Web guidelines for content editors: Adobe PDF Files

PDFs should only be used under certain circumstances. Understanding the user needs for the content in question can help decide when to use a PDF:

  1. Will users principally want to print this content?
  2. Will users want to save and read this content offline?
  3. Is layout important to the meaning of the content, such as with slides or maps?
  4. Will users want to easily share this content, such as an email attachment?
  5. Is this content “pages long?”

If the answer is yes to any one of these, you may want to use a PDF. However, editors should also be aware that PDFs have their own shortcomings, such as posing accessibility barriers to some users as well as breaking the context between your content and the library website.

If you would like to convert an existing PDF to an HTML page contact lib-webmaster@uiowa.edu.

Information about how to make PDFs accessible is available on the ITS Accessibility site at http://itaccessibility.uiowa.edu/ and on the WebAIM site at: http://webaim.org/techniques/acrobat/

When creating a PDF document, enter a proper title in the Document Title field.  Or, go to File/Document Properties/Description from within Adobe Acrobat Professional (not Reader).