How to access PDF documents. It's easy if you follow the advice and tips here.
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The following excerpt is used, with Adobe's permission, from the Adobe Acrobat 4.0 Guide (User Manual) pages 69 - 72. This is to help clarify some of the problematic areas associated with accessing PDF documents from the Internet.
Configuring Web browsers for viewing PDF
You can view PDF documents in Web browsers compatible with Netscape Navigator 3.0 (or later) or Internet Explorer 3.0 (or later). The Web browser you use, the Web server, and several other factors determine how your system handles the PDF documents.
About viewing PDF documents on the Web
Here are four possible scenarios for viewing PDF on the Web:
The browser supports PDF viewing, the PDF file is optimized, and the Web server supports page-at-a time downloading (byte-serving), so the PDF file downloads a page at a time and displays in the Web browser window. This is the fastest scenario possible for viewing PDF documents on the Web. The browser supports PDF viewing, but the PDF file is not optimized or the server does not support byte-serving, so the entire PDF file downloads to the machine with the browser and then appears within the browser window. The browser supports PDF viewing, and PDF files are embedded in an HTML page. An ActiveX browser such as Internet Explorer supports navigating through the document. Netscape Navigator-compatible browsers can display the PDF document within an HTML page, but require a link to a full-window view for navigation. Acrobat or Acrobat Reader is configured as a helper application for the browser, and the browser may support PDF viewing within the browser window. The entire PDF file downloads to the machine with the browser, and the Acrobat viewer launches as a separate application and displays the PDF document.
Enabling page-at-a-time downloading
With page-at-a-time downloading (byte-serving), the Web server sends only the requested page of information to the user, not the entire PDF document. As a reader of the PDF document, you do not have to do anything to make this happen; it is communicated in the background between Acrobat and the Web server. If you want the entire PDF document to continue downloading in the background while you view the first page of requested information, be sure Allow Background Downloading is selected in the General preferences dialog box (default). For more information, see Setting Acrobat preferences.
If your Web server does not support page-at-a-time downloading, you can use a CGI application to do it.
Setting up Acrobat as a helper application
If your Web browser does not display PDF documents in the browser window, or if you prefer not to view PDF documents in the Web browser, you can set up Acrobat as a helper application in your browser's preferences. Then, when you view a PDF document on the Web, Acrobat will start and display the document. When Acrobat works as a helper application, you cannot use page-at-a-time downloading, form submittal in a browser, or search highlighting on the Web, and you cannot view embedded PDF documents.
To set up your Web browser to recognize PDF files, you must define a MIME type and a file type. The file type should be pdf. The MIME type should be application/pdf. See your browser's documentation for information on configuring it.
If you are using Netscape Navigator 2.0 or later with Windows or on a Macintosh, and if you want to use Acrobat as a helper application, rename the PDFViewer plug-in or delete it from the Netscape plug-in folder. The plug-in is named nppdf32.dll (Windows) or PDFViewer (Mac OS).
To use Acrobat as a helper application in Windows:
- Choose File > Preferences > General.
- Select Web Browser Integration and click OK.
Note: This is not necessary in Mac OS.
Installing the Web browser plug-in
Browsers compatible with Netscape Navigator need the nppdf32.dll file (Windows) or PDFViewer plug-in (Mac OS) to display PDF. When you install Acrobat, this plug-in is automatically installed in the Netscape plug-in folder, if you have Navigator on your system. If you install Navigator after installing Acrobat, or if you're using another browser compatible with Navigator, you can install this plug-in yourself.
To install the Web browser plug-in (Windows):
- Open the Browser folder in the Acrobat folder.
- Copy the nppdf32.dll file to your Web browser's plug-ins folder.
To install the Web browser plug-in (Mac OS):
- Open the Web Browser Plug-in folder in the Acrobat folder.
- Copy the PDFViewer plug-in to your Web browser's plug-ins folder.
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Last updated 1/19/01