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Help with PDF Files

If you have problems opening or printing the Adobe Acrobat PDF Files on this site, you may not have the latest version of Adobe® Acrobat Reader®. In fact, most USDA Forest Service computers have an older version of Adobe® Acrobat Reader® (version 5.0).

Opening PDF Files

The most current PDF files on this site may not open properly from within an Internet Browser such as Internet Explorer, Netscape, or Firefox if you have an older version of Adobe® Acrobat Reader® (version 5.0). To determine your version of the Adobe Acrobat Reader software (or to open the Reader program), click the Start button at the bottom left corner of your computer desktop screen, then select Programs and look for the Acrobat Reader icon and program name (at the very bottom of the programs listing beneath the yellow program folders, on most USDA Forest Service computers).

Graphic showing the menu options to select for opening the Adobe Acrobat Reader program on a Windows computer system.

If you have the older version of Acrobat Reader, the most current PDF files will not open online within the browser. However, they should open within the Acrobat Reader 5 program if you first save the PDF files to your hard drive. To do this, right-click the View link for the PDF file (rather than left-clicking it, and choose Save Target As (or Save Link As). Be sure to notice the Save in location in the Save As dialog box (such as My Documents), as well as the File name of the PDF file, so you can find the file after it is downloaded to your computer. Then click the Save button.

After the PDF files are downloaded to your computer, start your Adobe® Acrobat Reader® program. Choose File, Open, and navigate to the folder on your computer where you saved your PDF files. Click the name of the file, and click the Open button.

Before PDF files open within Acrobat Reader® version 5.0, you may see a warning dialog box that states: This file may contain newer information than this viewer can support. It may not open or display correctly. Adobe recommends that you upgrade to the latest version of our Acrobat products.

Dialog box warning about the limitations of Acrobat Reader version 5.0

If you click the OK button, the PDF file will open. You may wish to click the checkbox at the bottom left of the dialog box that reads: Do not show this message again. That way, you will never have to click through this warning dialog box again. However, you should remember that the PDF files you are opening in Acrobat Reader 5 may not display or print correctly. If this is the case, you will need to upgrade to the most recent version of the free Adobe® Acrobat Reader® software.

NOTE: It may take several seconds or even minutes for a large PDF document to open. Please be patient and give the Reader program a chance to load the document fully.

Printing PDF Files

Even if you can successfully open all of the PDF files within Adobe® Acrobat Reader® 5.0, hardware or software limitations may prevent some of the larger documents from printing successfully. To work around such problems, the larger high-resolution 300 dpi PDF files on this site are available in lower-resolution 72 dpi PDF files. These files may also be broken into smaller sections (such as "parts" or "chapters"). These smaller PDF files will probably print successfully.

Upgrading the Adobe® Acrobat Reader® Software

If some files still do not open or print correctly, you may need to install the latest version of the free Adobe® Acrobat Reader® software, which is available from the Adobe Web site at If you are using a government computer, you will need the assistance of someone who can log into your computer with administrative rights. USDA Forest Service employees should contact the End User Support Center (EUSC) at 1-888-426-3872.