Know the Basics of Your PDF Reader

December 6, 2012

The PDF file format has been around for something like 20 years. Along with the file format are programs for reading PDF programs. Given that it is such a popular format, I am often surprised when I’m asked very basic questions about reading PDF files. First let’s make sure you have a current reader installed. Below are links to two of the most popular ones.

Once you have your choice installed, then you’ll want to open a PDF file so you can learn how it works. I like the Foxit Reader as it is much smaller and faster.

First, let’s start with the absolute basics. PDF files can have multiple pages. Use the PageUp and PageDown key on your keyboard to move up or down through the pages. If there are links to external files or Web sites, you may get a security warning when you click on the links. The reader software is simply telling you that there is the possibility the destination isn’t secure. PDF files received from a trusted source should be just fine so don’t hesitate to allow the reader to go to the link. The folks at the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire have developed a Web page with brief descriptions of using Adobe Reader titled Navigating PDF Files. While the exact command may be a bit different in Foxit Reader, the techniques are the same.

Another person recently asked how to print specific pages. Each program has a slightly different dialog box, but the Print dialog should give you choices for what pages to print. You should also be able to enlarge or shrink the page size if needed.

This should give you the absolute basics of a PDF Reader and I encourage you to spend a little more time learning more about the software as it can be incredibly helpful when you are working with one of the millions of PDF files out there.

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