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PDF Usage Tips

As you continue to prepare for your new site, we would like all web editors to understand how PDFs should be used on Brandeis websites.

Have you ever uploaded a PDF to your website instead of creating a web page? While it may seem like a way to save time, PDFs should be used sparingly. Here’s why.

  1. Most PDFs are not accessible. This means visitors using assistive technology, like a screen reader, cannot easily access your content.
  2. HTML pages are better for search engine optimization (SEO) than PDFs.

When to use a PDF

Occasionally, you might need to upload a PDF to your website. A few examples are:

  • Forms that require a signature or multiple signatures
  • Documents in a foreign language or music
  • Event flyers intended to be printed and distributed. (Information about an event should also be on your website! The flyer should not be the only source of information.)
  • Long documents like training manuals

What you need to do

  • Evaluate how your site uses PDFs. Be intentional using the examples above as guidance.
  • Convert PDF content to web content whenever possible.
  • Delete PDFs that are not being used by checking Relationships and removing old content.

Please Note: Any PDF used in the new website templates must be accessible. We will hold accessibility training for all editors coinciding with your website relaunch. So stay tuned!