How to optimize PDFs for web viewing

Per Christian Lindstad
Nov 8, 2018 4:35:55 AM

In a universal viewing perspective, PDF has eventually been recognized as a technical drawing format, though serving different purposes than the original CAD and BIM formats. While CAD and BIM formats bring native design specifications and built-in intelligence to the users, PDFs are great for effective information-sharing. The brilliance with a universal viewer is that it covers all. 

This also applies when working with CAD, because you don't necessarily need to include the native information from the application where you originally created the file. Sometimes you just want to make others able to view your files quick and easy, to lay the groundwork of further collaboration.

This is why PDF's usually are involved when you're working with CAD, and why the format also has become a standard within design and construction.

But a PDF isn’t just a PDF, so like with anything else, there’s a lot of dos and don’ts. Here’s a few tips that will help you to optimize and streamline your PDFs for web viewing:

  • Fast Web View

Fast Web View is another term for linearizing a PDF file, which basically means that you can stream the file and read it before the entire PDF is downloaded. This cuts down annoying and unnecessary waiting time. Time is precious for everyone, and we don't like to be kept waiting, so to cut down the waiting time by linearizing, you will ultimately provide a better user-experience for those who want to display large PDF files on the web.

  • Simplify structure and reduce complexity

What makes PDF's complicated to utilize for others isn't just a lot of information or many pages. What has even more impact, is how you structure the content. That means that it should be a clear thought behind the elements you include, instead of copying and pasting bits and pieces until it looks nice. Also be sure to keep bookmarks, links, hyperlinks, outline and more of the source files in the created PDF.

  • Include navigation

Don't worry about this if your PDF is two or three pages long, but when there is a lot of text, a clickable table of content and buttons that lets you navigate back and forth is like a gift from above for the reader.

  • Avoid high resolution

High resolution images consume large amounts of memory, which is a problem on mobile devices. A best practice when you use images in your PDF's, is to use lower resolution so the load faster. 

  • Integrate a universal viewing API

All browsers can view a PDF directly, but that's also where it stops. With a universal viewer, like RxView360, you get access to advanced tools to markup and annotate the PDF's, without using any plugins or having to download the file. 

Want to learn more about universal viewing? Here's six reasons your software should use open web technology for viewing

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