South Carolina Arts Commission

South Carolina Arts Commission

How to Use PDFs

Using a PDF file requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader (8 or higher). If you don’t have a copy of Acrobat Reader, download the latest version from Adobe’s web site. It’s free and safe, and installation is simple.

Using PDFs

Once you have installed Adobe Acrobat, you are ready to use PDFs. When you click on a website’s link to a PDF, it will open either in your browser or in Acrobat Reader (we recommend the latter; check the “Troubleshooting” section of this page to learn more).

  • To fill out a PDF form online, move through the document by clicking the mouse in an open blank (for vertical and horizontal movement) or by using the Enter or Tab keys to move between fields.
  • Limit your response to each item to the space provided.
  • We suggest that you experiment with the forms in advance of the application deadline. Because this is a form, it does not have all of the features of word-processing (e.g., you cannot format your text with bold or italics, and you cannot use the spelling check feature).  Editing lengthy amounts of text can be cumbersome in this format. You may find it easier to compose and edit any large blocks of text first in a separate document, and then to use the copy and paste function on your computer to place the text into the form. NOTE: The application forms are protected documents. The fonts and fields are locked so that they cannot be changed.

Not all PDF forms are “fillable.” If you are not able to type in your answers, you may need to print the form and fill it out by hand.

  1. Choose File and Print, or click on the Printer icon on the Acrobat Reader toolbar.
  2. In the Print dialog box, make sure that the “Print as image,” “Shrink oversized pages to paper size” and “expand small pages to paper size” options are checked. Choose the printer you want to print to, then click OK; the form will print out on your printer.

If the grant for which you are applying has a paper submission process (as opposed to an online submission), the completed application materials must be printed and mailed or hand-delivered to the South Carolina Arts Commission.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

It stands for Portable Document Format. PDFs work on both Windows and Macs. PDFs are you used to deliver all kinds of forms on the web, include those IRS tax forms.

Yes, the latest versions of the free Acrobat Reader will allow you to save the information you enter into the form.

If you are using an older version, you will not be able to save; we recommend updating to the latest version of Acrobat Reader.

If you continue to use an older version and cannot save, you will need to print a copy for the S.C. Arts Commission and a copy for yourself. Tip: If you can’t complete the entire form at one time, you can do a page at a time and print each page as you finish.

  1. Right click on the title link or go to your browser’s File menu.
  2. Select “Save Target As” (Internet Explorer), “Save Link As” (Netscape), or “Save Page As” (Firefox) when presented with a menu. (If your mouse is configured for left handed operation, use the left mouse button).
  3. Use Adobe Acrobat Reader to open the file directly after downloading.


Each web browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.) has a built-in PDF reader/viewer, which automatically opens any online PDF in the browser, instead of opening it with the free Acrobat Reader. There are numerous difficulties with these browser PDF viewers, and they change often.

We recommend always using Acrobat Reader to open PDF files. You can set your browser to do this automatically; visit the Adobe website’s page on this topic to learn how. Many of the troubleshooting issues listed here can be resolved by opening the PDF in Reader instead of in your browser.

Note: The Chrome browser’s built-in PDF viewer no longer supports Adobe PDF documents. We suggest either using a different browser, or disabling the Chrome PDF viewer using these instructions >>

PDF files are large and take longer to load than a standard web page. Give it a little extra time. If you’ve waited and still have a blank screen, you may have a problem with your Acrobat Reader. Download and install the latest version. If you’re still having problems, you may need to delete your current version, then download and install the new version.

It sounds like you are using an earlier version of Acrobat Reader. Download and install the latest version. If you’re still having problems, you may need to delete your current version, then download and install the new version.

Did you install it? After you download Acrobat Reader, you need to follow the instructions on Adobe’s site for installing it on your computer.

Verify that you have a current version of Adobe Acrobat Reader:

  • To determine your version of Adobe Acrobat Reader, open Adobe from your desktop or start menu, click on help, and then About Acrobat Reader.
  • If you have a version of Acrobat Reader less then 8.0, we recommend you update to the latest version.

In the print dialog box, make sure that the “Print as image” option is checked.

There may be a compatibility issue between Adobe Reader and your browser. If so, try opening the PDF in Adobe Reader, instead of within your browser. There are several ways to do this:

  1. When you try to open the PDF file on our website, notice if you are given the option to view or open it with Adobe Reader; if so, choose that option.
  2. If you are not given that option, try saving the PDF to your computer.  (For help, refer to “How do I save the whole PDF to my computer?” in the Frequently Asked Questions section of this page.) Then, open Adobe Reader on your computer, and try opening the saved copy of the file.
  3. You can change your browser default settings, so that any time you open a PDF, it will automatically open in Adobe Reader, instead of in your browser. The steps for changing that default setting vary by browser; visit the Adobe website for browser-specific instructions.
  4. If you are using Firefox, you may also need to go to your Tools menu, choose Options, then choose Applications. Look for “Adobe Acrobat” items in the Content Type column. In the Action column, for each item, choose “Use Adobe Acrobat.”

If you continue to have problems, we’ll be glad to try emailing the PDF to you. We can also send you the PDF by postal mail. (If it’s a form, you’ll need to find a typewriter as you won’t be able to complete the application on your computer.)

For additional information, please contact the Grants Team ( | 803.734.8695).