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Viewing, Creating and Printing PDF files

PDF files can sometimes be difficult to view, print or create. This page aims to introduce you to the range of tools that can be used to handle them - if one tool won't work on your file, perhaps another will.

Web browsers and email clients will launch a PDF viewer when they are instructed to display a PDF file. If this does not work properly then you can try editing your browser preferences/settings to specify which PDF viewer you prefer, and if that fails then save the file to your home directory so that you can experiment with different PDF viewers. In a web browser you save a file by right-clicking on the link.

Once you have a PDF file in your file space, there are several ways of viewing or printing it. If you have trouble reading or printing the file with one tool, try another.

PDF Readers/Viewers Available

Linux command Windows program
  Adobe Reader
FoxitReader Foxit Reader
gv GSView

Reminder: Linux users can log into Windows via the "Windows Applications" menu option, Windows users can log into Linux via Winex.

If you need to create a PDF file, the Linux command ps2pdf will convert a PostScript file to PDF. The syntax for this command is ps2pdf output.pdf. Sometimes PDF files created with this command will look a bit fuzzy on screen, but much clearer when printed out. If you're using TeX or LaTeX, it helps to create the PostScript file with dvips -Ppdf, or use pdftex to create a PDF file from a TeX/LaTeX file directly.

If the result of ps2pdf isn't good enough, or if you need to convert a Word document, use a Windows machine. To convert a file, open it in the appropriate application and print it to "Acrobat Distiller", or launch Adobe Acrobat Pro and use it to open the file.

The "Print to File" option in libreoffice generates a PDF file.

Concatenating (joining) PDF files together

On Linux you can use the pdfjoin command to concatenate PDF files together.

On Windows we have Adobe software (Acrobat Pro) available to join PDFs together.