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October 13, 2006

Having Problems Printing PDFs from ScienceDirect (Elsevier) Journals?

Many people have recently reported having difficulties printing PDFs from ScienceDirect (Elsevier) journals.

In a nutshell:
These problems are only happening if you're trying to use the "Discover" link from within databases such as PubMed, Web of Science, etc., and are due to limitations in the Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you encounter this problem, do one of the following:

1) Save the PDF file to your desktop, and print from there.
2) Access the journal article from the link to the journal found in the Online Research Resource (the ORR). You will need to tunnel down to the article of interest.

The problem is temporary, and should be resolved by early November.

If you want to read more, here's the tale from ScienceDirect:

Dear Sir:

We are sorry that you are encountering problems with printing.

During the ScienceDirect Redesign, the PDF Address URL was extended from under 261 to (in most cases) 266 characters. This has unexpectedly created a conflict with Acrobat Reader 7 or greater.

The error "Could not start print job" is an Adobe Acrobat-generated error which occurs when printing a PDF in which the URL address is longer than 261 characters, from your browser. This is a bug associated with Acrobat Reader 6 and was fixed with a later release. For more information see

Unfortunately, this bug seems to have re-emerged with the latest version of Acrobat Reader.

The problem has been reported to Adobe. However, with the best interest of our customer in mind, we will implement a fix which will shorten the length of the URL to one manageable by Adobe Acrobat. This fix is expected to be implemented by the end of October, 2006.

In the meantime, you will still be able to print by first saving the PDF to your computer, and then printing it. (Right Click on the PDF link, then select Save Target As, or use the Save button in the open PDF window, to the top left.)

Please do not hesitate to contact Adobe Acrobat if you find the above problem unacceptable. to locate a support center in your area please go to

Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance or provide you with additional information on Elsevier products.

Respectfully yours,

James Hunt
ScienceDirect Electronic Support
360 Park Ave. South
New York, NY 10010
Toll-free telephone: +1 (888) 437-4636 (Option.1)
Local: +1 (212) 633-3730 (Option.1)
Web Site:

Posted by Katie Newman at October 13, 2006 2:20 PM