PDF Guidelines

Creating and Uploading a PDF Document

  • Create and maintain your document as a web page or form instead of a PDF whenever possible (with the exception of handbooks). HTML files are accessible, but PDF files are not; they cannot be read by screen readers. See our training guides for tips on how to create pages and forms.
  • If your document cannot be turned into a web page or form, the best format is a PDF document. For example, if you require a signature on your document, simply save your Word document as a PDF in Word.
    • Why not as a Word or Excel file? Not all users have access to a particular application such as Word or Excel. In addition, Word and Excel files can acquire viruses if posted on the Internet.
    • If you do not have Adobe Acrobat, the software used to secure PDFs (not to be confused with the Adobe Reader already installed on your computer), contact the Help Desk. They can install it and show you how to use it.
  • When creating a PDF file, follow these guidelines:
    • Use the Emerson PDF template on the Guides & Templates page to ensure a consistent look between Emerson documents.
    • Use PDF files only when a web page version of the same content cannot be created.
    • Follow the College’s identity guidelines as instructed in the Identity Standards Manual.
    • For official College financial and administrative documents, secure the PDF. Securing PDFs ensures that the material will not be copied and reproduced elsewhere.
      Creating secure PDF forms »
    • Keep file sizes for PDF files as small as possible and test thoroughly in older versions of Adobe Reader. In all cases, reduce image sizes in your PDF to the size that they will print at while keeping them at 300dpi.
      How to reduce PDF file size »
      PDF Optimizer options »

Adobe Guides and Tips

Accessibility »
Watermarking a PDF file »


Need help with creating a PDF document consistent with Emerson's guidelines? Contact Web Services at web@emerson.edu.