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FileOpen FAQ's

Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked FileOpen questions.

FileOpen Questions

  1. What is FileOpen?
  2. How do I download FileOpen?
  3. How do I activate FileOpen once I’ve downloaded it?
  4. What alternative electronic delivery options do you offer?
  5. I have installed the FileOpen plug-in and can open the test document but I cannot open my British Library documents
  6. When I click on my document link, there is a long pause and then I see an error screen advising me to contact Customer Services

General Electronic Delivery Questions

  1. How do I receive the document?
  2. How many times can I print the document?
  3. How much time do I have to download and print the document?
  4. Can I forward the document?
  5. Can I save documents on my hard drive

1. What is FileOpen?

FileOpen is a free, simple safe and fully compliant Digital Rights Management (DRM) tool that is compatible with every version of Adobe Reader from version 4 and is the most popular DRM tool for Document Supply companies around the world.

2. How do I download FileOpen?

  • FileOpen documents are read using Adobe Reader version 4 or above
  • Before this can happen, a plug-in must be installed into Adobe Reader
  • The plug-in is available from http://plugin.fileopen.com. The plug-in must be installed on all computers you wish to use to read British Library documents delivered via the FileOpen service. You may need to co-ordinate with your IT department to do this.  Please note that if you upgrade your copy of Adobe Reader, you may need to re-install the plug-in afterwards.
  • Many customers have restricted access to certain websites, we advise you  request your IT department allow access to the FileOpen server on the address http://fileopen.bl.uk (document delivery and test document)
  • In order to receive FileOpen documents in the future, your IT department should ensure visits to http://fileopen.bl.uk are allowed.  Please also ask them to ensure access to ports 80 and 8008 on this address is allowed.  This is a standard port and most firewalls should allow it.

Full download instructions (Click to PDF)

3. How do I activate FileOpen once I’ve downloaded it?

To activate your FileOpen account, simply contact customer-services@bl.uk, confirm you are able to download our test document and provide us with the account number(s) (format 12-3456) you would like to receive documents delivered via FileOpen.

You will receive confirmation that you have been registered for FileOpen within 48 hours. All documents ordered for electronic delivery will then automatically be fulfilled through this service.

4. What alternative electronic delivery options do you offer?

The British Library also offers two other electronic delivery methods - SED via Adobe Digital Editions and Ariel

5. I have installed the FileOpen plug-in and can open the test document but I cannot open my British Library documents.

You may not have been registered for the service correctly. Please contact Customer Services with your account number and they will ensure you are properly registered to receive FileOpen documents and issue any necessary re-sends.

6. When I click on my document link, there is a long pause and then I see an error screen advising me to contact Customer Services.

This is a very rare occurrence and indicates a problem with the document being submitted for encryption by FileOpen server.  In the majority of cases this can be resolved by contacting Customer Services and requesting a re-send of your document.

7. How do I receive the document?

We send you an email message to tell you that it is available. This will have your order/request number in the header subject line and will contain the hyperlink(s) to your document(s). Click on the link while your computer is connected to the internet to download the document.

Note: The link can be re-used as many times as you like, but only on the same computer the document was first downloaded to, and only for 30 days.

8. How many times can I print the document?

You may print only one paper copy, from which you must not make any further printed copies. Nor must you make further electronic copies or convert the file into any other format, or cut and paste or otherwise alter the text. 

9. How much time do I have to download and print the document?

The electronic copy will be available for collection from the server for 30 days, after which the file will be deleted. If you cannot access the file within this time, you should contact Customer Services for advice.

We suggest that you print a copy as soon as you can after downloading the document. 

Most documents can be stored for up to 3 years, but we still recommend you take your printout as soon as it's convenient.

10. Can I forward the document?

Yes, providing you have not opened the item from the link in the email notification. You can simply forward the email message to your end user for them to open the item. Before doing this, however, do make sure that they have FileOpen installed on their computer.

11. Can I save documents on my hard drive?

Yes, where we have an agreement with the publisher, you can save the document to anywhere you wish on your hard drive.