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PDF links on web pages

17 Jul 2007 | | One Comment

What is the best practice for including PDF links on your website? It’s simple, make sure that the user knows what they are getting themselves into. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve clicked on a web link, only to discover that the link goes to a PDF that’s 20MB, and on a low-speed Internet connection (read: broadband in Australia), that can be quite painful. You soon find yourself reaching for the Ctrl+Alt+Del keys because your web browser has been temporarily hijacked [and perhaps not so “temporarily” if you’re on dial-up].

So how can you make your PDF links more user friendly? Well if you include these two critical bits of information, file type and file size, and then you are well on your way. Some examples:

Acrobat JavaScript Scripting Guide [PDF: 2.25MB]
PDF Reference, Sixth Edition, version 1.7 (PDF, 31.0M)

The exact formatting doesn’t really matter, the important thing is that you let your visitors know that they are about to load a PDF document that is pretty small or bloody huge into their web browser.

If you wanted to take it a step further you could provide the user with information on how they could download the PDF to their desktop instead of viewing it in their web browser.

Acrobat JavaScript Scripting Guide [PDF: 2.25MB]
To view this file in your browser left-click on the link, or to download this file to your desktop, right-click on the link and select Save Link As in Firefox or Save Target As in Internet Explorer.

It’s as simple as that. Visitors to your site will thank you.

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  • PDF Blog » Question: How do I link to a PDF on my website or blog? - a blog about all things PDF said:

    […] The biggest problem with linking to PDFs from blogs is that not all blogging services allow you to upload files, but if they do, it’s simply a matter of linking to wherever the file has been uploaded to. You should also take into account the usability aspects of linking to PDFs on your website — read one of my previous posts about putting PDF links on web pages. […]