comicAlthough web pages are an effective way to present information, there are times when a different type of document may be more effective.

Keep in mind that many applications provide an export option for creating a web page. For example, Inspiration is used to create concept maps, they also provide an option to export the page as a web page. This option creates a single web page along with a folder containing the image. The software Comic Life provides a similar option. See an example of a biography comic. Notice that a launcher page with a thumbnail image is generated along with web pages that contain previous and next buttons.

In some cases, you want to provide end users with a document a specific file format. Let's explore some of the possibilities.

Application Files

You can upload and link to any kind of application file. For example your end users could download spreadsheets created in Excel, reports created in Microsoft Word, or concept maps generated by Inspiration. However keep in mind that if the end user doesn't own the matching application, they won't be able to view the file. As such, you only want to use the raw application file if you want the end user to be able to use or repurpose the document. For example, you might provide a list of summer reading books and a suggestion that end users can add their own favorite books.

excelIf you upload and link to an application file, be sure to provide directions for downloading the file as well as information about the application that is necessary for using the file. You can either create a simple text link or consider using an icon associated with the file type such as an Excel document.

PDF Files

A Portable Document Format (PDF) lets you capture and view information from any application and share it with others. If you're concerned about the formatting of a document, a PDF is a good choice. A PDF file will retain the original formatting including the fonts, images, and alignment. You can also include links and media in PDF document. You can also set up forms that can be completed and returned.

PDF is an open file format developed by Adobe Systems. End users need the Adobe Reader software to read PDF files. Even though most people have this software installed, you should still provide a link to the Adobe website so people can download the software if needed. Learn more about pdf files at wikipedia.

checkRead Why PDF? to learn more about this format.

adobe readerIf you plan to create lots of PDF files, it's a good idea to purchase Adobe Acrobat for creating PDF files. However if you just need to convert a few files, consider a PDF maker software program such as PDF Creator and CutePDF. If you have a Macintosh or some version of Microsoft Windows, you can save as a PDF file. The PDF options is also built-into OpenOffice.

adobe pdfYou can either link to the PDF file, or create a thumbnail image of the PDF and place the link on the image.


PDF document work well for the following types of applications:

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