On of the most powerful features of a digital signage CMS is the ability to display multiple file types such as images, videos, PowerPoints, and many others. When it comes to PDFs though, there are several important criteria to keep in mind.
In this Knowledgebase Article, we’ll take a look at ways to improve how your PDFs interact with digital signage and increase their effectiveness for your audience.
Why Optimize Your PDFs?
Digital signage screens come in various sizes and resolutions, and they may be powered by hardware with different capabilities.
To ensure that your PDF content looks great and loads quickly on these screens, optimization & linearization is crucial. Here are some key reasons to optimize PDFs for digital signage:
- Faster Loading Times: Optimized PDFs load faster, reducing the time it takes for content to appear on the screen.
- Consistent Playback: Optimization ensures that your content displays consistently across different screens and devices.
- Lower Resource Consumption: Optimized files consume fewer system resources, which can improve the overall performance of your digital signage system.
There are two aspects to consider when you use PDFs on your digital displays; the practical and technical sides.
When you are looking top optimize your PDFs, real life applications should take the forefront. This can include considerations such as:
- Is there too much text to read on a single page?
- Are there too many pages on the PDF?
- Is the sizing correct?
When choosing what PDF content to show, we suggest:
- Use high-contrast color combinations for text and background to improve visibility
- Limit text contents by keeping text concise and to the point
- Keep in mind viewers may be a varying distances from the screen. Ensure that text & graphics are visible from a distance
- The amount of pages on your PDF should be no more than 20 pages. Given an average of 10 seconds per page, anything more than that will lower audience attention
Follow these steps to prepare your PDF files for optimal playback:
1. Compress Images
Images on your PDF can significantly impact the size of your file. Compression helps reduce file size while maintaining acceptable image quality.
2. Embed Your Fonts
Ensure that all fonts used in your PDF are embedded. This ensure that text displays correctly on the digital signage screen.
3. Use The Right Software
The software you use when creating or optimizing PDFs is a critical aspect of the process. Make sure that your chosen software (such as Adobe Acrobat) has the correct functions to optimize & linearize your files.
4. Optimize For Screen Resolution
Adjust the resolution and dimensions of your PDF to match the screen resolution of your display. This helps prevent scaling issues and ensures your content fits the screen perfectly.
5. Linearize The PDF
This last step is one of the most important. Linearization is a process that allows a PDF to be viewed as it downloads. This ensures that the initial part of the PDF is displayed quickly, while the rest continues to load in the background. We’ll discuss this further in the next section.
As mentioned above, linearization is a process that allows for quick viewing of your PDF during the download and viewing process. Also known as “fast web view”, this restructures the internal organization of the PDF by showing the essential content to appear first.
How To Linearize Your PDF
The process of linearization involves specific settings and tools. A general outline of the process is:
- Use the Right Software: Begin by opening your PDF in a PDF editor or converter that supports linearization. Popular software like Adobe Acrobat provides this feature.
- Enable Linearization: Look for an option to enable linearization within the software. It might be labeled as “Optimize for the Web” or “Fast Web View.”
- Save the Linearized PDF: After enabling linearization, save the PDF with the changes applied. This will create a linearized version of your document.
- Test the Linearized PDF: Before deploying it on your digital signage, test the linearized PDF to ensure that it loads progressively and displays as expected.
Testing & Final Steps
Once you have optimized and linearized your PDFs, you’ll just need to do real-world testing. Upload the PDF to your digital signage display and sit through the entire presentation. Keep note on if anything is hard to read, there are load issues, or if anything is illegible/not enough time to read.
Remember that the design of your PDFs should align with the goals of your digital signage, whether it’s to inform, promote, or engage your audience. It’s also essential to consider the context and viewing environment to create content that effectively communicates your message.
Regularly reviewing and updating your content based on audience feedback and performance analytics will help you continuously improve your digital signage design.