NBER Help: Working Papers

Trouble Shooting Guide for NBER Working Papers

This page contains trouble-shooting tips for the following topics:

If you can't find a Working Paper in our database:

    Your search may not have been successful due to spelling variations, too restrictive a search, etc. If you think you might have misspelled an author's name, try using first names or searching by title, subject or other keyword. Or, try browsing papers by JEL class, papers by NBER program, or the latest releases.
    Are you sure the paper you are searching for is an NBER Working Paper? Many conference papers in NBER volumes were never issued as NBER Working Papers. If you know the paper was a conference volume, you may want to email confer@nber.org for more information. In some cases, conference papers become chapters in NBER books.

If you are eligible for free access, but aren't offered the full-text download:

    You may not have site authorization. Try downloading Working Paper W0000. This may take a few moments, and you may need to hit your browser's "refresh" button. If this fails, it generally means that you are not currently authorized for free access. Visit our authorization help page for more information.
    Your site may not support reverse name lookup. We can't determine your domain name if reverse name lookups don't work on your network's name server. This is especially likely to be the problem if you are eligible for free access because you are a resident of a developing country. Visit our authorization help page for more information.
    You may be using broad area Web caching. Some institutions access the Internet through cache engines that cover an entire ISP, multiple organizations or even entire countries. This poses a problem since it appears to our system as if the request for authorization is coming from the cache engine rather than your own computer. If the cache engine is not specifically authorized, then you will not be offered free downloads even if your computer or your network is authorized.
    Fortunately, this is not a problem if the cache engine follows HTTP 1.1 protocol. Under this protocol, the cache engine will include information on where the request originated, in this case your computer.
    If your cache engine does not follow HTTP 1.1 protocol, there are two possible solutions:

      Modify the ACL (Access Control List) files for your organization's cache engines so that they send requests directly to nber.org rather than the cache. This is a solution that can only be implemented by your Network Administrator.
      Click on "Information for subscribers and other expecting free downloads", which you will find on the bibliographic entry for the NBER Working Paper that interests you. Follow the instructions.

If you are offered a full-text download, but can't view the file:

    You must have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader installed to read NBER Working Papers, which are all in PDF format. Download the latest version from Adobe's Web site. You can test your installation by trying test.pdf.
    If Reader gives a "Colorspace Error" download a more recent version of Reader.
    If Adobe Reader does not load properly, try hitting 'Refresh'.
    Your browser may need to be updated. We recommend that you upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator.
    Your Internet connection may be too slow. Some NBER Working Papers are in PDF Image format. This means that the pages are stored as pictures, not text. We use this format because it is accurate, but it has the limitation of being bulky. While it is possible to download a 2 or 3 megabyte file over a standard modem line, it will take at least 10 minutes, and may time out if your Internet connection is problematic. We are trying to increase the proportion of Working Papers in PDF Text format, which are much smaller.
    If you get the message 'Document contains no data', this is a bug that can sometimes be overcome by using the browser back button, then the refresh button, then the forward button.
    If you are trying to save a file to your computer, it sometimes works better to right-click on the link to the file and choose "Save target as..." remembering to use the extension '.pdf' when naming the file.
    None of our PDF files are protected using the PDF password or lock facility. If you can't view a file, it isn't for this reason.
    If you are using the beta version of Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 and the paper appears as a blank page, you need to upgrade your browser. You then need to reinstall Adobe Reader. This problem is a bug that only occurs in the beta version. A workaround is to hit 'reload' or 'refresh' twice, but we strongly recommend upgrading if you are using the beta version.
    Adobe maintains a comprehensive list of possible problems and solutions at

    However, if you are still using Adobe Reader 3.x or earlier, you are urged to install the free upgrade before spending more time trouble shooting.

If you can view and print the file, but can't save it:

    If you have version 4 or later of Adobe Reader, you can open the paper and click on the disk icon to save the paper. With earlier version of Adobe Reader, you can go back in your browser to the page with the link to the PDF file and right click on it. This will bring up a menu from which you can choose 'save target as'.
    If you are trying to download the paper from a temporary URL you received in an email invoice, we recommend that you install version 4 of Adobe Reader and use the above method.
    If you have already saved the file to disk, but double clicking on the icon does not open it, try launching Adobe Reader and choosing 'Open' from the 'File' menu. Sometimes Adobe Reader can load a file from the 'File|Open' menu, even if double clicking of the file icon doesn't work.

If you can view the paper, but have problems printing:

    You can always try printing the file using another printer, another computer, or both. This is often easier than trying to diagnose the reason(s) for your printing problems.
    Your network administrator may have put a limit on the maximum size of files that can be printed. Note that the maximum size is expresses in bytes, not pages. Try printing http://papers.nber.org/test.pdf, a very short document that will help you determine if file size may be your problem.
    You may not have given the printer enough time. Try printing just one page, and if that works, allow more time for the full document.
    Try using the Adobe Acrobat Reader's print button instead of your browser's print button. The Adobe Acrobat print button is lower on the screen than the browser print button.
    Adobe Acrobat Reader may be running out of memory. Save the file to disk, shut down the computer, and try again using the file you saved to disk.
    You may be experiencing printer driver problems with Acrobat and Windows 95/98. Try downloading a new driver from your printer manufacturer's Web site, such as Hewlett-Packard or Epson.
    If you are using Adobe Acrobat Reader 4 and the paper looks fine on your monitor but not when printed, you may be experiencing a font substitution bug in Adobe Reader 4 which sometimes occurs with older PDF files. With the paper opened in Adobe Reader, choose 'Document Info' from the 'File' menu and then choose 'fonts' from the submenu. If the 'original font' differs from the 'used font' (especially if you see 'Times' being replaced by 'Times New Roman' or 'Helvetica' being replaced by 'Ariel'), you may need to either:
      open the paper with version 3.x of Adobe Reader.
      try printing the paper on another printer.

    Adobe maintains a comprehensive list of possible problems and solutions at However, if you are still using Adobe Reader 3.x or earlier, you are urged to install the free upgrade before spending more time trouble shooting.

If you purchased a Working Paper for email delivery, and have problems:

    If your mailbox is unable to hold large files or your email software is unable to handle mime encoded documents, use the temporary URL you received in the email invoice.
    If you did not receive an email invoice from us, make sure you left the correct email address and remembered to click on the "submit" button on the order form.

If a paper has missing pages, missing characters, missing figures or other production problems:

    Send an email to Inna Shapiro. A new PDF file can normally be prepared by the next business day. Please be specific about the defect - tell us the page number of any missing or problematic page(s).

Working Papers Technical Support
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