Viewing PDFs

A PDF (Portable Document Format) file is an electronic image of a document. PDF captures formatting information from a variety of desktop publishing applications, making it possible to send formatted documents and have them appear on the recipient's monitor or printer as they were intended. To view a PDF you must have a PDF reader.

An open source application called xpdf is included with Red Hat Linux. To see a list of menu options, right-click inside the screen. The toolbar at the bottom has navigational tools that let you move backward and forward through the document, as well as standard zoom, print, and find tools. The xpdf man page provides useful information on the xpdf options. To view the xpdf man page, at shell prompt type man xpdf.

To view a PDF with xpdf:

  1. In GNOME, go to Main Menu => Programs => Graphics => xpdf.

    In KDE, go to Main Menu => Graphics => xpdf.

    You can also launch xpdf prompt by typing xpdf at a shell prompt.

  2. Right-click in the xpdf screen to display a list of options.

  3. Select Open to display a list of files.

  4. Select the PDF file you want to view and click on Open.


A quick way to convert PostScript to PDF is to open a shell prompt and type:

ps2pdf output.pdf

Type man ps2pdf at a shell prompt to view the man page on the ps2pdf tool. This gives you information on a variety of conversion options.

Another popular PDF viewer is Adobe Acrobat Reader. While it is not included with Red Hat Linux, you can download it free of charge at