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PDF Title, Author, Subject, Keywords: Editing PDF metadata in your digital products

    PDF metadata review and edit. (Title, Author, Subject, keywords)

    If you are selling digital products, chances are you have a PDF file somewhere waiting to be downloaded by your customers. Every PDF contains PDF metadata like title, author, subject and keywords; these are information designed for both computer programs and human to easily understand what the PDF is about.

    If you have yet to edit any of your PDF’s metadata, this article will help you understand why you should do that and where to start.


    Should digital product creators care about PDF metadata?

    When computer programs like Google crawlers or document management systems perform their task to identify PDF documents, they tend to look at these metadata to quickly understand what the PDF is about.

    Given this impression that PDF metadata is largely meant for computer programs, it is no surprise why many creators don’t appreciate the importance of metadata.

    When you create a new PDF without updating the metadata, the PDF would simply be an untitled PDF in the eye of computer programs like Google. This is bad for document discovery and SEO, as computer programs will not be able to understand and serve the PDF to the users accordingly.

    Types of PDF metadata

    Here are the most fundamental PDF metadata type and how you should craft them:

    What is PDF title?

    PDF Title tells computer programs (and human readers) the title of your PDF file. This would be “Untitled” by default if you didn’t edit it.

    Please note PDF title metadata is not the same thing as the file name, having a proper file name doesn’t automatically mean your PDF title is updated.

    Recommendation for PDF title:

    • Use something short to medium length (max 40 characters)
    • Avoid usage of special symbols.
    • Include your creator brand in the PDF title

    What is PDF Author?

    PDF Author indicates who creates and / or owns the PDF file.

    You should always make sure the PDF Author metadata is reflecting your creator brand / alias name.

    Having a PDF Author metadata can helps readers easily identify the PDF creator and discover more content from you. This in turns help combat blatant content sharing in the modern internet world.

    What is PDF Subject?

    PDF Subject metadata lets you elaborate more details about the PDF with less limitation on character formatting.

    When Google or other search engines list your PDF on the search result page, they will typically use the PDF subject as the result title.

    As a creator, you can consider including a brief paragraph of benefits and use cases in your PDF Subject metafield.

    What are PDF Keywords?

    You can use PDF Keywords to indicate the topics related to your PDF file. Each PDF file can have multiple keywords, separated by comma(,).

    A document management system might use the PDF Keyword as a way to categorise and organise all your PDF files.

    Tools to edit your PDF metadata (Free & Paid)

    Given the importance of PDF metadata, you should always update them accordingly; and avoid having empty or “untitled” input.

    Here are some of the available paid and free tools for creators to update your PDF metadata.

    Edit PDF metadata with Adobe Acrobat (monthly payment)

    Adobe Acrobat is the most popular PDF editor and viewers. However it does require an ongoing monthly payment to continue using it.

    Adobe Acrobat is suitable for heavy PDF users, especially business users.

    Edit PDF metadata with PDF Candy (free plan available)

    Unlike Adobe Acrobat, PDF Candy is a web-based PDF tools (and you can use it to edit metadata). That means you do not need to install anything, and can simply go to pdfcandy.com in your browser to access it.

    Best of all, it also comes with a free plan for creators just starting out with less requirement to edit PDF files.

    Conclusion

    As a creator or educator, we spend a lot of time crafting our PDF – hoping it can benefit the readers while building our personal branding and credibility online.

    It is a pity if you have perfected just about everything in your PDF, but leave metadata empty or unprofessional with inputs like “untitled” or other non-related brand name. By understanding how the PDF metadata works, you can easily polish up the metadata, set up a custom domain redirect and share your PDF online in a professional manner.