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PDF Education from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The PDF Format & the EPA Website


Purpose of the PDF Format

HTML (the code behind Web pages) cannot maintain all the original formatting and presentation of many documents. In such cases, we use a different format: Portable Document Format (PDF). PDF documents maintain the look of the original document, and they can be viewed on any Macintosh, PC, or Unix computer. First, however, you must download and install a PDF reader program.


Downloading Large Adobe PDF Files

Download times of large PDF files vary based on connection speed. If a document is labeled with a megabyte, it should be considered a large file and it may take a while to download to your PC. At EPA, PDF file sizes are labeled and megabytes are indicated by MB.


Printing Adobe PDF Files

When printing Adobe PDF files from within your web browser, do NOT use the web browser print facility. Instead, use the print button at the left end of the special Adobe Reader tool bar, which appears immediately above the viewing window. See illustration below for location of this print button.


Search Options

There are several ways to search for information within a PDF document. These include the following:

Advanced Search
Basic Search
Advanced Search Options

Some examples include:

Match Exact Word Or Phrase - Searches for the entire string of characters, including spaces, in the same order in which they appear in the text box.

Match Any Of The Words - Searches for any instances of at least one of the words typed. For example, if you search for each of, the results include any instances in which one or both of the two words appear: each, of, each of, or of each.

Match All Of The Words - Searches for instances that contain all your search words, but not necessarily in the order you type them. Available only for a search of multiple PDFs or index definition files.

Boolean Query - Uses the Boolean operators that you type with the search words into the What Word Or Phrase Would You Like To Search For box. Available only for searching multiple PDFs or PDF indexes.

Note: You cannot run wildcard searches using asterisks (*) or question marks (?) when searching PDF indexes.

Click "Use Advanced Search Options" near the bottom of the search window pane to display the advanced search information. To execute an advanced search request complete the following steps:

Type your search term(s) inside the "text box" where you are asked:"What word or phrase would you like to search for?"

Select an option from the drop down menu for "Return results containing:"

Click the "Search" button to execute the search request.

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