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Help using our electronic forms

How to download and use Adobe Reader

To fill in and save our electronic forms you need a programme called Adobe Reader installed on your computer. 

We use Adobe Reader because it works on all modern home computers and it’s free to install and use.

1. Make sure you’re using the latest version of Adobe Reader

If you already have Adobe Reader you need to make sure it’s the latest version or the form may not work properly. Adobe Reader is updated regularly, and even if you have a new laptop, PC or Mac, it might not be running the latest version. 

To check open Adobe Reader and click on ‘Help’ on the menu bar (or if you have a Mac click on ‘About Adobe Reader’ on the Adobe Reader label on the menu bar).

Then visit www.get.adobe.com/uk/reader to see if it is the latest version number.

2. If you haven’t got Adobe Reader installed or need to update it on your computer

Visit www.get.adobe.com/uk/reader and click on ‘Download Adobe Reader’. Follow the instructions that appear. You may be asked what type of computer you have as there are different versions for PC and Mac.

3. Downloading and saving the form

Some computers are set up by default to use different software to open electronic forms. These programmes can stop the form working properly, so make sure you always use Adobe Reader to open the form.

Download the form first (without opening it in your browser) and save it directly to your own computer: Right click the link to the form (or press control and then click for Macs) Select the ‘Save Target as’ option in Internet Explorer, ‘Save file’ in Firefox or ‘Save link as’ in Safari. 

4. Filling in the form

  • On a PC open Adobe Reader by using a shortcut on your screen or you may need to click ‘Start’, then ‘All programmes’, then ‘Adobe Reader’. On a Mac open Adobe Reader from your application folder.
  • Click on the ‘File’ menu, select ‘Open’ and then find the form you’ve just downloaded.
  • If you then click on ‘Open’ the form should open up correctly
  • You can now start to answer the questions.

Every time you open up the form again remember to open Adobe Reader first and then open the form. That way you can be sure you’re using the right software.

If you are an Apple Mac user, make sure you open and edit our form using Adobe Reader and not Preview, which is often the default application for Adobe documents, as Preview will not save any changes you make.

Make sure you are using Adobe Reader rather than Preview by:

1.    Open Adobe Reader from your application folder first.
2.    Within Reader, go to 'File', then 'Open', and then find and open your form.
3.    Now fill in and save the form.

5. Type directly into our form

If you type your answers into a different document and then try to copy it into our form you may find that unusual characters or bullets points change. Also, some of our questions have word or character limits and any spaces or line breaks may affect whether all your answer will fit in.

So we suggest you type your answers directly into our form. If you do decide to type your answers in another document and then copy them across we suggest you just use plain text. You can then make any changes once you’ve copied your answer into our form. 
When you’ve finished working on the form, click ‘File’ then ‘Save’ before closing the form and Adobe Reader.

6. We’re interested in the content, not how good it looks

We’ll assess your application on what you tell us about your project in the form, not on how well you’ve presented your answers. So please make sure you use clear language that is easy for us to understand. If you find you’ve not been able to set out your answers as well as you’d like to, please don’t worry, as this won’t affect your chances.


If you follow these top tips our forms should work properly. But if you have problems please get in touch and we’ll do our best to help. Phone 0845 4 10 20 30 or email general.enquiries@biglotteryfund.org.uk
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