Bracknell Forest Digital Services

Document usage guide

Please note: These standards are currently in draft, and are likely to change over time and through use.

Content that is likely to be of interest to users must be included as standard web pages, not hidden away as a document.

All documents must be added to the website in PDF format. If you wish to add a document in an alternative format please contact the site administrator.

There are risks associated with publishing content in a non-web format:

  • download times may be unacceptable, particularly for those using old computers, basic internet access or mobile devices
  • dedicated software or a reader ‘plug in’ may be required
  • speech reader software may not be able to interpret documents, thereby denying access to people with visual impairment

When to use a PDF document

The following are examples of when to use a PDF document:

  • information too long for a web page
  • official council documents, for example strategies and reports (these should be included in the ‘Strategies, plans and policies’ section)
  • documents users are likely to print
  • documents likely to be of very specialist interest only
  • information in a format too complicated to translate to a web page
  • documents which users require in their original printed format
  • documents that are created in other web enabled applications, such as committee documents published online using Modern.Gov

When not to use a PDF document

The following are examples of when not to use a PDF document:

  • information needs to be clearly visible and front-end
  • when documents hold important information such as prices and opening times
  • the document is a form – can this be created as an online form instead?

Document properties

Make sure you enter the following into the properties section of the document:

  • Advanced > set the language
  • a descriptive title
  • the author should be set to “Bracknell Forest Council”
  • Document properties > make sure the security settings of the document allow for assistive technologies to extract text
  • Document properties > Initial view > “Show” should be set to “Document Title”
  • Advanced > add accessibility tags

Use headings

Use the heading styles in Word to create a logical document structure. Don’t increase the size of text or make it bold to create the appearance of headings.

Use built in features within the authoring tool to define headings, paragraph text, lists, tables, alternative text for images etc.

Links within PDFs

PDFs should not contain any active links. Before publishing a PDF, please use the ‘Remove web links’ tool.

How to present documents

When adding documents to the website the filename must match the link text given wherever possible. For example bracknell-forest-council-annual-report.pdf would be Bracknell Forest Council annual report.

Documents can be added in three ways:

  • as a list at the end of the page, under a heading eg supporting documents (where the strategies, plans and policies section is not appropriate)
  • using the document style on the page, within the content

If you are unsure how best to present a document, please contact Digital Services.

Strategies, plans and policies section

The strategies, plans and policies section should be used to hold documents that are not of immediate relevance to the content of the page.

Include documents such as:

  • annual reports
  • strategy documents
  • policy documents
  • action plans

If you require any additional pages to be added to the structure of this section, please contact Digital Services.

PDF checklist

Please ensure that you follow this checklist when adding a document to the website:

  • question whether the content needs to be a PDF – can it be added to a page
  • present documents appropriately on the page – consider the importance of the document to the content
  • the maximum file size is 15MB – please optimize the PDF for the web before publishing
  • every PDF file must show the size of the file on the page from which it is downloaded (this is automatically applied by the CMS)
  • PDF files must be named using lower case letters with hyphens separating words
  • links should be removed from PDFs
  • document properties should be set as above
  • all documents must have accessibility tags – these contain information about document structure and substantially increase accessibility