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Download linked files on the Mac, Linux and Windows

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Sometimes when you are browsing the web, you will come across a link to a file. Clicking the link may open it in the web browser and it depends on what type of file it is. If the link is to a movie then the web browser may well open it and start playing it, if it is a link to a PDF then the browser will open it and display it. This isn't always the best action and PDF files are particularly irritating on websites. They take ages to display in a web browser and sometimes it is better to download the PDF and then double click it to open it in a PDF viewer (Adobe Reader or some other tool).

Similarly, movie files are sometimes better downloaded instead of played. This is particularly true when you want to watch it more than once. A PDF may also be referred to more than once and again this is another good reason to download it rather than view it online. Here's how to download movies, PDFs and other files you don't want to view online.

You basically just need to right click a link and select Save linked file as... The exact wording on the menu varies in Safari, Internet Explorer, Chrome and Opera, but they are all similar. Choose the Save option rather than Open.

You need to keep a keen eye out for linked files and take care not to accidentally click the links. For example, if you do a Google search, sometimes there are links to PDFs in the results. Look for a [PDF] or a File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat in the item. Sometimes on web pages you aren't given any indication of what a link actually links to and it could be a web page, a movie, a PDF or document of some sort. In these cases you should let the mouse hover over the link and most browsers will display the link target in the status bar at the bottom of the window. So you can see whether it's a link to click or to download.