Millions of people make and use PDFs every day, and if you have even a small amount of experience with this file type, you will know that some docs can look a lot better than others.
If you are aiming to up your PDF game from an aesthetic perspective and improve the overall professionalism of your creation, here are some tips to try out.
Adding images to your PDF
Even the most precisely formatted text in the world cannot compete with a PDF that also features images to go along with your carefully-crafted copy. As such, learning how to add images to your PDF is a must.
In short, you can either use your word processing software of choice to do this before exporting the doc as a PDF afterwards, or use a converter to alter an existing PDF after it has already been saved, which is especially useful if you do not have the full version of Acrobat available to you.
Another factor to bear in mind when adding images to a PDF is that you should make sure that they are of a high quality, and not overly compressed. Striking a balance is obviously necessary so that the output file is not unwieldy, but steering clear of low res, excessively compressive snaps is also important.
Considering mobile users
An often overlooked aspect of PDF formatting is that lots of people who view your documents will be doing so from a portable device. This usually involves a lot of pinching, zooming and scrolling, since smaller screens are not as well adapted for the purposes of perusing docs as full-blown desktops and laptops.
If you factor this into the way you put together your docs, typically by making sure that text is broken down into bite sized chunks, and that elements like tables, charts and graphs are narrow enough to be legible when viewed in a portrait orientation, then you will be on the right path. This is much the same as the mobile-friendly revolution that has altered web design in recent years.
Luckily Adobe has added its own automatic adjustment capabilities to Acrobat, known as Liquid Mode, so as long as viewers have an up to date version of the app installed on their device, the power of AI will deconstruct docs as well, but it is best not to rely on this feature.
Picking a consistent color palette
The aesthetics of your PDF will stand or fall based on a few key things, and color choices are amongst the most important.
This is not just about keeping consistent with the colors you select for various formatting elements, but also about thinking about the roles these hues play in a more holistic sense. Using two or three tones that complement one another, rather than going all-out with a rainbow of colors, is best. Likewise if you can reflect your branding with the colors, then this will be a great way to keep things cohesive throughout.
Following on from the discussion of appealing to mobile users with the way you design the layout of your PDF documents, it is worth reiterating that all readers are more likely to remain engaged by your document if it is not just a wall of tightly-knit paragraphs of text.
Not only should you ensure that the text you present is formatted in such a way as to be easy to read in its own right, but you must also give readers breathing space and enough variation in the content on offer to stay interested. Adding images, interactive elements and data presented graphically will help here.
Over time, your PDF skills will flourish, but only if you are willing to put in the effort to spot your mistakes and make improvements.