Time to Ditch the PDF

You aspire to implement a modern communication strategy. However, your strategy revolves around distributing a set of PDF files — something that is 30 years old and offers little interactivity.


Reasons to ditch the PDF….

  1. No interactivity

    • Modern experiences involve people interacting with your content. Zoom here, click there, etc. PDF supports almost no interactivity.

  2. Limited design

    • People treat PDFs like paper. Which means you are bounded by the same design limitations of paper. This is also why most PDFs are just black and white two column, small fonts. Your audience is not looking for just another piece of paper.

  3. PDFs are not optimized for mobile

    • Most people access the web on their phone. PDFs don’t display well on a phone. Do you want that to be the first impression of your work?

  4. PDF viewer needs to be installed

    • People hate installing things on their machines. Don’t make them install another software, a PDF reader, just so they can read your PDF.

  5. Pain to update; you have already shipped it

    • PDFs take a long time to update. Especially if you have already sent out the PDF. You have to resend it to everyone.

  6. Version control nightmare

    • Now, what you have are multiple versions of a file out there. You have no idea which version someone is looking at.

  7. PDF downloads/attachments may be blocked by firewalls

    • Many organizations are aggressive with their firewalls. Your PDF may be blocked by the firewalls because it is an external file.

  8. Difficult to crawl for search engines / share in social media

    • Because PDFs are not easy for machines to read, search engines struggle to crawl it. When you share it on social media, those sites can’t extract a summary to show for PDFs. Your audience doesn’t get a quick glance.

  9. No analytics or measurement

    • You want to validate if your communication/marketing is working. You can’t measure engagement with PDF files. You have no idea if the files are working.

  10. Orphaned from rest of your website

    • Your website is your biggest asset. PDFs live outside your website. You can link to it, but, you can’t link to other parts of the website. It is not easy to navigate like your website.

  11. Non-ADA compliant

    • By default, PDFs are not ADA compliant. Here are all the things you have to do to make a PDF ADA compliant.

  12. Easy to turn into a long, winding document

    • Because there are not constraints in PDFs, people take the liberty to put down every detail in a PDF.


Instead of PDFs, leverage the modern web to power your communication strategy.

  1. Interactive content

  2. Mobile optimized

  3. Crawlable by search engines

  4. No versioning nightmare

  5. Update as you go

  6. Track and measure engagement/behavior

  7. Integrate with your website

  8. Easy to make ADA compliant

  9. CTAs


Want to upgrade your PDFs?