Working with downloaded files

Scattered throughout the website are links to files for you to download onto your computer and read offline. Here's how to work with those files.

[pdf icon] Working with PDF files

PDF documents are in Adobe's proprietary Portable Document Format. They contain elaborate formatting, graphics, and custom fonts. They often look more "polished" than do run-of-the-mill web pages — especially when printed.

If the file doesn't open automatically after downloading, double-click on it. If that doesn't work, get a copy of the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software.

[zip icon] Working with ZIP files

Zip files contain an archive of one or more text files that have been compressed to reduce download time. If the archive doesn't un-zip automatically after downloading, try double-clicking it. If that doesn't work, you may need to get an inexpensive utility program to un-zip it. Here are some suggestions:

  • Macintosh users: Stuffit Expander (free) or Zipit (shareware).
  • Windows users: 7Zip (free).
  • Unix, Linux, etc. users: You probably already have the programs you need to uncompress ZIP files. It varies from one system to another, but commands like "unzip" or "uzip" have been known to work. ("gunzip" is a different animal and does not work.) If you're not sure what the command is on your system, type "man -k zip" to track it down. If you really don't have it on your system, ask your sysadmin to get it for you.

After you un-zip the archive, the files it contained will appear in a folder on your hard disk. If these files are HTML files, simply open them with your Web browser program. If they are text files of some other sort, open them with your favorite text editor.