Thursday, March 4th, 2004
Fixing downloading hangs & errors, and other common problems or annoyances
Adobe Acrobat Help and Tips
Adobe Acrobat, one of the best ideas to hit the web, ever, no debat’n — however, sometimes those overly large files on sluggish servers mixed with frequently software updates cause problems. Here’s a list of common download problems and their solutions.
- My download stops at 99% complete…
- Nothing happens or I get a blank page when I click on the link…
- A message appears asking whether I’d like to Open or Save the file…
- I don’t have Acrobat on my computer…
- The Hidden "Updates Available" Message Box
Best Performance Tips for Viewing PDFs:
Sometimes when you attempt to save an Acrobat (pdf) document to your computer the "progress bar" moves smoothly, but stops when it reaches "99% Complete". This "hanging" is particularly common for larger files. If this happens click the Cancel button and retry downloading the file. Generally the file will download quickly and with no problems on the second attempt.
If it is a large file and you are using a slower modem and the download took several minutes only to then stop at 99%… don’t worry, Cancelling the download may not mean you’ll be "starting over from scratch", web browsers often have tricks they use to speed up repeat downloads and chances are that the second attempt will only take a few seconds.
Acrobat is a terrific program, but it needs to work alongside your web browser in order for you to be able to click and view documents. Sometimes certain browsers and Acrobat versions do not "play well together", resulting in blank pages. We have found that saving files onto your own computer and then opening your copy of the file often works better than trying to view Acrobat documents from within a browser. Here are instructions on how to save files onto your computer.
Messages similar to the one below (they vary depending upon your operation system and web browser) mean you need to install the FREE Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here for instructions.
The Adobe Acrobat Reader is a free program made by Adobe Systems for viewing and printing documents that may have been created using a type of computer (Windows, Unix, Mac) or software that you don’t have. The three letter abbreviation PDF that all Acrobat files end with stands for Portable Document Format — and it’s because of this portability that we offer most of our documents in this format; it allows easy and free access, and you don’t need to own the same software we used to create the document.
Clicking the "Get Acrobat Reader" button below will take you to the Adobe website where you’ll be able to download the FREE Reader, complete with detailed instructions on how to install Acrobat on your computer. After installing Acrobat you may want to review our tips to get the best performance possible.
Sometimes your web browser appears to "hang" (stop responding to your clicks and typing) when opening an Acrobat document because Acrobat is waiting for you to make a choice about upgrading your software, only you aren’t aware of this because you cannot see the question! This is by far the most insidious problem with Acrobat because it’s one Adobe could easily fix, but never has.
Here’s the problem: the default behavior in Acrobat is to periodically (and automatically) connect to the Adobe web site to check whether a newer version of the Acrobat Reader than the one currently on your machine is available. Now, since the Acrobat Reader is free, and they aren’t transmitting your data or spying on you, this would seem to be a polite and helpful service, however, what Acrobat does is open a dialog box (see example on the right) BENEATH your browser window where you cannot see it! The dialog box asks whether you’d like to upgrade. and you must click either the Get Update or Remind Me Later buttons. What is so terrible about this is that while it’s waiting for you to click one of these choices — that you cannot see — you are unable to do anything else, essentially locking you out of your web browser.
The best thing to do is disable this feature within the Acrobat Reader preferences, or if you think you’re being victimized by this "feature" minimize all of your windows and look for this dialog box.
There are several reasons why you might want to save a copy of a document onto your computer. First, you may not always have an Internet connection; saving onto your computer means you’ll always have a copy. And second, sometimes certain web browsers don’t work well with some versions of Acrobat — opening a copy that resides on your computer gets around this problem.
To save a copy of a file onto your computer…
- Windows users Right-click (Mac users should hold down the mouse button) on the link to the Acrobat (PDF) file, and then choose Save Target As from the pop-up menu (see picture below).
- In the Save As dialog box (see below), specify a name and location for the PDF file, and then click Save.
Know where you saved the file! Make certain that you’re saving the file where you want to and where it will be easy for you to find later.
To view or print the file…
All you’ll need to do is open the folder where you saved it, or if you saved it onto your desktop go there, and double-click the icon. The Acrobat program will start and open the document you’ve choosen.
This solution will force Acrobat documents to be opened inside of the Adobe Acrobat Reader instead of within your web browser. As mentioned earlier some browsers can experience problems when they try to do too much, and displaying Acrobat documents can be "doing too much" (i.e. that straw that broke the camel’s back).
- Launch the Adobe Acrobat Reader program. (you may have a shortcut on your desktop or you may need to locate it under your Programs menu)
- Once Acrobat is loaded access the preferences window from the main menu, Edit » Preferences… (or press Ctrl+K ).
- The preferences window will appear. Choose Options, located in the left pane (see below).
- Deselect (remove the checkmark from) the Display PDF in Browser option from the Web Browser options box (see below).
- Click OK and quit Acrobat. If your web browser is currently open you’ll need to first close it before the changes you’ve just made will go into affect.