User's manual for "single-user online" subscriptions

Table of contents

General Information

Subscription features

The electronic format offers a number of useful features such as hyperlinks and instant search capability (see "Searching") that are not possible with the paper format while preserving the same layout as the printed documents.

Electronic Formats

PDF files

The Historical Codes (1941-1995), Codes and Guides from 2005 to 2011, and Provincial Codes are available as non-DRM protected PDF files. Use any PDF reader application to view these file.

Secure PDF Files (DRM-protected)

The 2015/2017 Codes and the User’s Guides are available as secure PDF files:

  • Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology is used to protect copyrighted material from reproduction and redistribution.
  • You will need to install a free DRM tool, FileOpen Plug-In for Adobe Acrobat or Reader, in order to view the documents.
  • Copy and paste function for text excerpts is enabled. Please note that selecting content is limited for some older scanned publications in Historical Codes Collection. Use your operating system tools (such as Snipping Tool) to select content from pre-1995 Code documents.
  • Printing may be limited or disabled depending on the subscription type. See the Features page for details.
NOTE: OPN Files are no longer supported.


With the CODES-GUIDES Online Library subscriptions, you always have access to up-to-date publications, including any approved revisions and errata. Your main Library page shows the latest printing of your publication along with the previous printings. A Revisions and Errata section at the beginning of each Code lists the changes that have been made since the text was first published.


You can search for terms and phrases in your publication(s) by using the built-in search functionality of Adobe Acrobat or Reader, which allows searching for:

  • exact words or phrases
  • whole or partial words
  • case-sensitive terms
  • word stems

The Adobe Advanced Search mode shows all search results as a list with each entry linked to the results page and the search term highlighted. To access this mode, select Edit> Advanced Search or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+F. Then select Show More Options at the bottom of the pop-up window to show additional search criteria.

To perform basic searches in OPN files, use the search feature in FileOpen Viewer (note that this feature is not available on Android devices: use the fully linked index to access content on a particular topic).


Printing may be limited or disabled depending on the subscription type. See the Features page for details. However, you can copy and paste excerpts into a word-processing application, such as MS Word, and then print the page.


The publications to which you have subscribed are copyrighted by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and protected by Canadian Copyright Law and international treaty provisions. Your right to reproduce portions of the documents is limited by the license agreement: please read it carefully before copying any extracts. Extracts may only be incorporated into a single new document and must not be altered in any way that could affect their meaning. The source of extracts must be acknowledged.

Please note that selecting content is limited for some older scanned publications in Historical Codes Collection. Use your operating system tools (such as Snipping Tool) to select content from pre-1995 Code documents.

You can copy document extracts (text, tables, figures and intent statements) into any word-processing or clipboard software using the Adobe Reader/Acrobat or Operating System built-in functionality:

  1. Text only: highlight the extract with the cursor and press the "Ctrl" and "c" keys simultaneously, or select "Edit" then "Copy" from the menu bar. This method does not preserve exact formatting of the content.
  2. Text, tables, figures, equations, etc.: scroll to the page/content that you want to copy and use your OS screen capture tool, such as Snipping Tool (Windows 7). This method copies content as an image and preserves the formatting of the extract as it appears in the document.

Technical support

Technical support information on the CODES–GUIDES Online Library is available on the Web site under Client Support.

System Requirements

For system requirements, see Codes-Guides Online Library System Requirements.

Note to Mac users

  1. To ensure that DRM-protected secure PDF files open in Adobe Acrobat or Reader and NOT in PDF Viewer:
    1. Open Acrobat or Reader.
    2. Go to Preferences > Internet.
    3. Check off "Display PDF in browser using" and select "Adobe Reader XXX" from the drop-down menu. Make sure it is the app with the FileOpen installed, see item 2.
  2. If using Mac 10.6, see instructions from Adobe at this link Acrobat PDF Plug-in Does Not Load in Safari 64-bit Web Browser on Mac OS X Snow Leopard (v10.6).

Your online subscription


Once you have placed your order through the NRC Virtual Store or the NRC Construction's Research Centre Client Services, it will be processed by NRC staff within 1 business day, after which you will receive an activation email containing your Sales Order Number, the list of publications you ordered, and a link to the CODES–GUIDES Online Library Web site.
If you don't receive the activation email in your inbox, check your junk mail folder as some email systems may place it into this folder.

Important: Keep your Sales Order information handy: you will need it to activate your publications and for Customer Service or Technical Support enquiries.

Getting started

Before you can view the publications to which you have subscribed, you must complete the following initial steps:

  1. Install the required software (see "System Requirements").
  2. If you are new to the CODES–GUIDES Online Library, register as a CODES–GUIDES Online Library user. (Your Virtual Store User Name and Password will not allow you to log in to the Library).
  3. Log in with your CODES–GUIDES Online Library credentials and activate your publications.

The main log-in page is the starting point for new and registered users (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: CODES-GUIDES Online Library log-in screen

Figure 1


If you are a new user, select "Register," which will take you to the registration form (see Figure 2 in the next section).

If you are a registered user, you can activate your subscriptions or view activated publications by logging in with your User Name and Password.

Registering as a user

From the main log-in page (Figure 1), new users are directed to the registration form (see Figure 2). Enter your information in the mandatory fields.

Figure 2: Registration form

Figure 2


Select "Register" to submit your registration. A confirmation screen will appear (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Registration confirmation screen

Figure 3


Select "Return to Login" to get back to the main log-in page (Figure 1) and proceed with activating your publications.

Activating subscriptions

You can activate all your publications at once or only some of them. You can always activate your remaining publications at a later date. The period of each subscription starts upon activation.

Once you are registered as a user, you can activate the subscriptions that you ordered. You will need the following information to do so:

  • the User Name and Password used to register for the CODES–GUIDES Online Library
  • the Sales Order Number.

If you have multiple Sales Orders, repeat the activation steps for each Sales Order. When you log in, all active publications will be available to you, regardless of the Sales Order.

To activate your subscriptions:

  1. Go to the main log-in page for the CODES–GUIDES Online Library.
  2. Enter your User Name and Password, then select "Log in." The page shown in Figure 4 will appear.
    Figure 4: Access my publications screen

    Figure 4

  3. Select "Activate subscriptions" to start the activation process. The page shown in Figure 5 will appear.
    Figure 5: License agreement screen

    Figure 5

  4. Enter the Sales Order number for the order that contains the publications you would like to activate.
  5. Read the Licence Agreement. You must accept the terms stated in this agreement to proceed. Select the box beside “I agree with the Terms…,” then select “Continue.” A list of publications that you ordered will appear (see Figure 6 for an example).
    Figure 6: Select publications screen

    Figure 6

  6. Select the publications you would like to activate and select "Activate subscriptions." The page shown in Figure 7 will appear.
    Figure 7: Activation completed screen

    Figure 7

  7. Select "Access my publications" to download and view your publications.
  8. Select "Log out" to end the session.

Accessing your active publications

To access your active publications, enter your User Name and Password in the main log-in page (Figure 1) and select "Log in."

Your active publications will be listed on the page entitled "Access my publications" (see Figures 8 and 9 for examples).

Figure 8: Access my publications screen, PC and Mac

Figure 8. PC and Mac

Figure 9: Access my publications screen, Android tablets

Figure 9. Android tablets


Important: As new printings of the Codes are published, they will automatically be added to the list and available to you.

Viewing publications

Depending on the size of the CODES-GUIDES document and your Internet access speed, download may take a few minutes.

PC/Mac/Windows 8 Tablet

Select the link to the PDF file of the Code document you would like to view (see Figure 8).


You will be prompted to Save or Open the PDF document. If you select Open, the document will open in the Adobe application you have installed on your computer.

You can save the document on your local storage device and open it later without first logging into the CODES-GUIDES Library portal. When using your local copy of the activated PDF document, you may be prompted to enter your CODES–GUIDES Library Username and Password.

Android Tablets

DRM-protected secure PDF - not supported

Resetting your password

You can re-set your password by selecting "Forgot password?" from the main log-in page. You will need your User Name and the email address provided upon initial registration. Fill out the form (see Figure 15) and select "Reset password."

Figure 15: Forgot your password screen

Figure 15


You will receive an email containing your new temporary password and a link to the "Change Password" page. Follow this link to change your temporary password (see Figure 16).

Figure 16: Change password screen

Figure 16


User name lookup

You can look up your User Name by selecting "Forgot user name?" from the main log-in page. You will need the email address you provided upon initial registration. Fill out the form (see Figure 17) and select "Lookup User Name."

Figure 17: Forgot user name screen

Figure 17


You will receive an email providing your user name for the CODES-GUIDES Online Library.

Changing your e-mail address

You can update the-mail address registered for your CODES-GUIDES Online Library user account by logging in to the CODES-GUIDES Online Library and selecting "Change E-mail".

Figure 18: Access my publications screen

Figure 18


Fill out the form (see Figure 19) and select "Change E-mail."

Figure 19:  Change e-mail address screen

Figure 19