About the various file formatsThe documents in the COSMOS document library are available in various file formats suitable for various purposes. Turn results, including graphical maps, are also available in different file formats to enable you to view and print turn results in the highest possible quality for your platform. This page attempts to list the pros and cons of the various formats and gives you pointers to which software you need to view and/or print the files.
The following formats are used for COSMOS turn results and documents:
Portable Document Format (PDF)All documents, text reports and maps are available in this format. Maps can be had either grey-scale for black and white printing or in colour for on-screen viewing and colour printing.
PDF gives you the highest quality of the document and is suitable both for viewing and printing from a PDF viewer. The Acrobat viewer comes with a plug-in for popular browsers so you can view and print PDF directly from your web browser. The physical lay-out of a PDF document is exactly what the designed intended and is identical whether you view it on screen or print it. You can zoom in on details on e.g. a map without the result becoming grainy.
PDF documents from this site are divided into pages corresponding to real physical paper pages. This means that if you intend to print the document you should get a version which was made for the paper format you use. All documents are available either for A4 paper (European standard) or US letter paper.
Some documents (like rule books) are available in two PDF formats: One with hypertext references and one without.
The hypertext version contains clickable coloured links in the text for easy navigation when browsing the document on the screen, e.g. in the table of contents, in the index and for cross references. This format is superior to the HTML version as it looks a lot better and has exactly the same pages as the printed version. You can print out the hypertext version but the coloured links tend to be dimmer than the rest of the text when printed on non colour printers.
The non-hypertext PDF version is intended for printing. There are no hypertext references and thus the files are smaller and all text is black.
PostScript gives you the highest quality of the document and is suitable for printing on a PostScript printer or viewing with a PostScript previewer. If you do not have a PostScript printer (these are mostly found as network printers in office environments) you can probably still print PostScript files from a PostScript previewer.
The look of the PostScript version of a document is completely identical to the look of the PDF version (and in fact the PDF is generated from the PostScript). For most documents the PDF file is smaller than the PostScript file in raw format, but after compression the PostScript file is always the smaller of the two. Game maps are always smaller in PostScript than in PDF (large maps very markedly so).
PostScript files do not have hypertext references and thus for on-screen browsing you are probably better off with the PDF versions. If download size is important for you, you should consider getting compressed PostScript rather than PDF, especially for printing.
HTML files can be viewed with (and printed from) your favourite web browser.
The HTML versions of e.g. rule books are intended only for on screen viewing, not for printing, as cross references, table of contents and the index become unusable when printed from HTML (get PDF or PostScript when you need a printed copy). Turn reports can be printed from HTML but look a lot better in PDF or PostScript (especially the map notes can be difficult to decipher in HTML as the all-important indentation is less pronounced in HTML than in the other formats).
Plain text files can be viewed with your favourite editor or text file viewer (even your web browser). Usually they can also be sent directly to the printer for printing. Make sure you use a fixed pitch font when viewing or printing a text file (i.e. all the characters are equally wide and a space is the same width as a printed character).
Only get text files if there is absolutely no alternative which works for you! A lot of information is lost in conversion from the richer formats. Only if you are writing a program to automatically extract information from your turn reports may this format be the best choice.
GIF images is the oldest web standard for graphics and thus any web browser and almost any image viewing program can display and print them.
The great disadvantage with GIF compared to PDF or PostScript is that GIF is a raster format and thus zooming in on part of an image does not reveal more detail but merely makes the image grainy. GIF files of sufficient resolution for printing are very large and thus may take a long time to download, depending on your connection. Get PDF or PostScript instead!