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

EERE Communication Standards & Guidelines


PDFs make up a large portion of EERE's Web content. This section includes EERE's requirements for creating and linking to PDFs, as well as the best practices for creating, finalizing, and optimizing PDFs.


The following elements are required on all PDFs.


PDFs should be made as accessible as possible either through native document tagging or the "Make Accessible" plug-in in Adobe Acrobat.


Create PDFs to be compatible with Adobe Reader XI or lower.


All PDFs must be stored in a /pdfs/ sub-directory.

Linking to PDFs

When linking a PDF, link the full name of the file and include EERE's PDF icon before or after the link. See all of the requirements and best practices for linking to Native File Formats and PDFs.

Meta Fields

To optimize PDFs for search engines, title and subject meta fields should be filled out. Learn about best practices for filling out PDF meta fields.

Naming your PDF File

Remember to follow the file naming conventions when creating your PDF.

Open View

PDFs should be set to open as follows:

  1. Magnification – Fit Width
  2. Page Layout – single page
  3. For PDFs that are two or more pages, thumbnails or bookmarks navigation panes should be open

Scanned PDFs

Scanned PDFs, where the entire content of the PDF is an image, cannot be read by screen readers. If you post a scanned PDF, you must include a text version.

Thumbnails and Bookmarks

To enhance usability, embedded thumbnails are required on PDFs that are two or more pages.

Bookmarks are strongly recommended for documents that are more than 16 pages.

Best Practices

See the following pages for more detailed instructions on these topics.