Skip to Main Content

PDF Help: General Tips

General PDF Tips

Most PDF issues can be fixed by downloading and installing the latest version of Adobe Reader.  Even if you have the latest version, you may find that reinstalling Adobe Reader will fix the issue.  

Mac users should view the PDF in Safari instead of Firefox.


A potential solution to PDF issues is to view articles or documents in non-PDF format. Often, a database will allow you to view the full text of an article in either HTML or PDF format. 

An article in HTML format has been reformatted to display nicely on a web page.  It may not include page numbers, which makes citing the article difficult.

An article in PDF format has the exact same formatting as the print version.  PDF format includes page numbers and is much easier to cite.

For help with APA citations, see the Writing Center's website.

PDF Text is Garbled or Unreadable

When you open or print a PDF, the article text may appear garbled and unreadable.

First, verify that you are using Adobe Reader or alternative PDF readers to open or print the PDF.  If you try to open or print PDFs in Microsoft Word or other word processing software the PDF text will not format correctly.

If you are using Adobe Reader, try saving the PDF to your computer using the alternative save method.  Then, open the saved PDF and print, if desired.

Alternative PDF Readers

Below are links to programs that will allow you to view PDFs without using Adobe Reader.  Please note that these alternate PDF readers are not supported by Walden.  Use these PDF readers only as a last resort.



  • Preview (This application is pre-installed on your Mac)