In most cases, files on the OER web site are provided in an accessible HTML web format (see Accessibility page). When other file formats are used (such as PDF, RTF, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint or RealPlayer), postings are annotated 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. Many of these documents will open directly in your browser or will provide the option of saving to your local computer.
Many documents on this web site are available as downloadable and sometimes fillable form files, usually in Portable Document Format (PDF) or Rich Text Format (RTF) - see below. The PDF and RTF forms labeled as "Fillable" support filling in data fields by the user. Otherwise, the forms on this web site do not support this feature.
Adobe Acrobat or PDF Forms/Files
Before attempting to read these files, you will need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed (download Acrobat Reader
). The free Adobe Acrobat reader will allow you to view and print PDF files. Also see the Adobe Acrobat Reader download page
for quick links to Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility features. In addition, Adobe offers other Online Conversion Tools for Adobe PDF Documents
including web-based and e-mail submissions. Additional conversion tools are available in the Adobe Accessibility Resource Center.
As mentioned above, there are numerous 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, as follows:
- If you have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software you can fill the forms out and print them, you cannot save them. You must re-fill the pdf form everytime you open it. The Adobe Acrobat Reader software functions this way by design, it is supposed to allow users to view PDF files, it is not designed to edit them.
- Software packages may be available that will allow you to complete, save and print the forms. However, it it essential that the type size and format specifications are met or the application will be returned without review.
See FAQs: Revised PHS 398 and PHS 2590 Forms and Instructions (PDF - 97
KB) or (RTF - 88 KB) for detailed information
on using fillable PDF forms and other important information regarding these
Rich Text Format (RTF) Files
Rich Text Format (RTF) is a standardized word processing format that is supported across a number of platforms.
RTF files can be opened in many word processors and other RTF-aware software packages with much of its formatting
left intact. Microsoft's free Word viewer (download MS Word Viewer
) also allows RTFs to be viewed. In addition, many word processing programs will also allow users to save a document in RTF format when you select " Save As..."
Note that some fields on the RTF application Form Pages have been "protected" to minimize the chances that applicants will attempt to alter the forms. Format Pages, however, have been left "unprotected" to allow applicants to format text and/or insert graphics, diagrams, or tables. These format pages are intended to assist applicants in the development of specific sections of the application.
NOTE: Applicants who encounter problems with the PHS 398 or PHS 2590 forms or print margins due to printer settings are advised to use the individual files for Forms/Format Pages. Alternatively, applicants may select "Unprotect Document" under "Tools" to make necessary modifications. (Note: Page numbers can be added by unprotecting the document and double-clicking in the "footer".) Applicants are advised that TYPE SIZE AND FORMAT SPECIFICATIONS MUST BE FOLLOWED OR THE APPLICATION WILL BE DESIGNATED AS INCOMPLETE AND WILL BE RETURNED TO THE APPLICANT ORGANIZATION WITHOUT PEER REVIEW.
MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint Files
Microsoft provides free software that allows viewing MS Word
(download MS Word Viewer
), Excel (download Excel Viewer
), and PowerPoint (download PowerPoint Viewer
) files without owning the full version of the software.
There are several software programs that can play video clips on demand. Some of the common file formats for video files are .mp4, .rm, and .wmv. Below you will find a list of the free software programs that are used to play the video clips on this site:
There are several Quicktime video clips (.mp4) on this web site that can be played on demand using Quicktime which is available from Apple for free and may be downloaded by visiting the link below.
There are several Streaming Video Clips (.rm, .rfm) on this web site that can be played on demand using RealPlayer software. The RealPlayer 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
. Also see the Streaming Video Clips Help Page for more information.
Windows Media Player
There are several Windows Media Player video clips (.wmv, .mp4) on this web site that can be played on demand using Windows Media Player which is available from Microsoft for free and may be downloaded by visiting the link below.
There are several flash files on this web site that can be played on demand using the Adobe Flash Player which is available from Adobe for free and may be downloaded by visiting the link below.
Saving Files Locally
When you click on a link to a file in other than HTML format, your browser may open the document in the browser window, open the document in it's native application automatically, or prompt you to save the file locally. 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.
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) and browse to the appropriate drive and folder, then save the file.
- If your browser automatically opens the document in it's 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.
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 end in "EXE" if you are a PC user or "SIT" for Mac users. Clicking on a link to an archived file file will result in that file being downloaded to your computer.
Once downloaded, these compressed files can typically be uncompressed by simply double-clicking and choosing a destination folder to store them in.
Note: For help accessing PDF, RTF, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, RealPlayer, Video or Flash files, see Help Downloading Files.