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U. S. Food and Drug Administration
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

General Help for Accessing Files on the CFSAN Web Site

PDF Files and Adobe (Acrobat) Reader | Problems Accessing PDF Files | Accessing PDF Files as Text/HTML
Compressed ZIP and EXE files | Browser Text Size | Printing HTML Pages | Downloading Multi-Part Documents
Screen Readers | Document Viewers | Template Files | Internet Browser Downloads | More Help

PDF Files and Adobe (Acrobat) Reader

Portable Document Format (pdf) files can be seen on the screen (and printed) in the exact format created by the document developer. Adobe (Acrobat) Reader, free software available for Windows, Macintosh, and UNIX systems, is required to read pdf files. If you have not already installed the Adobe (Acrobat) Reader software, you will need to download the most current version appropriate for your computer system from the Adobe website. The Adobe (Acrobat) Reader is freely available to the public and may be redistributed.

On most browsers, the Adobe (Acrobat) Reader can be configured as a Plug-in or Helper Application that will directly open pdf files for viewing and/or printing. However, often the most convenient way to use large pdf files is to download them to your hard disk and open them separately with the Adobe (Acrobat) Reader. To download PDF files:

The pdf files should be downloaded if your browser does not support Adobe (Acrobat) Reader as a plug-in or helper file, or if an error message (see below) is encountered when using Microsoft Internet Explorer 4 or 5 and Adobe (Acrobat) Reader 4.

For additional information on downloading, installing, and configuring Adobe (Acrobat) Reader, see

Problems Loading PDF Files
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If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer 4 or 5 with the Adobe (Acrobat) Reader 4 plug-in, you may not be able to open some pdf files. You will get an empty browser screen, and the message "An error has occurred while trying to use this document" in the message area at the bottom of the browser. This incompatibility should be eliminated in the future; in the meantime, Microsoft suggests that the pdf file be downloaded and opened separately in the browser (see above).

The pdf files also may not load properly if a partial download or corrupted copy of the pdf file has been left in cache area of your hard drive from a prior failed access. If you have interrupted a page while loading it into your web browser one time, you may have trouble retrieving the full page on future tries to load it. In this case, you should clear your browser cache.
For example:

Accessing PDF Files as Text/HTML
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Adobe Systems, Inc. provides free on-line conversion services through to convert PDF files to web pages (HTML documents). These can be used in one of two ways:

Compressed ZIP and EXE Files
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For the Windows operating system, files that are compressed (.zip) or Self-extracting compressed (.exe) files will need to be downloaded and expanded before use.
Browsers may be configured so that clicking on .zip or .exe files will automatically expand the files by opening an existing utility (.zip) or using a utility included with the file (.exe); however it is generally safer to download the file and expand it outside of the browser as described below.
For pages on the CFSAN web site, the sizes for both the compressed and expanded files are provided on the linking page. Once downloaded, the self-extracting .exe files do not require a separate utility program and may be extracted by double-clicking on the file name in Windows Explorer, or entering the file name in the Windows Run application (on the Windows Start Menu) and clicking OK. The self-extracting files created with utilities such as the DOS version of PKZip (see below) run in a separate DOS window (which may be closed when the process is complete). The expanded file will be in the same folder as the .exe file. The .exe files from other applications such as WinZip (see below) open a self-extractor window that prompts the user to select a download location for the expanded file. The .zip files require a utility program (see below) to extract the files. Consult the instructions for the utility you use.

For the Macintosh operating system, utilities such as Stuff-it Expander (see below) will open both the .zip and .exe files. To use the resulting files, they must be compatible with Macintosh software applications.

Configuing Browser Text Size and Readability
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Printing HTML Pages
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Many web documents (HTML pages), including those with wide tables, will look better if printed in Landscape (wide; 11" by 8.5") rather than Portrait (tall; 8.5" by 11"). In addition, you may use the Print Preview feature of the browser (if it is available) to determine how many pages the document will require to print; if the entire document is not needed, selected pages may be printed from the Print Interface.

Downloading Multiple-Part Documents
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Many large documents on the CFSAN web site, such as the Food Code, are posted as multiple files to facilitate easy viewing and downloading. To obtain a copy of the entire document to use locally, or on a computer without an Internet connection, one can use a software package called an "offline browser". There are many available, some at no or low cost. Use a search engine or directory service such as Google to obtain a list of such software packages.

Once you have installed the offline browser, start the program and give it the URL of the document's table of contents. For example, the table of contents for the 2001 Food Code is Set the program to copy internal links and set the link depth to 2 or 3. Most offline browsers also have an option to convert the downloaded files to be viewable without an Internet connection. Start the download, and when complete, you will have a copy of the document on your PC.

See also Printing Multiple Files with a Single Click

Information on Screen Readers for the Blind and Visually Impaired
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Document Viewers
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The following free document viewers may be useful for opening, viewing, and printing word processor, presentation, or spreadsheet documents if you do not have the appropriate software.

Template Files
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Template files are pre-formatted documents or forms that may be downloaded and opened with the appropriate word processor program. They are usually protected so that only the "fill in the blank" sections may be modified. They may then be printed or saved (as template files).

Download the Latest Versions of Internet Browsers
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PDF Files and Adobe (Acrobat) Reader | Problems Accessing PDF Files | Accessing PDF Files as Text/HTML
Compressed ZIP and EXE Files | Browser Text Size | Printing HTML Pages | Downloading Multi-part Documents
Screen Readers | Document Viewers | Templates | Browser Downloads | More Help

Foods Home | FDA Home | Other FDA Centers | HHS Home | Search/Subject Index | Disclaimers & Privacy Policy | Accessibility/Help

for information on the Electronic Registration of Food Facilities or Prior Notification, please go to the FDA Industry Systems Help Desk Page;
to submit questions directly directly to the Help Desk or request other information, please use the following Form.

To comment or report general page access problems, contact Fred Fry,

Last updated on 2004-SEP-28 by frf