We have our Terms of service available as HTML and PDF. Is there a good reason to keep providing PDF version?

It's extra work:

  • Several languages
  • Privacy policy / tos
  • Room for mistakes between html and pdf

Google for example, doesn't provide PDF for their TOS or Privacy Policy. But is there a good reason to do that (or not)?


1 Answer 1


The goal of a TOS document is legal protection. A plain text / HTML document does this better than a PDF document, so there is little (if any) benefit to including a PDF version.

The UX question should really be about making the TOS more human (rather than lawyer) readable, as that is an area where most sites can improve a lot.

  • Agree on goal. But why a plain text would do it better than a PDF?
    – alesas
    Nov 29, 2012 at 13:47
  • 1
    PDF is a proprietary format and less accessible than plain text. For there to be an agreement you would have to be able to prove that the person could read the document, which is a lot harder for a pdf than plain text.
    – JohnGB
    Nov 29, 2012 at 13:54
  • Totally makes sense!
    – alesas
    Nov 29, 2012 at 14:00
  • And if you have adobe reader, you have a "print to PDF" function on your computer to boot, so a naitive PDF is extra useless
    – Ben Brocka
    Nov 29, 2012 at 15:52

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