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1. When should I use a PDF?

If your content can be displayed as a web page then you should not use a PDF. Most browsers make the user download the pdf to display the contents. This is slow, inconvenient, and annoying for many users. Convert Microsoft Word documents or Excel spreadsheets to a PDF before putting it on the web, unless you expect the user to download and edit the document in that format. Everyone can open  a PDF from the web. Not everyone has Microsoft Office or if they do it might not be the same version.

If you need to present a document for them to use off line a PDF is a great choice. Most users have the proprietary Adobe Acrobat Reader application to view and print the document.

2. Prepare a PDF before importing.

Reduce File Size menu

Prepare the PDF

Reduce file size

When you have the PDF ready, reduce the file size of the PDF. This eliminates most of the problems with uploading the document to the CMS. The process gets rid of the history of all your edits and other information about the PDF which are useless in the CMS.

To do this choose 'Reduce File Size' form the dropdown menu under 'Document'

Give the PDF a proper CMS system name.

  • NO CAPS
  • no special *%#! Characters (except _ or -)
  • no_spaces
  • the essence of the page purpose
  • try not to ‘Date’ the asset: my_page_12-2-2009 (the CMS versions feature will show you dates or you can put it in the version comments) When you date it you are making extra work and planning for future broken links.

3. Import the PDF to the CMS

New file or image menu

Most sites will have a 'docs' folder where all the non-html files will be stored. Plan on placing the PDF there.

Click on that folder to select it. Then select from the blue menu bar 'New > File or Image.

There are only 2 step needed in the import dialog.

  1. Click the 'Browse' button to find the file on your computer
  2. Click 'Submit' to bring the file into your selected folder.

Upload file dialog box

4. Linking to a pdf

Style the link

When you make a link to a PDF add a Style of 'pdf' to the link. That will automatically add a PDF icon next to the link.

List the file size next to the link

To obtain the file size you can either check its file size prior to posting in the CMS, or if the file already resides in the CMS you can select the file (likely in your docs folder) and cancel downloading the PDF when prompted. In the window you will see the file size in Bytes. An example would be the file size in the CMS indicating 47096 B = 47Kb. Please use either KiloBytes or MegaBytest. Add the text '(47kb)' next to the link.

dialog box for links

Now the link will look like this: Photo Preparations

Note: If needing to link to a PDF on the UAS Form Page please include an external link to the PDF in the forms folder. Do not place into your own directory as these forms are updated frequently. When they are updated the same system name is used to full path links will not break.

5. Updating or Replacing the PDF

You cannot edit a PDF in the CMS. You must make any changes outside of the CMS and then replace the original file. It is far easier to just replace the existing file with the newer version that you have created.

It is not good practice to name a PDF with a date and then bring in another the next year, because

  1. you would half to change any links to that old file to the new file,
  2. you would need to delete the old file from the CMS and the servers (otherwise that old information is still live and can be found in a web 'search'
eidt file dialog box

It is best practice to replace the current PDF with a new version and publish it. First prepare the document on your computer and reduce file size (See above instructions)

To replace an existing document select it and click the 'Edit' tab. Then:

  1. Click the 'Browse' button and select it from your computer
  2. Add any version comments you would like
  3. Click 'Submit'

You can now just publish the new version to the live server.

6. Unpublish old PDF files

You should delete old files from the CMS and in doing so they will be automatically be deleted from the live server.

If you wish to move them to an 'old files' folder for some reason, be sure to 'unpublish' them from the live server first.

To unpublish a file click publish and select the 'unpublsh' radio button.

unpublish dialog box