About Portable Document Format (PDF)

Fillable forms

Do you need help with fillable forms?

Learn more about fillable forms

General information

Many publications and all forms on our Web site are available in Portable Document Format (.pdf). This means that if you have Adobe Reader software you will be able to view, print, or download these documents.

Adobe Reader is available free from the Adobe Systems Web site and is available for Windows, MacIntosh and Unix systems.

If you have any difficulty downloading the Reader, the Adobe site also offers customer support.

Viewing and printing

Once the Reader is installed on your computer, you can view and print forms and publications from the VAC web site: just click on the hyperlink that leads to the .pdf file. The Adobe Reader indicates the current page number and number of pages in the toolbar, located near the top of the Reader window.

If you wish to print a file, check its page size: some files should be printed on legal-size paper (8 1/2" x 14").

Once you have completed a form on-screen (if applicable) and verified its page size, click on the print icon in the Reader toolbar.

  • The "Print" dialog box is displayed.
  • If you wish to change the preset paper size, click the "Properties" button in the dialog box. In the second dialog box that opens, click the "Paper" tab and make a selection from the "Paper size" pick list. Click on "OK" to close the second dialog box.
  • To adjust the document to fit a different paper size, for example 8 1/2” x 11” letter-size paper:
    • In Adobe Reader 8.x, 9.x or X (10), make a selection from the "Fit to paper size" pick list.

Viewing and printing

If a PDF does not print correctly or does not print at all, you can try to resolve the problem by printing the PDF as an image.

To print a PDF as an image:

In Reader 8.X, 9.X and X (10):

  1. Click on the print icon. In the "Print" dialog box, click on "Advanced".
  2. Click to select the "Print As Image" checkbox. If needed, select a value using the "dpi" pick list. The default choice is "300 dpi".
  3. Click on "OK" to close the "Advanced Print Setup" dialog box, then click "OK" in the "Print" dialog box.


Downloading a file will allow you to save a copy of the form or publication on your computer. Once you have done this, you will be able to view and print the file without having to connect to the VAC web site. There are two ways to download a .pdf file onto your own computer using your Web browser.

  1. To download without opening the .pdf file:
    Right-click on the hyperlinked .pdf file name. In the menu that appears, select "Save Target As." Save the file on the desktop (default selection) or browse to save the file in the directory of your choice. Once the file is saved, you can open it with Reader.
  2. To download after opening the .pdf file:
    In the Reader toolbar, click on the "save a copy" icon. Save the file in the directory of your choice, then access it with your Reader.


If you have tried to access a .pdf form or publication (that is, the link you clicked has a file name ending in .pdf) and it did not open, ensure that Adobe Reader has been installed on your computer. If this software is not installed on your computer, read the general information section to find out how to get a free copy.

If you are having problems viewing, printing, or downloading .pdf files, you should modify your Reader preferences (Instructions to modify your Reader preferences for Adobe Reader 8.X, 9.X and 10.X.):

  1. Close your browser.
  2. Open Adobe Reader.
  3. Select the "Edit" menu and "Preferences" option.
  4. From the "Categories" list, select the "Internet" option.
  5. Under the "Web Browser Options" heading in this dialog box, make sure the "Display PDF in browser" checkbox is not selected (checkbox is blank).

Once you have changed the settings, the next time you click on a hyperlink to a .pdf form or publication, it will open in a separate browser window.


If you have changed your Reader preferences but are still having problems, you can download the .pdf file onto your own computer by following the download instructions.