Portable Document Format files (PDFs)
Where possible, Practical Action makes its documents available as PDF files. This format allows the document to retain its original layout, fonts and illustrations, whilst offering maximum compatibility regardless of the type of computer used to view it.
Portable Document Format (PDF) is the open de facto standard for electronic document distribution worldwide. PDF is a universal file format that preserves all the fonts, formatting, graphics, and colour of any source document, regardless of the program and computer system used to create it. PDF files are compact and can be shared, viewed, navigated, and printed exactly as intended by anyone with free software.
|To read a PDF file, you will need a copy of Adobe's Acrobat Reader on your computer. This may already be installed. If not, it can be downloaded for free from Adobe's website.|
Some browsers can have trouble with large PDFs. If you have problems opening a file, in Windows you can right-click on the link to the file and select "Save Target As...". This will save it to your hard disc and you can then open it from there. On a Mac, holding down the mouse button on the link should bring up a menu that also allows you to save the file to disc.
Please note that some PDF files are large: a 300K file will take around one minute to download on a 56K modem, and several minutes on a slower modem. However, you do not have to wait for the entire file to load before you can start reading it - the first page should be readable while later pages are still loading.
If you are unable to run Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer, an online conversion from PDF to HTML (web page) is available on Adobe's website.
- Follow this link to Adobe's PDF Conversion by Form page - this page should open in a new window.
- Returning to the Practical Action site, locate the document that you want to convert.
- On a Windows PC, right-click on the link to the PDF document that you want and select "Copy Shortcut".
- On Adobe's PDF Conversion by Form page and paste the shortcut into the "URL" field, check the "Reflow paragraphs" option and click "Get this Adobe PDF document as HTML".
Please note that this conversion loses all formatting and pictures.
Cached HTML versions of some Technical Briefs are also available on Google. These retain some formatting, but still lose all pictures. Around half of Practical Action's PDF files are archived in this way.
By their nature, Practical Action Technical Briefs in particular are dependent on illustrations. It is therefore recommended that you download the PDF version if at all possible. The HTML conversion should only be used to gauge the content.
HTML (web pages) versions of many documents, including the Annual Highlights, Smoke report, Power to the People, Preserving the Web of Life, Sustaining Agricultural Biodiversity and country newsletters are already available.
It is hoped to make full HTML versions of major PDF files, including key Technical Briefs, available on the Practical Action website in the future, depending upon resources. These full versions will include all relevant illustrations. However, the PDF files will remain the preferred versions, as the format allows better presentation and greater ease of printing.