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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life - 49

January 2005  

Getting the most from your computerYou can do IT is a regular feature of aimed at trying to help laterlife visitors make the most of Information Technology on or off the web.

Jackie Sherman who runs the You can do IT Question & Answer section is an IT trainer and author. Jackie has spent her career in education and specialises in teaching IT to adults. Her courses for adults include such topics as MS Office, the Internet, e-mail and basic web page authoring.  

Amazon book - Basic Computer Skills Made Simple: XP Version  Jackie has also written the two books shown here - you can find more details about these by clicking on the cover images above. Jackie has also been running a course specifically for over 50s.


Via Jackie aims to particularly help those new to IT and the web to build up knowledge and confidence, so no question is too basic. At the same time she will cover Q&As for the more experienced user. 

So if you would like to ask a question of Jackie, why not email her

or if you have discovered something which may be of interest to others in making the most of the web, then she would love to hear about that too

January 2005    

This week, I want to explain about PDF files.

What are they?

Many documents are converted to a special file type - Portable Document Format or PDF, which allows them to be published on the Web or sent via e-mail in an exact format

You will find PDF file formats used particularly for manuals, timetables, charts and complex forms. The files appear on Web pages displaying a red icon.


Adobe icon



The Adobe Reader needed to view such files is free to download from the Web. You will see the link to the Website on many pages that provide PDF files for downloading if your machine does not already have the software installed:



Once you have the Reader on your computer, you will find that PDF files open automatically when double-clicked and don’t require you to first open the program.

Downloading PDF files

When you want to read a PDF file that you plan to save on your computer, right-click the file and select the option to Save Target As… This will open a save dialog box and you can specify where the file will be saved.




Clicking OK will start the process and, depending on the size of the file, may take a while.

Moving through a document

When the file opens, you may see different displays: thumbnails showing each page as a rectangle, bookmarks showing pages in a hierarchy, or simply the main first page.

Move to other pages by clicking the arrows at the bottom of the screen or on the toolbar, or click the thumbnail or page on the left.




If you do not want the left-hand pane displayed, click the Show/Hide Navigation Pane button.

To go to a particular page, select the page number showing at the bottom of the screen e.g. 2 of 29, type over this the number of the page you wish to jump to and press Enter.


Sometimes, the text is too small to read comfortably. View the contents at different magnifications by clicking the Zoom In or Zoom Out Tool and then clicking the page with the mouse.




There are other buttons and options on the View menu including full screen (press Escape to return to the normal view and toolbars), different page widths, single or continuous pages, and the option to rotate the page. If you enlarge the page too much to see it all, click the button showing a hand and you will be able to drag the page around the screen.

Copying Contents

You have all the normal facilities in later versions of Adobe Reader to print all or selected pages or save copies of the file, but using part of the contents in other documents (if there are no copyright restrictions) can be tricky.

To copy text that can be word processed, click the Text Select Tool  and then drag the mouse over the block of text before right-clicking or clicking Edit - Copy. When the words are pasted into your new document, you should be able to treat them as normal word processed text.

To copy a picture or any textual part of the document as an image, first click the Graphics Select Tool . Now when the selected block is copied and pasted, it will show the black border and sizing handles round the edge just like any other image.


View previous editions of YoucandoIT for more useful Questions and Answers


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