To PDF Or Not to PDF? Five Good Uses of PDFs on the Web

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Generally speaking, you should avoid the use of PDFs when distributing information online.
They take time to download, cause accessibility issues, require users to install Adobe Reader and interrupt the user experience.
However, PDFs are far from useless.
Here are five online situations when the use of PDFs is recommended.
When precise formatting is important
A good website will look similar on most PCs, but differing screen sizes, web browsers, operating systems, security settings, font sizes and image preferences mean a website will display slightly differently for each visitor.
PDF documents are different, in that they will look exactly the same on every computer.
When your users want to print something
If it's likely that users are going to print the document, it's worth providing a PDF version for them to download.
As mentioned above, a PDF will look exactly the same on any computer - but PDFs are also very simple to print.
When you want your users to print something In addition to helping out users who want to print, the use of a PDF can encourage users to print your document.
Web pages are not designed for print, and often fail to print in a legible manner.
When you want to add value
There's nothing like getting something for nothing.
Unlike web content, which many visitors take for granted, PDFs provide something concrete for your users to take away.
Because of this, visitors not only appreciate the value, but are willing to provide something - typically their contact details - in exchange.
Offering a valuable PDF (an exclusive report or how-to guide) in exchange for a users email address is an extremely effective way of building an email list.
When you want to issue a Press Release
Because PDFs are easy to print and send via email, they have become the standard format for issuing press releases.
PDFs will give you a much better chance of getting a press release published than a plain text file.
In summary, don't use PDFs for day-to-day content - but seriously consider their use when it comes to the circumstances listed above.
If you don't have a copy of Adobe Acrobat, you can convert DOC files to PDF online - just do a quick Google search.
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