Adobe Reader Frequently Asked Questions

Why did I receive an error when I opened the application package I downloaded OR received from another user, telling me I have an incompatible version of Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader?
You received the error page because your application package was opened with software that is not compatible with Grants.gov. The compatible version of Adobe Reader is required for viewing, editing and submitting a complete grant application package to Grants.gov. Any and all edits made to the Adobe Reader application package must be made with the compatible version of Adobe Reader. Grants.gov does not guarantee to support versions of Adobe Reader that are not compatible with Grants.gov.

PLEASE NOTE: Adobe Acrobat is compatible if it is comparable to the compatible version of Adobe Reader, click here to verify your Adobe Reader or Acrobat Standard or Professional software version is compatible with Grants.gov. For more information on Adobe Acrobat and Grants.gov compatibility, see FAQ below: Can I use Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional to complete and submit an Adobe Reader application package with Grants.gov?

The compatible version of Adobe Reader is available to download for free on the Grants.gov website.

Can I use Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional to complete and submit an Adobe-Reader application package with Grants.gov?
If you have already installed the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Professional software you have installed on your computer you can open, complete and submit an Adobe Reader application package to Grants.gov.

Adobe Acrobat software allows you to perform all tasks performed by the corresponding version of Adobe Reader software. The version number of Adobe Acrobat (Standard or Professional) software and Adobe Reader software that perform the same tasks have matching version numbers (i.e. Adobe Reader 8.1.1/8.1.2/8.1.3/9.0, parallels Acrobat Standard or Professional 8.1.1/8.1.2/8.1.3/9.0, viewing function). To complete a Grants.gov application package you must either install the Grants.gov compatible version of Adobe Reader for free or have an equivalent version of Acrobat Standard or Professional software already installed on your computer.

To check which version of Acrobat you are using go to the Help menu in Acrobat then select About Acrobat (version #), a text box will appear containing an Adobe logo with a number, under that information you will see another number, this is the version number of your software (i.e. 8.1.2).

Or click here to verify your Adobe Reader or Acrobat Standard or Professional Software version is compatible with Grants.gov.

If you have an earlier version of Acrobat or you are unsure which Acrobat or Adobe Reader software version you are using, you may download the Grants.gov compatible version of Adobe Reader for free and use it instead of Acrobat to complete your Grants.gov application package. Click here for instructions on using Adobe Reader instead of Acrobat without changing your computer settings.

I already have an earlier version of Adobe Acrobat Professional software on my computer and I am unable to update my Acrobat Professional Software at this time, what can I do?
If you are using an earlier version of Adobe Acrobat (Standard or Professional) (i.e Acrobat 8) but you are unable to update your software to the latest version; download the compatible version of Adobe Reader software from the Grants.gov website for free. The two programs may be downloaded and used separately, by following the steps below:

How to do this will vary with each user's installation of the Operating System.

Step 1: To check that you are using the compatible version of Adobe Reader, go to the Help menu in Acrobat then select About Acrobat (version #), a text box will appear containing an Adobe logo with a number, under that information you will see another number, this is the version number of your software (i.e. 8.1.2).

Step 2:

If using Windows:

  1. Verify the correct version of Adobe Reader is installed on your computer
  2. Close any web browsers, PDF documents or files that were opened using Acrobat
  3. Wait approximately 30 seconds
  4. Right click the Windows Start button
  5. Select Explore
  6. From the Windows Explore menu, click Tools, Folder Options
  7. Click on the tab "File Types"
  8. Locate application package (PDF) in the "Registered file types" and highlight it
  9. Click Change
  10. Choose "Select the Program from a List"
  11. Select Adobe Reader (compatible version) from the list
    Note: This list displays only as Adobe Reader version number "x", be sure you have verified version in Step 1 above
  12. Check "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file"
  13. Click Ok


If using Vista:

  1. Verify the correct version of Adobe Reader is installed on your computer
  2. Close any web browsers, PDF documents or files that were opened using Acrobat
  3. Wait approximately 30 seconds
  4. Click the Start button
  5. Select Control Panel
  6. Select Programs
  7. Under Default Programs, select "Make a file type always open in a specific program"
  8. Locate PDF in the "Set Associations" window, and select it
  9. Click Change Program button
  10. Choose "Select the Program from a List"
  11. Select Adobe Reader (compatible version) from the list
    Note: This list displays only as Adobe Reader version number "x", be sure you have verified version in Step 1 above
  12. Check "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file"
  13. Click Ok


If using MAC:

  1. Verify the correct version of Adobe Reader is installed on your computer
  2. Close any web browsers, PDF documents or files that were opened using Acrobat
  3. Wait approximately 30 seconds
  4. Click the Finder button
  5. Select and click on a PDF file
  6. Select "Get Info" under the File Menu
  7. Use "Open With:" to change the default application
  8. Locate Adobe in the programs list and select it
  9. Click on Change All button

Check your computer's settings, make sure that the compatible version of Adobe Reader, is set as your default application viewer.

For instructions on setting Adobe Reader as your default viewer, please review the FAQ: How can I ensure I am using Adobe Reader to work on my application package?
If you are sure that the compatible version of Adobe Reader is set as your default application viewer, check the settings within Adobe Reader and set www.grants.gov as a trusted website by completing the following steps:

  1. Open Adobe Reader
  2. Go to "Preferences" option
  3. Select "Trust Manager" option
  4. In the "Internet access from PDF files outside the web browser" option select "Change Settings"
  5. Select the option "Let me specify list of allowed websites"
  6. Enter www.grants.gov and select "Allow"

Once you have verified the preferences described above are set, submit the completed application package.

What are some of the common errors received when using unsupported Adobe Reader versions and Adobe Acrobat Professional?
If you have received one of the following error messages, please verify that the package has not been opened or edited with any software other than the compatible versions of Adobe Reader.

Error Message 1: Error: org.xml.sax.SAXParseException:

Error Message 2: "Schema Validation Error"

In most cases these errors indicate the form was opened with an unsupported software such as: Adobe Professional, an incompatible version of Adobe Reader, or another software.

Options to fix:
The applicant should download a NEW package then open, complete and submit it only using a compatible version of Adobe Reader.

Grants.gov requires the use of a compatible version of Adobe Reader. Grants.gov application packages cannot be used with any other Adobe product at this time.

How can I ensure I am using Adobe Reader to work on my application package?

Option 1: Save the file first before using a compatible version of Adobe Reader to open it.

  1. Verify the version of the Adobe Reader software you have installed on your computer. If you have multiple versions of Adobe Reader, be sure you are using the Grants.gov compatible version of Adobe Reader.
  2. From the Grants.gov website, save the application package to your computer. If you are using Windows, you would do this by right clicking the application package link, and selecting "Save Target As" be sure to remember where you save the file. If you are using MAC, you would do this by right clicking the application package link, and selecting "Save File As" under the File menu. Be sure to remember where you save the file.
  3. Run the correct version of the Adobe Reader software.
    For Windows: start, programs, Adobe Reader
    For MAC: applications, Adobe Reader
  4. From the Adobe Reader menu open the saved application package by selecting File, then Open and choosing the application package saved on your computer.

Option 2: Set your computer's default to use the correct version of Adobe Reader for opening all files with a PDF extension.

Please note: This option will cause your computer to always use Adobe Reader to open files having a PDF filename extension.

How to do this will vary with each user's installation of the Operating System.

  • If using Windows:
    1. Verify the correct version of Adobe Reader is installed on your computer
    2. Right click the Windows Start button
    3. Select Explore
    4. From the Windows Explore menu, click Tools, Folder Options
    5. Click on the tab "File Types"
    6. Locate PDF in the "Registered file types" and highlight it
    7. Click Change
    8. Choose "Select the Program from a List"
    9. Select Adobe Reader (Grants.gov compatible version) from the list
      Note: This list displays only as (Grants.gov compatible version) be sure you have verified version in Step 1 above
    10. Check "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file"
    11. Click Ok
  • If using Vista:
    1. Verify the correct version of Adobe Reader is installed on your computer
    2. Click the Start button
    3. Select Control Panel
    4. Select Programs
    5. Under Default Programs, select "Make a file type always open in a specific program"
    6. Locate PDF in the "Set Associations" window, and select it
    7. Click Change Program button
    8. Choose "Select the Program from a List"
    9. Select Adobe Reader (Grants.gov compatible version) from the list
      Note: This list displays only as Adobe Reader (Grants.gov compatible version) be sure you have verified version in Step 1 above
    10. Check "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file"
    11. Click Ok
  • If using MAC:
    1. Verify the correct version of Adobe Reader is installed on your computer
    2. Click the Finder button
    3. Select and click on a PDF file
    4. Select "Get Info" under the File Menu
    5. Use "Open With:" to change the default application
    6. Locate Adobe in the programs list and select it
    7. Click on Change All button

Why am I getting a security error when I try to download Adobe Reader?
If you receive a security error while trying to download Adobe Reader, you may not have security permissions to install new programs on your system. If that is the case, you should contact your system administrator. 

I downloaded the package and filled all the fields and clicked "Check Package for Errors" button, it gives me a "Validation Passed" message, but why isn't the "Save & Submit" being enabled?
To enable the "Save & Submit" button first "Save" your package and then "Save & Submit" will become enabled.

Why can't I download the Application Viewers?
Check with your system administrator to make sure that you have the security permissions to install new programs on your system.

Why can't I download the compatible version of Adobe Reader software?
If you are not able to download the compatible version of Adobe Reader software (required in order to view, edit and submit an application to Grants.gov), check with your system administrator to make sure that you have the security permissions to install new programs on your system.

Why doesn't the scroll bar show on my Adobe Reader package?
Adobe Reader does not show vertical scroll bar in Mandatory and Optional document boxes. Simply click within document box and it shows the scroll bar.