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1 Dec 2016 - 7 Feb 2018
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JSTOR Support
How to download a PDF in nearly every circumstance
August 28, 2016
You're writing a paper about vampires and through your amazing research skills have stumbled upon the perfect article on JSTOR. This article is sure to put the finishing touch on your essay. But, wait, what’s this? The download button has a price next to it! 
Before you set your computer on fire ask yourself this question: am I a member of an institution that participates in JSTOR? 
How can I tell if I'm logged in?
On the right side of your screen you should see a designation statement that tells you if you are logged into JSTOR through an institution (it's in a box labelled 'Access'). You can learn all about this statement and how it works on our "How to see if you're really logged into JSTOR" page.  
If you are, or think you might be, a student at a participating institution but you aren’t currently signed in, you likely need to sign in through your institution before downloading the article. You can learn about logging into your institution in our "Student and Affliated User" section.  
Once you are logged in, you'll see the “Download PDF” button. Clicking it will immediately open our Terms and Conditions window. You will need to click on "I agree" to get your PDF. 
I clicked the 'Download PDF' button but nothing's happening!
The PDF document should open in a new window automatically. Once it has opened, you should be able to select the print icon in the upper left hand side of the page. If your PDF doesn't open, try right clicking on the "Download PDF button" and either:
  • saving it to your desktop by choosing "save target as"
  • or opening it in a new window.
If your PDF persists in not opening, make sure your pop-up blocker isn’t blocking the new window from, well, popping up. Luckily we have a post on how to change your browser settings to allow pop-ups from the JSTOR website
You may also need the most recent version of Adobe Reader to download documents. This software is available for free on Adobe's website
But I logged In and the download button still doesn't work!
What happens if you're logged into your institution and the download button is still inactive? Don’t worry!
If you’ve logged in through your institution, but the download button is unavailable, this likely means that, while your institution does have access to JSTOR, it doesn't have access to the article you want. Different institutions subscribe to different parts of JSTOR and not every institution has access to everything. 
So I've logged in, I can't download my PDF, but I still want knowledge!
If you are not a member of an institution or if your institution does not have access to the article you want, you have a few options. Look at the blue buttons to the right hand side of the article:
  • If there's a that button says “Download” and lists a price in parentheis, you may download the article for the price listed. 
  • If there's a button that says “Read Online Free”, you can add this item to your shelf using our Register & Read program.
Some articles may have both or only one of these options. Each option has its own process that you can learn about in our "Independent Researcher" section
This still isn’t working! I don’t see either of those options!
Some articles may not be available for purchase or through Register & Read. These will be missing the above buttons and will only have 'Journal Info' and 'Cite This Item.'
Unfortunately, this means that the article is not available through JSTOR with any method other than institutional access. But you still have options! Try one of these things:
  • You may be able to request the article through Inter-library Loan at your local library.
  • Even if you are not affiliated with an institution, you may be able to use JSTOR at a participating library that is open to the public. Our license agreement with libraries allows for use of the collection by anyone present in the library, whether or not they are affiliated with that institution.
  • You may be able to obtain a reprint of the article directly from the publisher of the journal. 
So go forth, get your article, and be your best, most magical researcher. 

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