There may be files with the following types: .dvi, .first.dvi, .ps.gz, lj.gz, .pdf, .abstract, .txt, and .zip. Only the .abstract and .txt are pure text modes.
If your browser shows garbage on the screen for the non-text files, you should adjust the MIME configuration of your browser. A short term solution is to go to the browser SAVE menu and save as SOURCE. This should give a menu popup to save to a file.Roughly speaking, DVI, lj.gz, and ps.gz are about the same sizes, while pdf files may be twice this size.
DVI files are uncompressed and a properly configured viewer will start XDVI for these. If you want onscreen viewing and don't have xdvi or some analog installed, look for the PDF files. These can be viewed using the Adobe Acrobat reader.Files with names like file.first.dvi are normal DVI files which contain only the first two pages of the preprint. These shorter files are only 3-10kbytes in length and should download quicky enough to provide a quick glimpse of the paper. Similarly, if there is one, file.first.pdf is a PDF version of the first few pages. If you are on a non-unix machine, consider getting the ACROREAD utility and use the pdf format to browse. The PDF format allows online searches also. Abstracts are as submitted by authors. If none was submitted, a DVI2TTY fragment is used. You may want to use the .first.dvi download to look at the first two pages as well as the abstract. Authors of older papers are encouraged to submit more useful abstracts. The postscript versions are made with 600 DPI fonts and gzipped. These may require a PS version 2 printer. Not all papers are available in PS. The PDF files are made by dvips using the Bakoma or Bluesky scalable versions of the the CM fonts. The resulting PS file is processed through the Adobe Distiller utility. The PDF versions can be used to print to non-postscript devices under Win95 via Acroread. The resulting screen images are comparable to Xdvi screen images under unix. Not all papers are available yet in PDF format. These Adobe Distiller/Writer utilities are about $50 US for academic users. The Acroreader is free for many platforms. Click Adobe to go to freedownload site. Adobe Acrobat Reader. The LaserJet versions are made with 300 DPI fonts and gzipped. These should work with HPLJ II compatible printers. Not all papers are available in LJ. The TXT versions are included mainly for the search engine. These TXT files are produced by DVI2TTY applied to the DVI file and usually fail to capture formulas in a reasonable way. On the other hand the references at the back can be quite useful for cut and paste inclusion into other files. If there was only a .ps file available, PSTOTEXT is used to produce the TXT file. Again, this is mainly useful for searches and references. PS files with embedded fonts may not produce top quality PDF files. In cases where multiple files are necessary to print, there may be a pkZIP style archive available.