U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

EERE Communication Standards & Guidelines

Finalizing PDFs to EERE Standards

This page describes the best practices for finalizing PDFs to EERE's standards. Once your PDF has been created, follow these steps to make it fully compliant with EERE standards.

Check the Fonts

Before you begin, make sure that your copy of Adobe is not using local fonts. You only have to do this once:

  • Under Edit > Preferences > Page Display, make sure Use Local Fonts is unchecked.

This forces substitution so you can view the effects of substitution. Then check the fonts on your document.

  • Choose File > Properties and navigate to the "Fonts" tab to verify that all fonts are Embedded or Subset.
  • If they aren't, check the PDF page by page. Be sure to look for font substitution issues such as garbled/missing characters, or boxes for symbols.

Note: If you're merging multiple PDFs together, avoid subsetting.

Proof the PDF

Check the PDF page by page.

  • Scroll through the document and look at every page. Look for missing items from charts such as legends and axis titles, which sometimes disappear due to incorrect object re-ordering that can result from the tagging process for accessibility.
  • Look for PDF distortions such as patterns and shading that differ from the native file.
  • Look for slow-loading graphics. This is usually a raster image with a transparent background or a chart with complex blends or patterns. If you encounter one, you will need a designer to fix the image.
  • Links to a different drives will default to absolute links. Make sure the files you're linking to reside on same network drives.
  • Under Tools > Content, select "Link." Verify that all link boxes are in the appropriate places.
  • Verify that all links work.
  • Verify that bookmarks are valid and meaningful.

Thumbnails and Bookmarks

Based on the size of your file, it will need either thumbnails or bookmarks.

Documents with Fewer than 16 Pages and No Table of Contents

Open the Pages panel and choose Embed All Thumbnails. You do not need to create bookmarks.

Documents with More than 16 Pages or a Table of Contents

  • Do not embed thumbnails.
  • Go to the "Bookmarks" panel. Create bookmarks. Use your best judgment when deciding how many bookmarks are necessary.

Set the Initial View

This will determine what the PDF looks like when it's opened.

Documents with Fewer than 16 Pages and No Table of Contents

  • Go to File > Properties and navigate to the "Initial View" tab.
  • Set Initial View to "Pages Panel and Page."
  • Set Magnification to:
    • "Fit Page" if document is a screen-sized presentation.
    • "Fit Width" for all other documents
    • Set Page Layout to "Single Page."

Documents with More than 16 Pages or a Table of Contents

  • Go to File > Properties and navigate to the "Initial View" tab.
  • Set Initial View to "Bookmarks Panel and Page."
  • Set Magnification to:
    • "Fit Page" if document is a screen-sized presentation.
    • "Fit Width" for all other documents
    • Set Page Layout to "Single Page."

Enter Metadata

  • Go to File > Properties. You can edit the metadata directly from this page. You can also select "Additional Metadata" and enter it there.
    • Title should be the title, written exactly as it appears on the document.
    • Subject should be a summary of the document. It should be at least 71 characters long (including spaces) and should not exceed 200 characters. The most important words should be in the first 150 characters.

Accessibility

Verify accessibility. Go to File > Properties. At the bottom, it should say either Tagged PDF: Yes or Tagged PDF: No. If it is not tagged: Save a copy of the untagged PDF.

  • Go to Tools > Accessibility and select Add Tags to Document.
    • If the procedure completes without an error, carefully review the PDF again for any new anomalies occurring from the process. Possible errors include URL links truncating at the pound sign and corrupt layer order on graphics and charts, so elements appear to be missing or covered by something else.
    • If there are anomalies which you are unable to repair or if the process produces an error screen, Revert back to the saved PDF. These changes are irreversible, so be sure not to overwrite the previous file until you are certain the PDF survived the tagging process.

Optimize the PDF

Go to File > Save As and save the file. This will automatically re-optimize the file.