my-cumbria-logo, my-cumbria-logo Toggle navigation

There may be times when you need to download files or documents from the internet or Blackboard. The process is very easy and works in the same way no matter what site or service you are using (with some exceptions where downloads are restricted), but you need to be aware of some things:

  • Your web browser (some web browsers label things a little differently)
  • The type of file you are downloading
  • Where your downloaded files are stored

To download files, using the instructions on this page, you will need to right-click your mouse or laptop track pad. We have included some instructions for Mac users who are using a trackpad or a one-button mouse.

  • Images

    Download an image

    You can right-click on almost any image on the internet and select to save that image onto your own computer.

    Right-click on an image and select "Save image as..."


    This should allow you to choose a name for the image and the location where you would like it saved.

    The image has saved as .webp or .html

    This web page has restricted access to its images and does not want you to download them because of copyright or other corporate reasons.

    If you still want to use a particular image, you could use the Windows Snipping Tool (Mac users need to press ⇧⌘5 to open up the snipping options) to copy the part of your screen that is the image.


    Please be aware of the copyright and intellectual property issues around using an image that is owned by someone else. Never post an image, that you do not own, onto the internet without permission.

    Freely available images

    There are some links to freely available images on the Copyright page (above), but you might also try and which allow free download and use of a wide range of images.

  • Office files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.)

    Downloading Microsoft Office files work in the same way, no matter what type of file they are. This includes Word (.doc .docx), Excel (.xls .xlsx), PowerPoint (.ppt .pptx), Publisher (.pub .pubx), Access (.mdb .accdb), OneNote (.one) and others.

    Downloading files from a link

    Most Office files on the web (and in Blackboard) will appear as a link like this one, but might not declare the file type (this one shows as a .pptx file):


    Clicking on the link "Week 26_1.pptx" will usually simply download the file for you and will place it in your default Downloads folder.

    When using a Microsoft web browser (Internet Explorer or Edge) you may find that the document opens directly in the web browser, for this circumstance see below.

    Downloading files from a link when the document opens in the web browser

    If you have clicked on a document link (like the one above) and it opens the file in the browser window, press the browser "back" button to go back to the page that contains the links.

    Right-click on the link and select to "Save as..." or "Save link as..." to download the file instead of viewing it.


    Downloading a visible document

    On some websites you will find a document is embedded directly within the web page, so you are viewing it almost as though it is a webpage itself. These documents are designed to be read online and can only be easily downloaded if the creator has provided a "Download" button. 


  • PDF

    PDF documents are some of the easiest documents to view online and to download.

    Viewing a PDF online

    All modern web browsers have a PDF reader built in, so when you click on a link to a PDF, it will usually open in a web browser window for you to view.

    Download a PDF from a link

    Right-click on a PDF link and select to "Save as..." or "Save link as..." to download the file instead of viewing it.


    Download a PDF whilst viewing it

    When viewing a PDF in your browser window, if you move your mouse cursor to the top of the page, the PDF toolbar will appear. This allows you to zoom in and out, print, download and in some browsers will even let you write on the document and have it read aloud to you. The Save icon (highlighted below) allows you to download the document:


    Download a PDF journal article or ebook

    Many journal articles and ebooks are restricted and do not allow you to download your own copy. This is done to protect the copyright and intellectual property of the owner. Some may have the option to read an article or ebook offline by using software called Adobe Digital Editions, which controls how many people can view the item and for how long. See our Books and ebooks page for more information.

    Where an article or book is created as Open Access and is therefore freely available, the publisher will provide a "Download" button.

  • Audio

    Downloading audio files from a link

    Where an audio file is provided as a link, you can usually right-click on the link and select to "Save as..." or "Save link as..." to download the file instead of listening to it.


    Downloading audio whilst listening to it

    Sometimes when you right-click on an audio file, that is playing in your browser window, you will be given the option to save a copy for offline listening. This is not very common.

    Where the owner is happy for you to save a copy, there will usually be a download button.


    If you are listening to a podcast, most podcast platforms will give you the option to download a copy for use on your device. These downloads are usually only available through Podcast software and if the file is deleted from the podcast website, they will often become unavailable on your device too (even though you have downloaded them).

    Listening to podcasts: Pocket Casts, Google Podcasts and Spotify are great options for your mobile devices and are available from your app store. iTunes works for Mac and Pocket Casts for Windows.

    Listening to downloaded audio files

    Although all of your devices have a default audio/music player built in, you may come across audio files that just aren't recognised and won't play. We suggest you download VLC from VideoLan for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS. If the file still won't play, then there is probably a problem with the file.

  • Video

    Download Video from a link

    Where a video file is provided as a link, you can sometimes right-click on the link and select to "Save as..." or "Save link as..." to download the file instead of watching it online. This will only work on video files that have been posted in a way that allows for downloading and is not very common.


    Download a video whilst watching it

    Most video platforms do not allow you to download video content from their sites. There are exceptions and where possible the University of Skills team will make videos available to download.

    Microsoft Stream also gives the content owner the ability to allow downloads to all people who have permission to view a given video.

    When viewing a video on Microsoft Stream, click on the three-dots menu (bottom right):


    If the video has been made available for download, you will see a Download button:


    Download a video from YouTube, Vimeo and other online platforms

    The only legal way to download videos from online video sharing platforms is to purchase a premium account and even this does not guarantee that you will be able to download the particular video you want. The ability to download a specific video, even with a premium account, is dictated by the video owner's wishes and they have to specify that they are OK with people downloading it.

    With a premium account, a download button will appear on the page of every video that is available.

    Download a video from the BBC

    The BBC only allows downloads into the BBC iPlayer app and these downloads are subject to the same restrictions as the iPlayer website. If a video becomes unavailable on the website, then it will be automatically removed from your app.

    Download a video from other TV channels

    All UK TV channels, that allow programme/video downloads, work in a very similar way to the BBC. Videos can only be added to their app and when they expire online, they disappear from the app.

  • Mac right-click

    There are a few options for forcing a right-click context menu on a Mac or MacBook. This context menu will allow you to complete some additional actions, including the ability to download a selected file. Other examples include, you could right click on a Word or Pages document and see options for cut, paste, change the font, and even find synonyms. You can right click on an open application’s icon in the Dock and choose to quit it. Depending on the complexity of the program you are using the right-click options are likely to add an extra layer of detail that you would be lost without.

    How to right-click on a Mac

    Apple mouse

    This is really simple - press down on the right-hand side of your one-button mouse.

    Take control

    Hold down the Control (CTRL) key on your keyboard whilst clicking with your mouse or tapping on your MacBook trackpad.


    Pre-2018 trackpads will mostly let you tap in the bottom right-hand corner to simulate a right-click.

    Most MacBook trackpads (of almost any age) will allow you to tap with two fingers to activate right-click.

    Newer "Force Touch" trackpads will allow you to press at a different strength or press and hold the trackpad to activate right-click.

    Some of these trackpad options may require configuring in system settings (see the original article below for more details).


    Content in this section was adapted from: How To Right-Click On A Mac Or MacBook - Macworld UK

  • Web browser differences

    On the whole web browsers all do the same thing now, but some of them label things differently.

    Mobile browsers

    Pressing and holding a link, in a mobile browser will usually give you more options (a bit like the context menu in a desktop browser). Where available you will be offered the ability to download files, rather than viewing them.

    Right click in Google Chrome

    The download option comes up as Save link as...

    Right click in Microsoft Edge

    The download option comes up as Save link as

    Right click in Internet Explorer

    The download option comes up as Save target as

    Right click in Mozilla Firefox

    The download option comes up as Save Link As...

    Right click in Apple Safari

    The download options show as Download Linked File and Download Linked File As...

  • Downloads location

    This will partly depend on whether or not you have changed the default settings and what the file type is, but downloads will normally drop straight into the Downloads folder on your device.

    Windows 10 / 11

    Downloads from most web browsers in Windows 10 will automatically be placed into the Downloads folder for your profile. This means that when you open the Windows File Explorer, you can simply select Downloads to find your files. You can get here by a few different routes.

    Finding Windows File Explorer

    1. On your desktop, you may see a button for This PC:


    2. Or you can use Windows/Cortana search at the bottom of your desktop screen. With File Explorer open, you will see a link in the left-hand folder structure for Downloads. Alternatively, simply search for Downloads to locate the default downloads folder:


    3. Or you can find your downloads via your web browser (Microsoft Edge example below). Click on Downloads and then select Open Downloads Folder:


    Whenever you have Windows File Explorer open, you will see your Downloads folder in the left-hand menu.

    Mac / MacBook

    There are three easy ways to find your downloads on a Mac.

    • Click on the Downloads icon in the Dock
    • Open Finder, Select File > New Finder Window > the Downloads folder appears in the list on the left-hand side of the screen
    • In your web browser, go to the Files and Settings menu, select Downloads

    There is a pictorial guide for these methods available from How to find downloads on your Mac computer in 3 ways - Business Insider


    Downloads on Android devices will usually drop straight into your default Downloads folder, but depending on your device any media files may be put into Audio, Video and Images folders. Media from specific apps may also be placed into dedicated folders e.g. WhatsApp Images, Twitter Images, etc. Your standard branded (Samsung, Huawei, etc.) or Google file explorer will allow you to easily find your downloaded files without the need to download any additional third party apps which are available on the Play Store.

    This example screen is using Google Files and is in the Browse window:


    iOS (iPhone / iPad)

    iOS on your iPhone or iPad does a very good job of deciding what media should go where, based on how it thinks you will manage, view or listen to a downloaded file. This means that files will normally drop into your Downloads folder, but images will go to Photos and audio/video will go to iTunes.

    If, when downloading a file from the internet, you select Save to Files - your download will always go into the Downloads folder in the Files app.

    1. Open the Files app (blue folder on a white background) 

    2. Go to Browse

    3. Select On My iPhone/iPad as the location

    4. Open the Downloads folder

    Once you have done this once, the Downloads folder will usually appear as a Favourite Folder when you first open the Files app.


Edit page