Don’t Link to PDF Files Unless You Make Clear That it’s a PDF Download!
0 (0)

The Internet Patrol - Patrolling the Internet for You
Rate this post!
 

You know what I can’t stand? When I click on a link on a website – to go to another page – and it ends up being a PDF download instead. Now, I have nothing against PDF downloads, but I do have something against finding myself downloading and opening PDF files without warning. C’mon people, put a “download PDF file” or “read PDF file” link there, or at least a warning that says “clicking this link will download a pdf file.” (In case you are wondering “What is a PDF file?” or “What does PDF stand for?”, ‘PDF’ stands for “Portable Document Format”, and it is a format that was developed by the Adobe corporation.)

Now don’t get me wrong; it can be handy to download and read PDF files – which you can do offline – instead of reading the same material online. But that’s not the point. And I realize that sometimes it’s just a lot easier to put link to a PDF download than it is to recreate the material in HTML and actually put it online. But that’s not the point either.


The point is, it’s damned rude to cause people to download something without telling them first!

Not only is it damned rude, but it’s way out of line with best practices. Foisting something on to someone’s personal computer without warning them first ..well, we in the biz have a name for it – it’s called “Internet abuse”.

So don’t do it.

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
Click for amount options
Other Amount:
What info did you find here today?:

 

If you have links to PDFs on your website, for the sake of all that is good – for the sake of best practices – for the sake of your visitors – please make it clear that clicking the link will cause a PDF to be downloaded to their hard drive!

That’s my opinion, anyway. What do you think?

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
Click for amount options
Other Amount:
What info did you find here today?:

Rate this post!
 

6 thoughts on “Don’t Link to PDF Files Unless You Make Clear That it’s a PDF Download!
0 (0)

  1. I think you’re allowed to look in your statusbar of your browser and see what it is that you’re actually clicking ;o)

    Sure as a developer you should make things as clear as possible – but please don’t remove all responsibility from the users – they have to keep thinking for themselves … or we’ll have a mayhem of ppl who won’t take any responsibilities for the links they clicked and the cr*p they got on their computer ;o)

  2. I don’t agree that it’s abuse at all. If that is the logic then linking to EXE files, linking to image files and documents will all be abuse too. Heck should I not link to HTML files either?

    But if you are using firefox, use this addon that automatically prompts you for a save location when you click on pdf links:

    Raja Sekharan

  3. Count me in agreement, although I never set any browser to automatically download anything without asking me what I want to do. I do wish more people would read this…although the ones who do this obviously don’t care.

  4. Some browsers will ask you what you want to do with a PDF file if you don’t have any default action selected.

    Myself I just use the NoScript extension for Firefox. In addition to the script protection it does, it asks each time if you want to allow the PDF download (although you can change this).

  5. I agree, an unannounced PDF download is very irritating. On the other hand, most of the sites that I go to announce that you will be getting a PDF file if you click the link…most, not all. It should be all because, unless you have streamlined your Adobe PDF reader’s loading, it can take quite a while for the reader to load and show you the file.

  6. Guilty as changed – sometimes :-)

    On my browser(s), when I click on a link to a PDF document, I get asked whether I want to open the PDF file to view in a window, or download to my hard drive.

    Unless it is a huge file, where the download might take ages, I haven’t considered it a major hassle, much less a ‘disrespect’ shown me by the website creator, though I can see your viewpoint on this.

    Just my 2 cents :-)

    All success
    Dr.Mani

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.