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Should PDFs be a necessary part of a news site?

The advantage of reading news on the net is that anyone can read exactly what they want without leafing through huge newspaper pages or sitting through long broadcasts. A PDF version of a newspaper is a great way to bridge the gap between the print and online product and gives readers the news they want in a compact format.

A PDF or Portable Document Format is a file format developed by Adobe that packs text, graphics and fonts into a single file. A PDF document is somewhat similar to HTML and may contain hyperlinks and multimedia elements and can be downloaded and printed or saved for later reading.

Metro Newspapers offers PDFs of its Silicon Valley, Santa Cruz, and North Bay California papers. The UK-based Telegraph has archived PDF versions of its afternoon paper Telegraph pm as does the Santa Monica Daily Press. Find more magazine PDFs here.

So how do you do it? A talented copy editor can layout selected stories and images and, depending on the program being used, export the file to Adobe PDF. The file can be uploaded to your site and made available as a link.

If you don’t have a copy editor to spare, xFruits offers a unique tool that converts your RSS feeds into a handy, though not as visually appealing, interactive document in a few minutes. Imagine offering users a sports section dedicated exclusively to their favorite team, based on an existing RSS feed. In order to work properly, the RSS feed must include content, not just a link to the article. Check out the xFruits-created 10,000 words PDF here.

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