Home - Guide to Using PDFs on this Site


We chose to put most of the files on this site in PDF format for two main reasons: (1) in order to ensure that viewing/printing of these files would be standardized across the various different software configurations on different computers; and (2) the user-friendly search capabilities provided in the Adobe Acrobat Reader toolbar.


Due to differences between the versions and individual configurations of the Acrobat Reader software, users of this site may occasionally encounter difficulties accessing these files. Issues that might arise, along with suggested solutions, include:


Issue 1: Difficulty copying text from PDFs.


Text cannot be copied from PDF files using your browser.  However, it is possible to copy text from PDF files by using the "Text Select Tool" button on the Acrobat Reader toolbar (this button contains a capital T with a box to the right of it) and then the "Copy" button on the Reader toolbar.


Issue 2: PDF files will not open properly -- some or all of the text is distorted or does not appear.


The most likely cause of this problem is that you are using an older version of the Acrobat Reader.  People using version 3.0 will have trouble opening certain files created with version 4.0 or 5.0.  Most of the PDF files on our site have been created with these later versions.  The solution to this problem is simple -- go to the Adobe web site and download (for free) the latest version of the Acrobat Reader.


Issue 3: PDF files will not open at all.


When PDF files do not open at all, it is likely caused by a problem in the interaction of the Acrobat Reader and your browser software (for most people, this will be Internet Explorer or Netscape).  Generally, the solution to this problem is to exit your browser, and then re-open it.  If this does not work, try re-booting your computer.  As a general matter, if you have difficulty with the Acrobat Reader crashing when you try to open PDFs (this happens a lot with Windows ME), try opening the Reader before you open the browser.


Issue 4: Hit highlighting will not work on the search engine.


One of the most useful features on our site is the search engine we use for GATT/WTO/NAFTA cases and legal instruments (as well as for our DSCs).  By using the buttons on the Acrobat Reader toolbar, you can quickly jump between the highlighted search terms in the retrieved documents.  However, according to the maker of our search software, the configuration of Acrobat Reader 5.0 may prevent the hit highlighting feature from functioning.  If you experience this problem, you can enable hit highlighting by taking the following steps: 


(1) Open Acrobat Reader.

(2) Click Edit, then Preferences and select "Options" in the dialog box that appears.

(3) Un-check the "Certified Plug-ins Only" box.

(4) Close Acrobat Reader.


In addition, note that when you download the Acrobat Reader from Adobe's site, there is a checkbox on the download form that says "Include option for searching PDF files and accessibility support (longer download)".  If you don't check this box, you will not get hit highlighting.


Please feel free to contact us about these or any other issues related to PDFs that you come across.