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Make your PDF documents appear how you’d want them to

I talked about sorting out the meta data on your PDF documents a few weeks ago; just like web pages, PDF documents need titles and descriptions which might not be apparent to the reader, but which play a vital role. To modify these, you’re going to need something like Adobe Acrobat (other PDF editors are available). While you’re adding decent titles and descriptions, there are other settings which might be worth investigating. One of the most interesting is “Initial View”, which specifies how the document will (usually) open up. If you’ve ever downloaded a PDF brochure which initially opens on page 23, or appears illegibly small in the centre of the screen, it’s because these settings haven’t been sorted out.

“Initial View” allows you to specify that the document should open on page 1, should show single pages or spreads, and should fill the screen to the page width, or show a whole page to a view. And yes, this means for every reader using a compatible PDF viewer. There are other settings, such as having the reader’s window resize to fit, or even going into a full-screen mode, and you can show your lovingly-crafted document title rather than the filename, if you wish (which you should). Lots to play with then, and if your document gets downloaded frequently, not a lot of effort to give so many readers a more pleasant experience.

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