Depending on the type of products you offer, you may need to provide electronic publications or documents to customers such as product instructions, sizing charts, warranty notices, etc.

An easy way to present published material is with Adobe's PDF file format. This file format can be read by any modern computer operating system either through built-in plug-ins or via Adobe's free Acrobat Reader application.

Instead of emailing attachments to customers or requiring them to download PDF files, you can embed a standard Adobe PDF file on your storefront using a custom product category and some HTML.

Uploading the File

Before embedding the PDF file or creating the category that will display it, the PDF must be made available online. You can do this by uploading the PDF file to your store via FTP. For information on how to set up, configure, and use your store's FTP features, see How to Use Your Volusion FTP (SFTP) Account.

Creating the Custom Category

First, you need to designate an area on your storefront to display the PDF contents by creating a custom category in your Admin Area.

Typically, categories are used to contain or filter products hosted within your store. However, categories can be used to host other content such as text, HTML, image, and more. Categories can be easily linked to your store's navigation menus to allow visitors and search engines to find them easily.

To create a category to display custom content, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Inventory > Categories.
  2. Click Add.
  3. Define a Category Name and enter the menu in which it is to be displayed.
  4. In the category's SEO settings area, enter appropriate values for all SEO fields available.
  5. In the category's description area, enter the HTML code to embed the PDF file into the Category Description field (see below).
  6. When finished, save your changes.

Embedding the PDF Using HTML

There are several ways to embed a PDF file into your storefront with HTML; the following is the most straightforward.

<embed src="complete_path_to_your_PDF_file.pdf" width="500" height="375">

In this case, the text, complete_path_to_your_PDF_file.pdf will need to be replaced with the exact path within your store's file structure to the PDF (for example, /v/vspfiles/images/sizing_chart.pdf).

Additionally, other settings within the object code can be modified (such as the width and height values) to modify how the PDF content is displayed within the category. HTML tags such as <center> can also be used to further modify how the content is displayed.

Linking to a PDF Directly From a Category Title

You can use the Alternate URL file on individual categories to link directly to a PDF file.

  1. Have the complete_path_to_your_PDF_file.pdf (see above) file path available in your clipboard.
  2. Go to Inventory > Categories and open the category record that you want to link to your PDF file.
  3. Scroll to Advanced Info and open the Misc tab. Paste the file path to your PDF in the Alternate URL field and Save.

Note that when using subcategories, you can only link to a PDF file when using a text-based SubCategory Display Mode 1. If you are using either of the SubCategory Display Mode 2 display selections (Thumbnails  or Category Graphics), then the PDF popup will not work.

Note on Using PDF Files

The PDF file format is a proprietary file type owned by Adobe, Inc. While widely used and regarded as a software standard, keep in mind that some online shoppers may not have the necessary plugins on their web browsers to view PDF content.

In these cases, generally a notice will be issued by their browser that a PDF reader plugin from Adobe Inc. is required in order to view this content.

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