Tracking PDFs: From Setup to Reporting

Tracking PDFs: From Setup to Reporting
PDFs are one of the most commonly used file formats for sharing information, documents, and images. They are widely used in the business world for sending reports, invoices, and contracts. One of the challenges associated with PDFs is that they cannot be tracked as easily as other types of digital content. However, with the right tools and techniques, it is possible to track PDFs and gain valuable insights into how they are being used.
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about tracking PDFs, from set up to reporting.

1. Set up tracking for your PDFs

The first step in tracking your PDFs is to set up some tracking tools. There are a few different options available for tracking PDFs, including Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, and custom tracking solutions. Here are the steps to set up tracking for your PDFs using Google Analytics.

Step 1: Create a Google Analytics account

If you don’t already have a Google Analytics account, you will need to create one. Go to the Google Analytics website and follow the steps to create an account.

Step 2: Set up a new property

Once you have created your account, you need to set up a new property. Click on the Admin tab and then click on the Create Property button.

Step 3: Create a PDF view

Next, you need to create a new PDF view. Click on the Create View button and then select PDF as the type of view.

Step 4: Get the tracking code

Now, you need to get the tracking code for your PDF view. Click on the Tracking Info tab and then click on the Tracking Code option. Copy the tracking code from the box that appears.

Step 5: Add the code to your PDF

Finally, you need to add the tracking code to your PDF. You can do this by adding it to the JavaScript of the PDF. This can be done manually or with the help of a PDF editor.

2. Track your PDFs

Once you have set up tracking for your PDFs, it’s time to start tracking them. Here are some of the things you can track.


You can track how many people are viewing your PDFs by using Google Analytics. Simply go to your PDF view and look for the Pageviews section. This will show you how many times your PDF has been viewed.


You can also track how many times your PDF has been downloaded. To do this, you need to track clicks on the download link. You can use Google Analytics Event Tracking for this.

3. Time spent on the document

You can also track how much time people are spending on your PDFs. To do this, you need to set up Google Analytics Custom Metrics. You can then track how long people are spending on each page of your PDF.

4. Clicks on links

You can also track how many clicks are happening on links within your PDF. To do this, you need to track clicks on those links using Google Analytics Event Tracking.

3. Analyze the data

Once you have started tracking your PDFs, you need to analyze the data. Look for patterns and trends in the data, such as which PDFs are being viewed the most, which pages are being spent the most time on, and which links are being clicked the most.
You can use this information to optimize your PDFs and make changes that will increase engagement and conversions. For example, you may want to add more links to your PDFs if people are clicking on them a lot, or you may want to make changes to the layout if people are spending more time on certain pages.

4. Report on the data

The final step is to report on the data. Use the data to create reports that will help you make informed decisions about your PDFs. For example, you can create a report that shows which PDFs are the most popular and which ones are not getting as much engagement. You can then use this information to improve your PDFs and make them more effective.


Tracking PDFs is an important step in understanding how your content is being consumed and how it can be improved. With the right tools and techniques, you can set up tracking for your PDFs, analyze the data, and make informed decisions that will help you improve your PDFs and increase engagement.

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