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Creating an accompanying PDF for your online course can be a great way to provide your students with additional resources and support. Not only can PDF’s help to reinforce the content of your course curriculum, but they can also serve as valuable references for your students to return to in the future. In this post, I’ll give you some tips and best practices for creating an effective online course PDF.

When creating this kind of PDF, it’s important to keep your students top of mind. Think about the types of resources and support that would be most helpful to your students who are participating in this course, and structure your PDF accordingly. You may want to create PDF checklists, worksheets, or additional reading materials. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that your PDF is visually appealing and easy to navigate, so that your students can quickly find the information they need.

Fortunately, there are a variety of tools and resources available to help you create an online course PDF, even if you don’t have a background in design or publishing. From templates and themes to online design tools, there are plenty of options to choose from. In the following sections, we’ll explore some of these tools and provide tips for creating effective and visually appealing PDF’s for your online course.

Creating Your Online Course PDF

Software For Creating Your Online Course PDF

When creating a PDF, you need to choose the right software to make it easy and efficient for you to create and design. Some of the popular software options include:


Canva is a free online graphic design tool that offers a range of templates for creating checklists, guides, and other PDF’s.

Google Docs

Google Docs is part of Google suite of Google Drive apps, and can be used to create simple PDFs.

You can choose from Google’s templates or create your own Google doc from scratch with copy, images, Google Drawings, charts, etc.

There is other paid software, such as Adobe InDesign, which can be used to create PDF’s for your online course.

Choose the software that best suits your needs and budget.

Formatting Your Course PDF

When formatting your course PDF, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Use a consistent layout: Use a consistent layout throughout the PDF to make it easy to navigate and read.
  • Choose a readable font: Choose a font that is easy to read and use a font size of at least 12 points. Try to choose no more than 2 fonts for your PDF – one for headers, one for the body.
  • Add visuals: Add images, charts, and other visuals to make the PDF more engaging and visually appealing.
  • Include a table of contents: Include a table of contents to make it easy for readers to find the information they need.

Adding Interactive Elements

Adding interactive elements to your course PDF can make it more engaging and effective. Some examples of interactive elements include:

  • Links: Add links to external resources to provide readers with additional information.
  • CTA Buttons: Add call-to-action buttons to your PDF to move readers onto the next step.
  • Videos: Include videos on/in your PDF which could help with further explanation.

By adding these interactive elements, you can create a more engaging and effective PDF that will help your readers retain the material.

Publishing Your Online Course PDF

Downloading Your Course PDF

Canva: Once you’ve created a new PDF or edited one of Canva’s templates, just Download as a PDF.

Google Docs: Once you’ve created a new Google Doc or edited one of the Google Doc templates then File > Download > PDF document.

Uploading Your Course PDF

Once you have chosen an LMS (learning management software like Thinkific), you can upload your course PDF. The process may vary depending on the platform, but here are some general steps to follow:

  1. Create an account on the LMS and log in.
  2. Create or locate your online course.
  3. Choose the lesson type (standalone PDF, video with PDF, PDF and other downloads, etc.)
  4. Select your PDF file from your computer.
  5. Preview your course lesson to ensure everything looks good.

Here are specific instructions for uploading course content to your Thinkific site. 

In conclusion, creating an online course PDF can greatly enhance the learning experience for your students. By keeping your students’ needs in mind and following best practices for design and formatting, you can create an effective and visually appealing PDF that reinforces your course curriculum. With the variety of tools and resources available, even those without a background in design or publishing can create a professional-looking PDF. By adding interactive elements and publishing your PDF on a learning management system, you can provide your students with valuable resources and support that will help them succeed in your course.

Kim Garnett, the digital sorceress and marketing wizard, is on a mission to teach novice course creators how to cast their knowledge into the online realm. With her wizardry skills in technology, she’ll have you conjuring up top-notch courses and casting a spell on your buyers in 60 minutes or less.

Get your course online and into the hands of your buyers with the guidance of a real expert.