Adding a document for download

When adding a document for download there are a number of things you need to consider:

What type of file should I use? PDF or Word?

PDF is generally considered to be the most accessible document format and should be used whenever possible.

What should I call the document?

Always try to make the document file name meaningful and avoid spaces between words. You should instead use hyphens or merge words together.

How should I ‘signpost' a downloadable document?

All downloadable documents on web pages must be listed in a special area at the foot of each page, and not entered directly into the main content area.

This is to ensure that all downloadable documents are clearly identified on each page, and there is a consistent, accessible approach to providing these links on the site.

A specific area for a list of downloadable documents to be shown is available in RedDot. This area is named "Downloadable document content". When this area is set to be shown, using "Display downloadable documents", a box will appear with a title and link to our downloads page already created.

Each link must then be created inside the box using a bulleted list. Each document must be given its full title, format, and size. The size of the document should be displayed in either kilobytes (kb) or megabytes (mb) and rounded up to a whole number, so enter 80kb rather than 79.5kb and 1.2mb rather than 1180kb.

Do not use any formatting such as bold, italic or colours in this area.

For example:

  • Application for rate relief (Microsoft Word format, 80kb)

All of this text must be set as the link. Please maintain this exact format for the downloadable links. No extra text, warnings, or other information may be entered into the download area box. All content in the download area must be a link.

Use the following text exactly to describe the various document types:

  • Microsoft Word format
  • Microsoft Excel format
  • Microsoft PowerPoint format
  • Adobe PDF format
  • MP3 format
  • ZIP format
  • JPEG format 

All newly created content must be in this format. If you update an old page, the document links must also be updated to this format. Workflows will be rejected if this requirement is not complied with.

Please note: exceptions to this rule may be made if the type of page and its content is suitable. Please contact the web team before creating new content to check if this is allowed.

As always, all documents that are to be posted on the website must comply with corporate branding guidelines.

Newer versions of Microsoft Office documents

More and more people will be having their computers updated over the coming months to use more recent versions of Windows and Microsoft Office.

Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations created in these later versions will have the following file extensions: docx, xlsx and pptx / ppsx.

These files will not open on computers that have older versions of Microsoft Office unless they have installed a special plugin.

If you need to put a Word, Excel or PowerPoint file on to the website please do not use these file extensions that end with an 'x', instead resave the file.

For example, in Word you would choose Save As and Select Word 97-2003 Document in the Save as type list. Any docx, xlsx and pptx / ppsx files that are submitted to workflow will be sent back to authors to be changed.

  • Right: This-is-my-file.doc
  • Wrong: This-is-my-file.docx

Adobe accessibility resources

Creating accessible electronic documents requires more than specialised authoring tools, authors must begin with accessibility in mind. The Adobe Accessibility Resource Centre provides lots of detailed information on how to do this including a useful guide entitled 'A Guide for Publishing PDF Documents for Use by People with Disabilities'.

Downloadable documents

If you are unable to view documents of these types, our downloads page provides links to viewing software.

This page was last updated on 11 April 2012

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