Document formats for downloading

The best way to engage visitors, is to have your content directly part of your web pages. It makes for easy updating on your part, and never requires visitors to download software or plugins in order to view it. Web pages built through Site Builder adapt to different devices, making your content always easy to read and search.

Sometimes, its impractical to have content be directly part of a web page. Reports and print based documents are not always well suited to web page formatting. In some cases, you want your viewers to download documents in order for them to be able to digest them offline.

Making content as universally accessible as possible is a key practice in engaging your audience and Adobe's PDF format has become ubiquitous on the web for document downloads. Most computers come pre-loaded with the ability to view PDF documents, so no special plugin download is normally required.

Documents and Spreadsheets

Office applications from Microsoft (Word, Excel and Powerpoint), Google (Docs, Sheets and Slides) and Apple (Pages, Notes and Keynote) all have the ability to easily export files as PDF documents. Remember to also save your documents in their original format for your own editing purposes.

Slideshow Presentations

If you wish to retain the original actions in slideshow presentations (Microsoft Powerpoint, Google Slides, Apple Keynote), we recommend that you save your presentation file in Powerpoint format, since this is the most widely compatible presentation format. Visitors can open Powerpoint presentations in a number of different applications or using an online office account. Google Slides and Apple Keynote can both open Powerpoint presentations. Since some office software or an online office account is required to view Powerpoint presentations, we recommend also offering a PDF version as a backup for those who do not have access to office software.

File size

File size should be a consideration when preparing downloadable documents. Users expect things to happen immediately on clicking links and buttons, so make your downloads as compact as possible. Avoid embedding videos into presentations and documents.  YouTube is a better platform for delivering video, and you can link to a YouTube video within your presentations and documents. If you use images in your presentation, avoid using very high resolution versions for your downloadable documents and presentations.

  • PDF is the most ubiquitous document format for the web.
  • Make documents as compact as possible for quick download.
  • Remember to save documents in their original format to retain the ability to edit.


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