Naming PDFs: *

Most people don't realize that downloading, then reading a PDF in a browser is way different that doing the same thing on your computer. For starters, the actual name of the PDF file comes into "play" in a browser's rendering meaning that if you don't name your PDF correctly according to the rules below, you may not be able to bring it up and read it.

So, when naming a PDF follow these rules:

Use numbers and basic alphabet characters only

  • Do not use non-standard characters like a pound sign (#) or ampersand (&) as these will prevent you from downloading the PDF since the browser thinks it's not a PDF but a computer program or widget that uses those characters as code.

    Here is an example of using a non-standard character in a PDF file name:

    Programs & Degrees.pdf

Spaces in a file name are also not acceptable

The browser automatically generates these characters for each space in a file name: %20.  It looks like this:

  • Programs%20and%20Information.pdf

Users think the "%20" are necessary parts of the URL and that makes it confusing.

Use dashes

To separate words and dates in a file name, use a dash:

  • programs-degrees-summer-2013.pdf

    ^ Note no spaces before or after the dashes.

Lose the underscore too:

While it's OK to use an underscore to separate words and numbers, it has a confusing element when a user uses their mouse to hover over the link and the hover underline makes the underscores disappear.

* same rules apply to naming images.