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Portable Document Format (PDF)

About Portable Document Format (PDF) Files

What is a PDF file?
A Portable Document Format (pdf) file is a self-contained cross-platform document. In plain language, it is a file that will look the same on the screen and in print, regardless of what kind of computer or printer someone is using and regardless of what software package was originally used to create it.

Although they contain the complete formatting of the original document, including fonts and images, PDF files are highly compressed, allowing complex information to be downloaded efficiently.

Why does the Census Bureau Use the PDF format?
Because pdf format allows the reliable reproduction of published material on many different platforms (requiring only the use of free reader software), it is a way to conveniently and quickly disseminate information including text, tables, and graphics. All Census Bureau publications released since January 1, 1996 as well as several 1990 census and 1992 economic and agricultural census products are now in pdf format.
How to Download the software
Virtually anyone - including Windows, DOS, Macintosh, SUN, and UNIX system users - can view and print a PDF file using the free Adobe® Reader®, from the Adobe web site.

To download the free Adobe® Reader® from the Adobe® Web Site: Get Acrobat Link to a non-federal Web site

For assistance in downloading and installing the software, see the Adobe® Web site document Adobe® Reader® Troubleshooting Guide Link to a non-federal Web site at Adobe®'s Web Site.

Adobe® also has information on accessibility resources Link to a non-federal Web site at its site.

How to View PDF Files
Once the Adobe® Reader® software is properly installed, you just need to click on a link to a .pdf file and it will be loaded for viewing on your computer. Note that the file is sent to your computer as a temporary file that will be deleted when you exit your browser.

PDF files are indicated by either the letters [PDF or pdf] or the following graphic following the filename PDF

How to Print PDF Files
When printing PDF files from within your web browser, do NOT use the web browser print facility. Instead, use the print button in the Adobe® Reader® tool bar.
How to Save PDF Files
To save the file for later use once you have loaded it for viewing, on most browsers you just select "File" then "Save As..." from the menu bar. To just save without viewing, place the cursor over the link to the pdf file, hold down the shift key and click the mouse. This should bring up the "Save As" window.

Adobe and the Reader logo are trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated
Windows and Windows NT are trademarks of Microsoft

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Application Services Division | asd.internet.staff@census.gov | Last Revised: December 11, 2023