Help: Document Formats

People use many different browsers and many different versions of browsers to access our site. Each has different capabilities and occasionally, different problems.

To ensure that the largest number of people can find and reproduce a form that works with their browser, ECSI is providing forms in multiple formats. Each format has different features and down sides. We will attempt to explain the formats and their intended use below.

For any format except PDF: When you print the form, make sure you have headings and footings turned off, and make your printer margins the minimum your printer supports (usually 0.25"). Headers, footers or margins provided with your browser may make pages print slightly different so they may not fit on the page. Even if they don't fit, these forms are still acceptable to ECSI.

A PDF document is capable of producing an exact copy of the document when printed. To achieve this goal, you must have the Adobe Acrobat Reader plug-in loaded. You can download this plug-in from Adobe's web site. If you experience problems with the PDF forms, look at the PDF Document FAQ. Frequently this can resolve your problem.

PDF documents usually work the best and supported by a large number of versions of the most popular browsers.

PDF Fill-in
These are the same as the PDF documents above, except they allow you to fill out certain areas of the form prior to printing. The main advantage is that you get a nice, readable, pre-printed form. To use the PDF Fill-in documents, you will need at least version 4.0 of the Acrobat plug-in.

Plain HTML
Plain HTML is by far the most common format of documents on the web. Straight HTML should work with every browser and version. Unfortunately, HTML does not make allowances for printing. The forms you print will rarely look like the originals. Although they will not look the same, ECSI will accept these forms as long as you complete the necessary information.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a new extension to the HTML specification. CSS can specify position information and can be used to create a fairly good representation of the original document. CSS is supported in Internet Explorer version 4.0 and beyond, and, in Netscape versions 4.0 and above.

HTML Layers
Layers are Netscape's version of formatting. If you are using Netscape and the CSS documents do not look right, try the Layers version. Often times you will receive an acceptable form with either CSS or Layers.

This document format is simply a scanned image of the form. The size of the form is almost always substantially larger than the other formats. If none of the other formats works properly, this may be your only hope. If you are on a slow, dial-up line, transmission times can be four to five (or more) times longer than the other formats.