Webmasters Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for pro webmasters. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I want to show the user that a hyperlink links to a PDF file (or Word/PowerPoint etc.).

Here are some methods I've considered:

Farming Report (PDF)

Farming Report (PDF, 52K)

Alternatively, I've thought about using icons:

enter image description here enter image description here

(Examples from these pages: Making hyperlink icons with CSS, Showing hyperlink cues with CSS)

What's the accepted, standard and accessible way of doing this? Are there any guidelines available somewhere?

share|improve this question
I like this format - "Farming Report (PDF, 52K)" without any icons. It makes the file type evident even in low-bandwith scenarios or when viewed through mobile devices. – mvark Aug 31 '11 at 3:58
I'd second that. The inclusion of information on the size of the file can have a big difference on whether (or simply when) people choose to download it as well, so that's really useful. – Mal Ross Jan 25 '13 at 15:17
up vote 3 down vote accepted

There is no standard and accepted way of doing this.

Your examples are good ways to accomplish this. An alternative is to show a PDF icon after the link to indicate it links to a PDF document. You'll see many sites doing the same thing with external links. The page you linked to shows good examples of this. This page provides lots of icons you can use.

share|improve this answer
Interesting - you've used my second example page. – Umber Ferrule Aug 30 '11 at 14:50
Indeed I did. I think that's a good indication that it is a good resource. – John Conde Aug 30 '11 at 14:53
Fair enough! :) – Umber Ferrule Aug 30 '11 at 15:54

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.