Monroe County Library System NY
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What is Adobe Acrobat PDF?
“PDF” stands for “Portable Document Format”. Adobe Acrobat PDF was invented by Adobe Systems as a means of converting texts and images for use on computers.

What are the advantages of using PDF for digitized texts?
Using PDF format allows files to be accessible to the public without additional cost. You can
download your free copy of Adobe  Acrobat Reader.

PDF files are also designed for printing, and can be saved to disk or to a drive on your own computer. 

You can use Acrobat tools to work with the document in a variety of ways, including changing the viewing size for your own comfort, using the hand tool to manipulate large pages on the screen, adding notes, copying text and images, etc. 

Most of our files also have the capability of being searchable by keyword (also called OCR for Optical Character recognition). This is an extremely helpful feature for researchers. 

PDF files capture the look of the original documents, which is important for the historical items in Digital Collections.

What are the disadvantages of using PDF for digitized texts?
PDF files may take a longer time to download than the typical html-format web page. Occasionally, very large files may freeze your browser.

Why does it take so long for some documents to download?
We have tried to keep file sizes small and have optimized them for fast web viewing. Some files, such as those which were created from pamphlets or leaflets, are by their nature very small and you should have no problem downloading them. Others, however, are very large. For example, the 1930 Rochester City Directory in its original format is almost 2100 pages long. Its file size in PDF format is almost 170 megabytes.

We have tried to break down these largest files into smaller segments that should be easier to download. Even so, some items, such as a 450-page book, may take some time to download. It is common for some items to take 5 or 10 minutes to download.

Many factors are beyond our control, including your computer’s capacity, your connection speed, the time of day and the general level of Internet traffic at the time you are searching. If you are searching during the late afternoon hours, you may want to switch to the time when it is evening on the East Coast of the United States.

Is there anything I can do to decrease the time a file takes to load?
You can decrease the time it takes to load larger PDF files by saving them directly to your computer, and opening them using Adobe Reader. Here are the recommended steps for Windows XP users:


  1. Right-click on the file you'd like to save
  2. Select "save target as" and indicate where on your computer you'd like to save the file
  3. Open Adobe Reader
  4. Open the newly saved file


How do I learn the file size of a document before I try to download it?
The file size and type are listed in each item’s catalog record.

How can I make the most of using the PDF documents in Digital Collections?
If you are planning to do a lot of research with an item and plan to return to it more than once, we recommend downloading  the file to your computer so that you can work with it offline at your convenience.

  Monroe County WebsiteCity of Rochester Website