Research Methods Resources



Research Methods Resources

Adobe Acrobat Reader

The Adobe pdf format

While on the rest of this of this website pdf is more likely to mean "probability density function", Adobe pdf stands for "portable data format". The pdf format lets you capture and view information from any application, on any computer system and so you can share it with anyone around the world.

To create a document in pdf format, you have to buy Adobe Acrobat Professional software. However, you can read a pdf format with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.


This page was last modified on 14 June 2006. To see the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader, visit the Adobe website: 

Installing Adobe Acrobat Reader

The version of Adobe Acrobat Reader you can install depends on your operating system. Below is a list of system requirements for versions that can be installed on different Windows operating systems. If you don't find what you need in the list below, visit the Adobe website.


Version of Adobe Acrobat Reader and system requirements

    Click on link and click "Open" to install

Version 7.0.7 

Intel Pentium processor Microsoft Windows XP Professional or Home Edition (Service Pack 1 or 2), Windows 2000 (Service Pack 2), Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, Windows Server 2003, or Windows NT (Service Pack 6 or 6a) 128MB of RAM (256MB recommended) Up to 90MB of available hard-disk space Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 (or higher), Netscape 7.1 (or 8.0), Firefox 1.0, or Mozilla 1.7


Version 6.0.1

Intel Pentium processor Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 6, Windows 2000 with Service Pack 2, Windows XP Professional or Home Edition, or Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 32MB of RAM (64MB recommended) 60MB of available hard-disk space Internet Explorer 5.01, 5.5, 6.0, or 6.1


Version 5.0

Intel Pentium processor Microsoft Windows 95 OSR 2.0, Windows 98 and 98 SE, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 5, Windows 2000, or Windows XP 64MB of RAM 24MB of available hard-disk space Additional 70MB of hard-disk space for Asian fonts (optional)



Finding pdf files on the Internet

Many search engines have difficulties finding Adobe pdf files online. This (2003) page from Search Tools Consulting explains why and gives an overview of pdf compatible site search tools. Meanwhile (2006), most search engines find contents of pdf files but you have to be aware that they first convert them to html format and that they are not able to find contents of pdf files in which pages are saved as images.

Later versions of Adobe Acrobat have an in-built search function that can search pdf's on the Internet using Yahoo (if your computer is connected to the Internet of course). We give an example using Adobe Acrobat reader 7.0.


Open Adobe Acrobat Reader and choose Edit => Search

By default you are asked to search for a word or phrase in the current pdf document. Somewhere near the bottom of this window, click on the link "Search the internet using Yahoo!"

Let's see if we can find the manual "GenStat Discovery Edition for everyday use" on the Internet. (Note that we did this search on 14 June 2006, before this version of the website you are now reading was on-line).

Clicking the "Search the Internet" button activates your webbrowser. We get about 20 results of which the second one is the correct hit. (You can click on the picture below to enlarge it in a new window.)

Note however that the quotes we used in the Search PDF pane of Adobe Reader have disappeared in the Yahoo! search box.



We add the quotes and the Boolean operator AND in the Yahoo! search box and click the search button. This time we get 3 results.


You would get the same results by choosing the option "Match Exact word or phrase" in the Adobe Acrobat reader search pdf pane.

The correct hit above leads us however to the web page from which you can download the manual in pdf format, not to the pdf file itself. Let's see what happens if we select to search only in pdf files.

This leads us to the wrong version of the manual. The reason is that we had put the GenStat Discovery Edition manual on-line as a zip-file to help people who are downloading the manual save some time. Search engines such as Yahoo! don't search within zip-files.

Lessons learned: you can find pdf's on-line but you have to be aware of the search limitations to adapt your search strategy. Web designers can increase the chance of pdf files being found by adding sufficient details in html pages. If they want to save on the time needed for downloading, it is better to split the pdf in several parts than to zip it.



Research Methods Resources



GenStat Discovery Edition