How to use PDF documents
On this page:
- What is PDF?
- Reading PDF documents
- Completing PDF forms
- Searching PDF documents
- Printing PDF documents
- Converting PDFs into another format
- PDF accessibility
Almost all documents on this website are in Portable Document Format (PDF). PDF is a standard for electronic document distribution.
You will need a a copy of Adobe Reader to read PDF files. This should already be installed on your computer. If not, you can download the software for free from Adobe's website.
PDFs have a number of advantages over other file formats. They are designed for onscreen reading, print well and are virus resistant.
Documents are located in the documents panel on the right hand side of each webpage.
To read a PDF simply click on its link in the documents box. If you would like to save a permanent copy to your computer click on the 'save a copy' button in the toolbar.
Documents are arranged in the document box in the order in which they are mentioned on the page.
Some PDF files on this website are interactive. Examples include our forms for providers which can be filled in on-screen and printed.
However, if you want to save a copy of your changes you need a copy of Adobe Acrobat Professional. This is a different product from Adobe Reader and is not free. See the Adobe website for more information.
There are two methods for searching for a single word or phrase within a PDF document:
- Press Control + F. This will bring back the first instance of the term you have searched for. You can find further instances by clicking on the ‘next’ button.
- Click on the binoculars icon on the toolbar. This will bring back a list of all instances where the term occurs.
Note that you will only be searching the document that is currently open.
To print a PDF document click the print button in the toolbar. You can print the entire document or selected pages.
If you would like to convert a PDF document into another format, such as:
- Microsoft Word document (.DOC)
- plain text file (.TXT)
- an image (.JPG)
you will need to buy a copy of Adobe Acrobat Professional and use the 'Save as' option. See the Adobe website for more information.
If you have version 7 or later of Adobe Reader, you can benefit from accessibility enhancements.
If you are visually impaired, Adobe Reader will read a document aloud to you:
- save a copy of the PDF to your computer
- double click on the document to open it in Adobe Reader
- go to the view menu and use the 'read out aloud' option.
Some documents (eg documents containing complex tables) may not work. If you have difficulty accessing a PDF document, please contact us. We will do our best to provide you with a version that meets your requirements.
See the Adobe accessibility resource centre for more information.
Last updated: 26 October 2007