Adobe PDF Files and other non-HTML or non-ASCII Text files - Web Style Guide

The standards for marking links to Adobe PDF files also apply to Microsoft Word, Excel, Publisher, WordPerfect, and any other non-HTML and non-ASCII text files. Abbreviations to use in links to these types of files are:

  • (PDF)
  • (DOC), (DOCX), or (MS Word)
  • (XLS), (XLSX), or (MS Excel)
  • (PPT), (PPTX), or (MS PowerPoint)
  • (PUB) or (MS Publisher)
  • (WPD) or (WordPerfect)
  • A short description of the file type (i.e., the software that created the file)

The standards to follow are:

  • Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files are best used for:

    • Forms that will be printed and then filled-in by the site visitor
    • Brochures and flyers and other print material that must display in its original (i.e., print) format

    PDF files should not be used for textual content that can be presented in an (X)HTML document. An (X)HTML document is more accessible for all site visitors.

  • Use the accessibility features available in Adobe Acrobat when creating PDF files. Upgrade to the latest version of Adobe Acrobat and update your Adobe Acrobat software with the latest patch(es) before creating PDF files. Review the accessibility information for Adobe Acrobat on Adobe's Accessibility website to learn how to make your PDF files accessible.

  • A link to the free Adobe Reader software download page must be provided on pages using PDF files. Place the explanatory paragraph before any link to a PDF file.

    This is an example of a descriptive paragraph, including a text link and the button with a link, that would be placed before a list of links:

    Get Adobe Reader.Adobe Reader (free) or other software that can open PDF files must be installed on your computer to view the documents marked "(PDF)."

    HTML code for the above sentence:
    <a href="http://get.adobe.com/reader/"><img src="/images/buttons/getadobereader.png" width="158" height="39" alt="Get Adobe Reader." style="float:right;">Adobe Reader (free)</a> or other software that can open PDF files must be installed on your computer to view the documents marked &quot;(PDF).&quot;

    XHTML code for the above sentence:
    <a href="http://get.adobe.com/reader/"><img src="/images/buttons/getadobereader.png" width="158" height="39" alt="Get Adobe Reader." style="float:right;" />Adobe Reader (free)</a> or other software that can open PDF files must be installed on your computer to view the documents marked &quot;(PDF).&quot;

    The correct URL for the download page is:

    http://get.adobe.com/reader/

    The markup for our centrally-stored Get Adobe Reader button image with the download link is:

    HTML example:
    <a href="http://get.adobe.com/reader/"><img src="/images/buttons/getadobereader.png" width="158" height="39" alt="Get Adobe Reader."></a>

    XHTML example:
    <a href="http://get.adobe.com/reader/"><img src="/images/buttons/getadobereader.png" width="158" height="39" alt="Get Adobe Reader." /></a>

  • Links to Adobe PDF files must be marked with one of the following:

    • Preferred:
      • (PDF, ## KB)
      • (PDF, ## MB)
      • (PDF)
      at the end of the link before closing the anchor tag (below)
    • Less preferred:
      • A small PDF file icon at the end of the link after the closing tag (below)
  • Links to Adobe PDF files should be followed by the file size of the PDF file (examples), especially if the file size is 1 MB or greater. This allows the site visitor to decide whether he or she wants to view the file (people with slower modems may not be able to comfortably view large files).

  • Be consistent throughout your website; do not use more than one of these styles:

    • Preferred:
      • Proposal for Free Pastries (PDF, 2.1 MB)
      • Proposal for Free Sodas (PDF)
        [NOTE: Size can be skipped if the file is less than 1 MB.]
      • Proposal for Free Cookies (PDF, 501 KB) (view with the free Adobe Reader program)
        [NOTE: This option can be used if may be confusing to place the full explanatory paragraph before the link (for example if there is only one link and it is a PDF file).]
    • Less preferred:
      • Proposal for Free Coffee PDF (1.0 MB)
  • Markup for the image tag for the centrally-stored Adobe PDF icon file (PDF):

    HTML:
    <img src="http://www.ohlone.edu/images/icons/pdf.png" width="16" height="16" alt="PDF">

    XHTML:
    <img src="http://www.ohlone.edu/images/icons/pdf.png" width="16" height="16" alt="PDF" />

  • (X)HTML code for the phrase "(view with the free Adobe Reader program)":

    (view with the free <a href="http://get.adobe.com/reader/">Adobe Reader</a> program)