About Adobe Acrobat and PDF
Why did the UMass Medical School choose Adobe Acrobat to be the standard for sharing documents online? Portable Document Format (PDF) has become the standard for electronic distribution of documents online because it's the best way to keep the look and feel of the original document intact. PDF files are compact, cross platform and can be viewed by anyone with a free Adobe Acrobat Reader. PDF files can be created from any application using the full version of Adobe Acrobat (currently 5.0).
Many documents on the UMass Medical School web site are available as PDF files. Usually there will be a small icon followed by the title and size of the file, like this:
Other times you may see:
Most of these documents were originally created in Microsoft Word 6.0 or later. These Word documents were then converted to PDF using the Adobe Acrobat PDF Writer, or Adobe Acrobat Distiller. Both of these applications are parts of the full version of Adobe Acrobat. While the Acrobat Reader is a free product, the full version, which allows for creating and enhancing PDF documents and for saving PDF form data on your system, costs around $249 retail, $180 on the street, or significantly less with an academic discount. If you have been using a previous version (Adobe Acrobat Exchange 2.x or 3.x), there is an upgrade available for about $99. Call your vendor for pricing.
PDF, or, Portable Document Format, documents can be displayed online with their original formatting intact. To view PDF files, download a free copy of Adobe's Acrobat Reader. Once Acrobat is installed, PDF files can be viewed with a Web browser or can be saved to a disk to be viewed offline.
Web browsers can be configured either to view PDF files on-line or to save them to disk. Saving PDF files to disk allows them to be viewed off-line.
Additional benefits of using PDF
PDF files can be distributed globally via e-mail, the Web, corporate intranets or CD-ROM. Adobe Acrobat Reader's navigation and zoom features enable closer review of PDF file text and images, even within your browser! PDF files can be easily viewed and printed a page at a time. Links, annotations, live forms, security options, video, and sound can be added to PDF files for enhanced online viewing with the Adobe Acrobat Reader.
How do I get the Adobe Acrobat Reader?
Adobe Acrobat Reader is available from http://www.adobe.com/. Adobe's Web Site has all of the information you could ever want to read about Acrobat, using Acrobat, and creating PDF files. To download a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader, simply press the yellow "Get Acrobat Reader" button at the bottom of this page which will link you to Adobe's Web Site where you can follow their instructions for downloading and installing Acrobat Reader on your system.
The newest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (5.x) makes PDF files accessible to screen readers if, when a user downloads it, s/he selects the following check box while selecting the other Acrobat configuration options:
[ ] Include option for searching PDF files and accessibility support (longer download).
For UMass Medical School readers, Adobe Acrobat Reader is a part of the Medical School's Standard Desktop Configuration. You probably already have it installed. If not, please make sure to install it, as it is required to view many documents on our site.
How can I create PDF files?
The best way to create PDF files is to purchase a copy of the full version of Adobe Acrobat from your favorite supplier, the UMass bookstore, or local computer retailer.
Helping people with visual disabilities access information in Adobe® PDF.
provides tools and information to help make Adobe PDF files accessible to users with visual disabilities.