Using PDF Files (for Members of the MCS)
The Machine Cancel Society (MCS) offers a number of
documents in electronic formats. This web page describes how to
view the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files published
by the Society.
If you already have the desired PDF file on your computer, phone, or
tablet, you may skip the following paragraphs.
Download PDF File
If you see a direct link to a PDF file, such as
Frame 1 of Bill Barlow's Boston Exhibit,
there are a couple of steps you need to take to be sure
you have the file in the location you wish.
With many web browsers, if you click on such a link
as shown above, the browser
will download the PDF file, and activate a PDF Reader
program. The trouble is, this action only creates a TEMPORARY
file on your computer, which allows you to view the PDF file
inside your browser, but only as long as
the browser is running. Some embedded PDF Readers provide
an on-screen menu that allows you to save the temporary
PDF file for later off-line viewing.
We suggest instead that you download the file, by right-clicking
on the link, and using the "Save As" (or "save link as...") menu
item to immediatly store a copy of the document on your computer,
phone, or tablet.
Existing PDF File
By the time you get to this section, you should have one
or more ".pdf" files on your computer, phone, or tablet.
The PDF format is a standard, and is pretty much world-wide
in use. It was originally created by the Adobe Corporation.
When viewed, a PDF document appears on your screen as close
as possible to its appearance on the printed page. Note that
MCS documents are stored in PDF format as 8 1/2 x 11 inch pages,
not A4 or any other European standard.
On most systems, double-clicking on the PDF file should
bring up a viewer for the document. On many computer systems,
the reader is
the Adobe Reader program.
There are several other readers available for computers,
phones, and tablets. One example is the
Foxit reader, provided by a commercial company for
free. (WARNING: When downloading a program like this be sure you
are connected to the vendor website, and not just any
"free downloads" website, as some so-called
"free" sites can try to
load dangerous software into your computer or phone.)
Using PDF Readers
PDF is a powerful document system. For many documents you read, you
will not see all the features it offers. A lot depends on the
author or PDF creator.
One example of feature provided by the PDF
"bookmarks" within a file. To see an example, download
Frame 1 of Bill Barlow's Boston Exhibit.
you view this PDF document in a reader program,
you will see the pre-set "bookmarks" along the left side of
the display screen. These were put in by the Society
webmaster, to allow you to navigate to different
pages of the exhibit. If you don't see the bookmarks, try to enable
them with the "View" menu of your PDF program. Not every
PDF document will have these bookmarks.
Searching Within a Document
When the content of a PDF file is text, such as
the content listing for Society Auction 2015_04, you can search
the text of the PDF file, using the PDF reader program.
For instance, looking at this file, you can search for the
string "1918", and you should see all the lots
that are described as being used in 1918.
NOTE that text searching will not work with PDF
files made up of only images, such as the
Bill Barlow exhibit
pages described above. That PDF file contains only
page images, and no searchable text.
Many PDF readers offer a list of "thumbnails" along the
left of the display. These little images show each page
of the document. It may be easier for you to navigate around the
document, using these thumbnails, rather than using
the scroll mechanism of your computer.
PDF provides the ability to be interactive. That is, if
the author set up the PDF file correctly, there will be
clickable links within the document that not only
jump to a particular part of the document, but can also
jump to a web page in the internet. Again, existence of
this feature depends
on the author of the PDF document.
PDF reader programs allow you to "zoom in" on
the page. This feature is quite powerful, when used
with postal history documents, since zooming may
improve your view of an illustrated cover or card.
While zooming in may not improve the quality of
the scanned image, you may be able to discern
greater detail in the image, such as a postal marking,
machine cancel, censor marking, or the stamp(s) used.
Issues with Multiple Text Columns
It was noted above, that PDF provides a view of
the "printed page" on your computer screen. If
the original document was multi-column, it will
appear as multi-column on your computer screen.
Users of other electronic formats, such as the Amazon Kindle
(tm) see a continuous flow of the text in a document. When viewing
a multi-column PDF, however, you will have to stop reading
bottom of the current column, and reposition the
viewer to the top of the next column, in order
to continue reading. The top of the next column
might be on the next page.
Back to Document Formats Page
Main MCS Webpage
Contact information for the Society's President.
Updated 30 August, 2020
Page Layout Design Made Possible by:
Web pages designed and executed by
The Swanson Group