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The Importance and Use of Metadata in HTML to PDF Conversion

September 7, 2021
Author
Inkit Team

Metadata is used both in HTML and PDF files. This information includes valuable details about the document title, its subject, creators, keywords, hidden layers, etc. Metadata enhances the accessibility of the document, makes it better searchable, and optimizes document management.

The problem is that during HTML to PDF conversion, some source metadata can be lost. Low-quality open-source converters don’t always preserve the original metadata and fail to add the necessary details to PDFs. As a result, you get PDF files without critical information. You know nothing about their authors, content, or conversion software.

Hence, if you can configure automated metadata adding, we recommend doing that. With the right software, you can automatically transfer HTML metadata to PDF and save essential details about the conversion.

What Is Metadata in HTML and PDF?

Definitions state that metadata is data about data, but what does it mean? When it comes to Python HTML to PDF conversion, metadata is information about the converted and generated files. It provides details about the processed documents and the rendering process.

It’s important to note that HTML and PDF files can both include metadata. HTML documents have a so-called head that contains metadata information such as author, page title, important keywords, links to CSS, and links to custom favicons. In PDFs, metadata is saved in file properties. PDF metadata includes the document title, author, subject, keywords, application name, date of creation, and hidden layers. A PDF with comprehensive metadata may also have metadata information about embedded content, attached files, review and comment data, scripts, hidden data from previous document saves, etc.

Converting HTML to PDF, you might want to preserve some of these details. That’s why below we’ll explain how to view PDF metadata and keep it during document rendering.

HTML and PDF

How to View PDF Metadata

The simplest way to make sure the generated PDF documents include the necessary meta-information is to view PDF metadata. You can do it manually using Adobe Acrobat or retrieve the information about a PDF conversion from rendering software.

To view PDF metadata in Adobe Acrobat

  1. Open the generated PDF file.
  2. Click File > Properties.
  3. Select the tab Document Properties in the dialog box.

Note. In Adobe Acrobat, the document properties contain the basic information about the PDF. Some of the information you can change, other properties are generated automatically and cannot be modified. The title, subject, author, and keywords are customizable. The PDF version, number of pages, page size, tagging are unchanged. To edit PDF metadata manually, you can go to the Properties > Description tab > Additional Metadata.

To view PDF metadata in HTML to PDF converters like Inkit Render

  1. Open the main dashboard of the rendering tool.
  2. Go to the API requests section.
  3. Complete the Retrieve request to view the metadata information about the generated file and conversion.

Learn How to Use HTML to PDF Converters to Create Digital Magazines

There are also web PDF metadata viewers that can be used to see the information about a PDF. They can partially substitute Adobe Acrobat but have much more limited functionality than Python HTML to PDF or other automated converters. Python HTML to PDF converters automatically transfer information about the HTML file to PDF file properties and store other valuable details about rendering. You can see who has completed the conversion and when.

Note. You can select any programming language of your choice when integrating Inkit Render’s HTML to PDF rendering API:  C, C#, C++, Clojure, cURL, Go, Java, JavaScript, Kotlin, Node, Objective-C, OCaml, PHP, PowerShell, Python, R, Ruby, Swift. Find the complete list here.

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What Happens with Metadata During HTML to PDF Conversion

Quality rendering tools automatically convert HTML keeping all the details about the file. The metadata is extracted from the content of HTML meta tags.

The <title> HTML element is kept as a title in the generated PDF. The <meta> elements in HTML are used to specify other details about the PDF, including author, subject, HTML keywords list PDF, date, and rendering application. The converter also automatically updates PDF metadata with the information about the conversion.

This way, you can automatically convert large volumes of documents without losing metadata. You won’t have to add them later manually or face document management problems because of missing metadata information.

Why PDF Metadata Is Important

Is adding metadata to web page HTML and PDF documents mandatory? No, you can do without it. Yet, PDF documents without metadata have lower quality and efficiency than PDFs that include metadata information. The title, HTML keywords list, PDF converter’s name, and other details bring many benefits.

Here’s why you should preserve metadata during the HTML and CSS to PDF conversion:

Better Identification

If you have created the document long ago, you may not remember what it is all about. Metadata provides vital information about the file. You can learn the time and date of document creation, author, and content to understand its purpose much quicker. For the same reason, metadata also improves the cooperation between teams since employees can track the document history. For example, if you need to know who was the one to render the HTML source to PDF and send it to the customer, you can learn that.

Accessibility Standards Compliance

PDF metadata is a requirement for meeting certain accessibility standards. According to these standards, not the file name but the PDF title must be displayed when a user opens the document. Besides, if you need to comply with the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) standard, you will have to follow other rules, like avoid some types of characters in the Title.

Enhanced Searchability

The keywords section included in HTML metadata helps search engines to read the content of the document. Thanks to it, they can describe the web page in search, which benefits search engine optimization. Even though recent Google algorithms have devalued HTML keywords, rankings might still take them into account.

PDF Metadata

Increased Accuracy

When PDF files don’t have titles, the filename is shown in web results instead of the title. Since the title and name of the file don’t always match, it can be a problem. To avoid such issues, we recommend including metadata information.

Learn How to Preserve the Format During HTML to PDF Conversion

Optimized Document Management

If you want to classify files in the document management system, metadata is particularly helpful. It enables you to filter and categorize the generated PDFs, arranging their file names alphabetically, by creation date, or by author. You can also quickly locate the necessary file using search.

In case you use an automated HTML to PDF converter, document management optimization is maximized. Apart from automated metadata adding, they also automatically store the generated files in the specified locations. It makes document management processes highly automated and reduces the risk of human error or data loss.

How Inkit’s HTML to PDF Rendering API Handles Metadata

Render in an HTML to PDF converter provided by Inkit. It’s an API you can integrate with your current software to power it with automated HTML to PDF rendering. Render works with applications written in top used languages, including Python programming language, Java, JS, C#, PHP, Ruby, and others.

As to metadata, Inkit automatically transfers metadata information from HTML to PDF. With the Retrieve request, you can obtain all the details about the generated PDF files and conversion.

Would you like to see how Inkit Render works? Check out its documentation or contact us to get the demo.

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