About PDF files

The EPA releases a variety of documents as PDF (portable document format) files. This format enables us to make electronic versions of documents available quickly and easily. PDF preserves the formatting of the original document, it is useful for reproducing documents written in languages other than English, and PDF documents can be downloaded and viewed on most operating systems.

PDFs and Adobe (Acrobat) Reader

To view a PDF document you need software called Adobe Reader (or Acrobat Reader in older versions). You can download the latest version of Adobe Reader free of charge from the Adobe website.

PDF documents on this website can be opened with Acrobat Reader version 4.0 or above. If you are using an older version, you should upgrade, as later versions have features not available in earlier versions.

PDF tools for visually disabled people

Adobe at http://access.adobe.com provides tools to help visually disabled users whose screen reader software is not compatible with Acrobat Reader 5.0. These online tools (web form and email submission) convert PDF documents into either HTML or ASCII text, which can then be read by a number of common screen reader programs. These tools approximate the logical reading order of the text in a PDF document and reformat it into a single column of text.

Opening PDFs

Once you have installed Adobe Reader, it should open whenever you click on a link to a PDF document in your web browser (e.g. Netscape or Internet Explorer). If it does not, check that you have installed the Adobe Reader correctly (if you are using Windows, can you see Adobe Acrobat in your Start menu?).

Note that PDF documents may be larger than ordinary web pages, and take longer to open. On the EPA website, the file size of PDF documents is generally indicated, so you know what to expect before starting to download a document.

Saving PDFs

If you need to copy and paste text from a PDF document, you may find it useful to save a copy of the document on your own computer. To do this, instead of clicking to open the document, right click (or on a Mac, click and hold), then select 'Save Target As...' and choose a location where you can save the document and find it again later.

Open Adobe Reader, open the document, and select the text selection tool. You can now highlight the text you want to copy. Note: this may not work if you open the document from within your web browser - open Adobe Reader first.

Printing PDFs

In some web browsers, if you use the print button to print a PDF document, only the first page of the document will be printed.

So, to print a PDF document, click on the print icon in the Adobe Reader or use the File, Print menu commands in your web browser. Before printing, check that the correct number of pages is indicated in the print dialogue box.

Searching PDFs

Move through the document using the cursors, and Page Up and Page Down keys.

Words or phrases may be searched for using Find from the Tools menu.


Go to the Adobe website for technical support relating to use of Adobe Reader or to Online conversion tools for Adobe PDF Documents at http://access.adobe.com/onlinetools.html.

Use feedback form to report problems with documents on the EPA website.

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