Troubleshooting tips for PDF layout

While Qwilr was built for the web, we know sometimes your clients still need a PDF copy. We built our PDF export tool for that need. Translating the web to print can be finicky, though, and sometimes things may not translate exactly the way you're hoping. Here are some troubleshooting steps to get the best PDF experience possible.

Note: We always recommend sharing the web version of your Qwilr Page whenever possible. This allows you to track activity in your analytics and gives your clients the best experience, with mobile views, interactive videos and embeds, and all the other great Qwilr benefits.

Using the PDF previewer

Make sure you're using the PDF Preview option to get a sense of how your PDF will look. There are a couple of ways to access the preview. First, while you're editing a page you can click the Download PDF icon at the top right corner.Alternatively, on the dashboard you can click the More Actions icon (3 dots) for any page. Then choose Create PDF from the drop-down menu.

That will open the PDF preview, which displays what the PDF will look like. You'll be able to identify what refinements you might want to make before downloading.

You can also make changes to a number of format settings here, and these will affect the layout of your PDF.

PDF display vs. screen display

The on-screen version of your page is likely to look a bit different than the PDF version. Again, translation between the web format and a static PDF format can be tricky. Qwilr is designed to prioritize the on-screen display.

Sometimes you might have a situation where your client prefers to get a PDF version of your page. You might need to tweak the web version to optimize it for the PDF display - and this can sometimes make the web version look less optimal. 

In these cases, we recommend cloning the page and then optimizing the clone for PDF. That way you still have the original version that looks great on the web. 

Compact layout vs. Presentation layout

We set the PDF downloader to a compact layout format by default. This format will aim to create a PDF with as few pages as possible. 

Compact layout:

  • Blocks in the web page can appear together on the same PDF page.
  • The overall font sizes and line spacing will be made a bit smaller.
  • Content in a 2-column widget may be stacked in the PDF instead of side by side.

For a more spacious PDF, you can turn the compact layout off and use the Presentation layout.

Presentation layout:

  • Each block in the web page starts a new PDF page.
  • Font sizes and spacing will be made a bit larger.
  • Content in a 2-column widget will be side by side in the PDF.

Adjusting page breaks

If you're seeing page breaks in the PDF that need adjustment, here are the best ways to do that:

You can check the effect of these changes by returning to the PDF previewer.

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