Purpose This paper presents the complete findings from the Academic Reading Format International Study (ARFIS), the world's largest study of tertiary students' format preferences and behaviors. The analysis of ARFIS proceeded in two stages. This paper reveals results from the second stage for the first time and compares them with the earlier results. The authors then present and discuss the results from the combined datasets of 21,266 students in 33 countries. Design/methodology/approach A total of 44 members in the ARFIS research team distributed an online survey composed of 22 Likert-style, multiple choice and open-ended questions to tertiary students on their format preferences and behaviors. Inferential statistical analysis was used on participant responses, and descriptive statistics analysis was used on the combined amalgamated dataset. Findings Majorities of students in all countries consistently show preference for reading their academic texts in print. However, variations of preferences do occur between countries. Overall, the language of a reading does not affect reading format preferences, but national scores on this question are greatly diverse. Originality/value ARFIS is the largest study of its kind created through a collaboration of researchers in countries on six continents, collecting data in more than 20 languages. The sample size, rigorous statistical analysis and consistency of results strengthen the reliability of the findings. Analysis of the first dataset has received widespread recognition, but this paper is the first to publish the second dataset and the complete amalgamated results.