobe's Creative Suite includes Acrobat Pro, but this option is too costly and overly complex for most users. Users who need to create PDF documents only from within Microsoft Office have this capability with Office 2007 Service Pack 2 and above.
There are many shareware and freeware options that allow PDF creation from any application with a print dialog. Examples of such applications are CutePDF Writer and PrimoPDF. Both of these products are compatible with all currently supported versions of Windows.