The following guidelines for PDF authoring may not help you entirely avoid any problems, but the vast majority of your users and readers will be thankful nonetheless. Take good care of your PDFs when you make them, and everyone who ever uses the file will thank you for your consideration.
- If the document is very long, offer “chapter” or “article” PDFs in addition to a single file for the entire document.
- If you add bookmarks, congratulations! You are an educated PDF publisher! But be SURE to set the PDF Initial View to show “Bookmarks Panel and Page”. Otherwise most users will have no idea they are there at all!
- Files greater than 10 pages in length should ideally include bookmarks.
- Files greater than 20 pages in length MUST include bookmarks, or your readers will be stuck flipping pages.
- Include web links on your PDFs to return to your Web site. 99.9% of PDF files do NOT include this feature.
- Avoid 2 (or more) column text on your documents unless absolutely necessary. If you do use more than 1 column, consider the Article Threads feature to ensure easier readability.
- Always indicate the size of the file so users can make an informed decision about downloading it.
- Always ensure that files are “Optimized for Fast Web View” (exception: files containing form-fields should NOT be optimized for Fast Web View.)
- Ensure that the server hosting the files supports Fast Web View. Most do automatically.
- Ensure the file is as small as possible. PDF files are frequently WAY “overweight”. Use Acrobat’s Optimizer to reduce their size.
by Duff Johnson