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When and how to publish a PDF and other files on GOV.WALES.

First published:
10 September 2020
Last updated:


You should publish most content as web pages (sometimes known as HTML pages) on GOV.WALES. This means that everyone can use our website.

Introducing accessibility and files

We want as many people as possible to be able to use GOV.WALES. It is important the content we publish is accessible for everyone.

Accessibility regulations (on mean our website must meet accessibility requirements. We must meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.2 AA standard (on

Creating content as web pages means that users do not have to work as hard. It reduces their cognitive load. This is because:

  • all content is in one place, users do not need to download a separate application to read something
  • web pages meet the accessibility standards
  • web pages are easier to navigate
  • web pages are quicker and easier to update than a static PDF document
  • web pages linking to related guidance on another web page gives users a better user journey
  • web pages are easier to use on mobile devices

Your content could be one of the GOV.WALES content types based on HTML, see an example of guidance as a web page.

When to publish a PDF or other file

PDFs and other files may be used in the following cases:

  • high-profile strategic documents
  • forms where a user needs to input information
  • structured data, for example spreadsheets or csv files
  • leaflets or booklets to print and share
  • posters to print and display
  • detailed technical documents unlikely to change
  • content which must be presented in a specific way, such as legislation or Easy Read
  • documents with content which cannot currently be published as HTML, these may include infographics, large tables or maps

If a PDF or other file is published on GOV.WALES, the decision must be based on these and supported by evidence from user research. This makes sure our content is user-focused.


If there is a valid user need to publish a file you must ensure it meets accessibility standards for online documents.


If you are working on something for GOV.WALES, you need to speak to your web manager to discuss the user needs.

Web managers can also contact the Corporate Digital team.