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Downloading, Sharing, and Reading PDFs

Downloading PDFs

You may download PDF files from NAP either by logging in with your MyNAP account or as a guest, providing only your email address.

Creating an Account

To create an account, click on the Register link on the top right of any page on our site.

You can also create an account by clicking the "Download" button on any book page and then selecting "Create a Free MyNAP Account."

Downloading as a Guest

To download a PDF as a guest, click on the "Download" button on any book page, then select "Download as Guest." This will let you download by providing only an email address.

Sharing NAP PDF Files

All of the National Academies Press books (electronic and printed versions) on this website are copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences with all rights reserved. You may not distribute, post, or copy our work without written permission from the National Academies Press. Posting or distributing our PDFs not only violates our copyright, but it also could proliferate the sharing of non-authoritative versions of our reports.

We encourage sharing our books via approved means to help maximize the impact of our work. Please use the following methods to ensure that everyone receives up-to-date, authoritative files directly from the National Academies Press servers.

  • Point your colleagues to the book's unique URL, which you can copy from your browser's address bar.
  • Embed a widget for the book on your website using the "Embed this book" tool on the right of each book's catalog page.
  • Share the book with your colleagues via social media. Each book's catalog page has numerous share options available so that you can use the social media site of your choice.

Please see our Terms of Use for additional information.

For all other copyright inquiries, more information is available on our Request Rights and Permissions page.

About the PDF Files Offered at NAP

NAP is proud to be one of the only online bookstores that provides anyone in the connected world with free page-by-page access to the majority of our books. We began doing this in 1996.

As of June 1st 2011, almost all of our PDFs are offered free of charge to all online visitors.

There are a small number of older reports that never had PDF files and therefore, those reports are not available for download. In addition, there are contractual requirements that preclude NAP from offering some PDF files for free. Those include the series Nutrient Requirements of Domestic Animals and books in the Joseph Henry Press imprint. Reports from the Transportation Research Board are available in various formats on their site.


What is a PDF?

PDF is an acronym for Portable Document Format. The PDF file is designed to look the same on a screen and in print, regardless of what kind of computer or printer someone is using and regardless of what software package was originally used to create it. Although they contain the complete formatting of the original document, including fonts and images, PDF files are highly compressed, allowing complex information to be downloaded efficiently.

What software do I need to read a PDF?

Almost all modern operating systems will have a default program for opening up PDFs, such as Preview on Macs, that will open the file when you double-click on it. Additionally, most modern web browsers are capable of viewing PDFs, so you can drag and drop a PDF into the browser to read it.

If neither your operating system nor your browser is capable of opening PDFs, you can download Adobe Reader, which will allow you to open and read PDFs.

What's the best strategy if I'm on a very slow, bad line?

Try downloading individual chapters instead of the entire book. Or start the whole-book download at the end of the day, before you go to sleep, and let it download overnight.

When I download files, where on my computer will they be saved?

While different browsers may have different default locations for downloaded files, most modern browsers will save the file in a folder called Downloads. If you're unclear about where the files are being saved, look in the settings of your browser for the default download location.

On iPhones and iPads, choosing to download the PDF will open the PDF in a browser window, but will not save it automatically. Once the PDF has loaded in the browser window, tap somewhere in the page and you will see a button that says "Open In" in the top right on the iPad and the top left on the iPhone. Tap that button, and that will allow you to save the PDF to iBooks or any other app that will allow you to read PDFs, such as Amazon Kindle or Dropbox.

How do I view or print my downloaded files?

To view or print your downloaded files, you must have a PDF reader such as Adobe Reader or Mac Preview loaded on your computer. In Windows Explorer, Mac Finder, or other file management program, locate the drive and folder where you downloaded your files and double click on the filename. At that point, your default PDF-reading program will open and display your PDF file for viewing. To print the file, use the printing function in the application.

Why are some PDF files on your site searchable and others are not?

The majority of the PDF files on our site are fully searchable. They are called "native" PDF files and are created from source files. A few of the PDF files are created from pictures of the pages, and are called "scanned image" PDF files. These are very large and are not searchable. We create this type of PDF when no source files are available.

Still have questions?

Contact the Customer Service Department and we'll be happy to help you.