Best way to keep PDF's offline on a mobile device

I’m currently researching this but wondering if anyone can help point in the right direction.

I want to allow people to connect to a website and download PDF files and then view them when they’re offline. I have most of this system already set up, explained below.

The PDF files are automatically generated by the system and relate each to a job that needs completing, so each one is unique.

Currently the website is set up and people can view the PDF files and of course print them, but there is no offline access.

All access is done using mobile phones (recent and older ones) and compatibility with these is very important.

I am thinking of the following:

(1) When they go to view the usual page, they will be able to see it if they have an internet connection. If not they will see another page (I’m guessing HTML 5 offline storage can do this???).

(2) When they view this page online, they are also offered the file to download (rather than view and print). I’m guessing this is possible. I know many older mobiles just offer download anyway as they struggle to display (not iOS of course).

(3) When they access the page offline, what appears is a list of all the PDF files they have previously downloaded . They can then view these.

Another important thing is that each job has a unique ‘job’ number and the filenames account for this (e.g. 234319.pdf) - and whenever anyone goes onto the online system, I want an updated file to be produced (as adjustments can often be made), and this must overwrite the old one.

So the idea is they go online, pull off the latest files for each job (which overwrites any old job files) and then they can view these when offline.

The great thing is I can just tell people to access and they will either see the online or the offline version. As we are a company, simple instructions to employees always helps with its take up.

Is the above possible or is there a better method, and if above sounds good can all this be done with PHP / HTML 5 etc. or is there a cross-device app (iOS, Android, BB etc.) that can control all this?

Offline access is important as some people will only be able to access at company headquarters (where they can download), but will need to view when out and about.

Anyone have any thoughts?


If you have control over the server there is a way to serve up files as an attachment, which the browser recognizes should be saved to the device rather than viewed in the browser itself. Here’s a resource that may help.

If the devices are offline you may have trouble with them viewing the site at all, much less be able to click on a link to a file on a cached web page. However, if your users can download the file to their device while online, it will of course be available while offline. I believe PDF files will save to and open in iBooks on the iPhone, for example. I’m sure Android devices have something similar.

Don’t know if that helps or not. :slight_smile: