Skip Navigation

Instructions for Downloading Viewers and Players

Related Topics on This Page


When proprietary file formats are used, postings are listed with the corresponding file format and a link to this page is provided. Below you will find instructions for using the various file types as well as links to download free viewers that will work across multiple operating system platforms.

to top of page

Adobe Acrobat or PDF Forms/Files

Before attempting to read these files:

You may also wish to:

There are PDF forms on this web site labeled as "fillable." Note that there are limitations on the functionality of these forms depending on the product you are using. If you have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software, you can fill the forms out and print them, but you cannot save them. You must re-fill the PDF form every time you open it. The Adobe Acrobat Reader software functions this way by design. It is supposed to allow users to view PDF files, but it is not designed to edit them.

to top of page

Rich Text Format (RTF) Files

Rich Text Format (RTF) is a standardized word processing format that is supported across a number of platforms. These files can be opened in many word processors and other RTF-aware software packages with much formatting left intact.

You may wish to download MS Word Viewer, which allows RTFs to be viewed, or you may want to use your word processor to save the document in RTF format when you select “Save As."

to top of page

MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Files

Microsoft provides free software that allows viewing certain files without owning the full version of the software.

to top of page

RealPlayer and RealOne Player Streaming Video Clips

There are several streaming video clips on this site that can be played using RealPlayer (old name) or RealOne Player (new name) software. The RealOne Player "Basic" streaming video player is available for free; download the version of your choice here:

If you can't find the version you need, visit the RealNetworks download site.

to top of page

Saving Files Locally

When you click on a link to a non-HTML file, your browser may open the document in the browser window, open the document in its “native” (original) application automatically, or prompt you to save the file locally (on your hard drive). The action the browser takes depends on your local browser/application configuration. You will need to have the appropriate application or file viewer (see free viewers above) to view these documents.

  • If your browser automatically opens the document in its native application or reader, you will have the option to do a File/Save to capture the document to your local computer.
  • If your browser prompts you to download and save the file, simply choose an appropriate place on your local hard disk to store the file. You will want to carefully note the location you save to so that you will be able to find the file when the download is completed.

In addition, you can save a file by right clicking on the link, then clicking "Save Target As" (in Internet Explorer) or "Save Link As" (in Netscape), browsing to the appropriate drive and folder, and then saving the file.

to top of page

Using Compressed and Archived Files

In some cases, large individual documents or groups of files have been archived together and compressed into a single (smaller) file. File names of these archives may end in "ZIP" or "EXE" ("SIT" for Mac users). Selecting a link to an archived file will result in that file being downloaded to your computer. Once downloaded, these files can typically be opened and uncompressed with a "zip" utility/application.

If the software to unzip it is not on your computer, you can search on "zip files" for any number of free utilities that will unzip the files for you.

to top of page