Skip to main content
Support - EBSCO Help

Reading EBSCOhost PDFs with Adobe Reader

In order to view PDFs (Portable Document File), your system will need to have a software program called Adobe Reader. Adobe Reader allows you to view, navigate and print PDF (Portable Document Format) files.

This program is free for download and can be found at the following website: .


Q. What are the minimum Adobe Reader requirements for EBSCOhost?

The minimum requirements for Adobe Reader for EBSCOhost are 8.1.2 or higher. However, newer versions of Reader include more capabilities than their predecessors.

If you notice an oddity with the display of a PDF on EBSCOhost, or your Adobe Reader version does not meet the minimum requirement of version 8.1.2, upgrades can be downloaded from Adobe Download.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact us at Technical Support.

Q. How do I search within PDFs in EBSCOhost databases?

EBSCOhost databases contain two types of PDFs: native, which are scanned by the publisher and posted to EBSCOhost as received, and non-native, which are scanned by EBSCO.

Native PDFs are searchable individually, via the searching function built into Adobe Reader. (On the Acrobat toolbar it looks like a pair of binoculars). It only looks through the text of the PDF that's currently open in Acrobat, which will appear highlighted.

EBSCOhost PDFs are searchable through EBSCOhost using the Also search within the full text of the articles expander.

Keyword searches work with both scanned and native PDFs, but only native PDFs allow you to search for words within an open PDF.

Q. How do I set up a Macintosh to properly open saved PDFs from EBSCOhost?

Users of Macintosh OSX may have trouble opening PDF files. They may be downloaded as .asp, after which the user will need to open Acrobat Reader, select File, Open then navigate to the document. Or, the .asp file may have to be renamed .pdf.

There is a more efficient method that will accomplish the same result. You can set the Macintosh to automatically open the PDF.

To set up a Macintosh to automatically open a PDF:

  1. Download a PDF onto your computer desktop.

  2. Select it by clicking on the downloaded file once.

  3. Go to File>Get Info.

  4. Under Open With select Preview (default) or Adobe Reader.

  5. Click on Change All so that it will always open with Preview or Reader automatically, without requiring that the above steps be followed each time.