We have made documents available on this site in a variety of formats. This page explains what they are and how to view them.
Document Types Covered in this Article
- PDF Files
- OpenOffice Files (OpenDocument Text, OpenDocument Presentation, OpenDocument Spreadsheet)
- MS Office Files (Word Documents, Powerpoint Presentations and Excel Spreadsheets)
- Rich Text Format (RTF) Files
- Comma Separated Values (.csv)
- ZIP files
Many of the documents on this site can be downloaded in PDF format. This is usually the best option if you want to print it out. Your computer may well already have a PDF viewer installed - if not, there are several free viewers which you can download. PDF files are generally not suitable for editing.
If you don't have a PDF viewer/reader installed, download any one of the following:
- Adobe Reader is a free download. This is available for Linux, Windows and Mac from here.
- GhostView/GV is a free download. It will display both PostScript and PDF files. The Windows version is called GSView, the Linux version is called GV and the Mac version is called MacGSView. They are all available from here. GV is also Open Source.
There are also other PDF viewers available, such as KPDF (for Linux).
OpenOffice Files (OpenDocument Text, OpenDocument Presentation, OpenDocument Spreadsheet)
A number of files are made available in OpenDocument format. This is an open standard which is currently best supported by the OpenOffice suite. OpenOffice is a free, open source, office suite. It is available as a free download for Windows, Linux and Mac from www.openoffice.org.
OpenDocument files are suitable for both editing and printing, although if you only want to print it's usually best to use the PDF.
Microsoft Office Files (Word, Powerpoint, Excel)
A number of files are made available in MS Word, Powerpoint or Excel formats. These are suitable for both editing and printing, although if you only want to print it's usually best to use the PDF.
To edit or print a MS Office file you will need a copy of MS Office. If you don't already have this, you'd need to buy one from a computer shop. You might prefer to download the free OpenOffice instead.
Rich Text Format (RTF) Files
A number of documents are also made available in Rich Text Format. These files end in .rtf
Comma Separated Values (.csv) Files
A .csv file is a plain text file containing a spreadsheet. Each row is on a line, with a comma between the cells.
CSV files are used because any spreadsheet program (including OpenOffice and Excel but also many others) should open a .csv file.
ZIP files are compressed archives containing several files. This has two advantages: firstly that the file is compressed and so is a smaller download. Secondly, it allows us to package several files together for easier download. You have to unzip the file and you then have the original file(s) which should be viewed according to their type (see above).
To unzip a file in windows you need a zip program installed. You can buy WinZip or download the free, open source 7-Zip. Once you have the program you can usually just double-click on the zip file. Otherwise simply go to 7-Zip or WinZip and choose File then Open to open it.
In Linux simply type