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    Help with file formats

    Accessibility Services

    For information about the availability of auxiliary aids and services for Medicare resources, please visit https://www.medicare.gov/about-us/accessibility/accessibility-aids.html.

    To request an alternate format of resources used in Medicare's QIN-QIO work, please email CMS' Office of Hearings and Inquiries at AltFormatRequest@cms.hhs.gov.

    Wherever possible, we will post information on this website in open-standard, accessible formats (e.g., HTML). However, there are some areas of the website where specialized media must be used and plug-ins or special viewers may be needed to access the content. Below is a list of file types that are used on the website as well as further information on getting the plug-ins.

    Depending on the configuration of your computer, files of the types listed below may:

    • Open inside of your web browser,
    • Open in a new program window, or
    • Ask you where to save the file. If you would like to download a copy of the file to your computer, right-click (on Windows) or command-click (on Macintosh) and choose "Save Target As..." (Internet Explorer) or "Save Link As..." (Netscape). This will allow you to save a copy of the file to your computer rather than having the file open inside your web browser.

    Common applications

    PDF (Portable Document Format)
    PDF files are used to retain the formatting of printed documents. To view PDF files, you will need a reading program; Adobe Acrobat Reader is the most commonly used.
    Note: The Adobe accessibility website is a resource for visually impaired users to better interact with PDF files via specialized accessibility software (e.g., screen readers). It has a number of tools for converting PDFs into other file formats.

    Microsoft Excel
    Excel is a popular spreadsheet application from Microsoft. Most other office suites (e.g., StarOffice, Lotus, WordPerfect) can read Excel files.

    Video and audio files

    MP3  / MPEG
    MP3 is a popular audio format with very high compression (e.g., very small file sizes). MP3 playing and recording software is available from a variety of software vendors; popular sources include Quicktime and RealPlayer.

    RealMedia  (RealAudio / RealVideo)
    RealMedia files are audio and video files designed to stream across the Internet. The RealPlayer plug-in is available at no cost.

    WMV (Windows Media Video)
    WMV is a high compression video format viewable through Microsoft Windows Media Player.

    Quicktime is an alternative audio / video format. Quicktime files do not stream, but are downloaded to your computer and then played.  The plug-in is available from Apple.