In order to comply with Section 508, EERE has always had a standard formula for linking to PDFs: "Name of File (PDF XX KB). Download Adobe Reader." We have similar standards for linking to native files—or, basically, every other file you can link to. In general, these requirements were made to ensure we provided the necessary plug-ins for our users.
But the internet has changed since our standards were written, and EERE is updating its standards to meet the modern best practices on Web accessibility.
We've combined our linking standards to make a new page: Native File Formats and PDFs. This page explains how to link to both native files and PDFs. In general:
- PDFs now follow the pattern: Name of File. That's it! "Download Adobe Reader" is no longer necessary—Adobe is so widespread there is no need to include a link to the plug-in anymore.
- Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files also have their own icons.
You still need to include the file type and file size if you link to other file types. (Remember: You should never link to anything with only a hyperlink unless it's an HTML page.) But if you're linking PDFs or standard Microsoft files, you can now use the icons.
Please note: You do not need to go back into your old pages and update your links. There's currently no deadline to update your links.
But as you go through your pages and make updates—like you always would—please change your linking styles from the old style to the new one. If you're redesigning your site, you might want to do all of your links at the same time. But if you don't have the time to review your content, please just update your links gradually.