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Link to External Documents

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If you have documents  such as PDFs and Word documents stored externally you can link to those documents from your site. 

If you have a large quantity of documents, we recommend hosting them externally on Google Drive for storing and managing them. However, you can also upload and store documents directly on your site using the Media Library. For instructions on adding documents to your media library, see Adding a file. When documents are stored on your site they will be available for accessibility scanning by Siteimprove

Give your document link an accessible name

Clicking on a link to a document, such as a PDF or Word document, is different from clicking on a link to another page on a site. When you click on the document link, it can open or download the document. If you're not expecting it, the appearance of the document can be surprising or inconvenient. If you have limited bandwidth or space on your device, a downloaded document can be troublesome. 

When creating a link, the text should identify the purpose of the link and allow users to decide if they want to follow the link. The text for a link to a document should convey the title, document type, and size; using these in the link text makes it possible to meet WCAG 2.0 2.4.4.

We suggest providing the document name, type, and size as follows:
[name] ([document type], [size]).

For example: Sample document (PDF, 1MB)

Documents hosted on your site

For files such as PDFs and Word documents that are hosted in your media library you can:

  1. Embed them as you would an image or other media 
  2. Link to them as you would link another page on your site. 

Link to external documents

When linking to a document hosted externally, it is linked to as a URL and not as a media file.

To Link to a file in Google Drive or Box:

  1. Navigate to the file
  2. Copy the URL
  3. Add the link using the steps in the section Add links to text within a text area

Ensure all files are accessible

All content linked to on your site must be accessible to assistive technology such as screen readers. This includes PDF, Word, and PowerPoint files.