Editor Tip: Use PDFs

The Portable Document Format (PDF) is a computer file format for publishing and distributing electronic documents (text, image, or multimedia) with the same layout, formatting, and font attributes as in the original. So, why is using PDFs on the web so important?

Anyone Can View It

To view a Word document, you must have proprietary software (Microsoft Office) installed on your computer. On the other hand, a PDF can be viewed with an Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is a free download, available on most platforms. PDFs are also capable of storing their own appearance (layout, fonts, content, color, etc.) within the document itself. This means that it may not have to rely on the fonts and settings that may or may not be installed on a user’s computer to display properly

Online Content

A PDF is useful for taking documents (newsletters, annual reports, applications, supporting information, etc.) and making them available on the internet. Not only can you secure your PDF so that it can only be read and not altered, you can also be sure that it will display correctly every time. In addition, PDFs can have a table of contents, bookmarks, intra-document hyperlinks, and are searchable. These features allow a PDF document to behave more like a web page.


When compressed, PDF files can be very compact, so it is ideal for storage in our Sitecore Media Library. The file layout is retained through the compression and can be viewed on all platforms. Plus, PDF files are searchable, making archived documents and items much easier to find, categorize, and organize..

Fillable Form

Benefits to PDF forms:

  • PDF forms look just like their paper counterparts
  • PDF forms are easy to make
  • Electronic data collection saves time, money, and is more accurate for your records
  • Online forms are paperless (which is beneficial in aiding the college’s progress in becoming a sustainable campus!)

Mobile Content

Yes, there’s an app for that! No matter what operating system our users are running, they can easily download an Adobe Reader App for their cellphone for FREE.  Through its easy to use user interface, Adobe Reader provides our users with an efficient PDF viewing experience regardless of the device they are using.

There are a number of reasons to use PDFs on the web. The biggest reason being, that anyone can view them no matter what computer or operating system they are using. And, not only that, but creating a PDF is a quick and convenient way to put an existing document on your website. So, all-in-all it just makes sense to use PDFs when it comes to adding your documents to the web.

As always if you have any questions, concerns, or comments, just shoot me an email.

About Elise Fry

Web Support Manager The College of Wooster
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