Embedding a “Retweet This” Inside a PDF

retweet this - a hack for PDFs

Embedding a “Retweet This” inside a PDF is a neat hack. Recent Twitter changes have affected it, though. If your Old Twitter retweet links aren’t working, here’s a solution.

It’s rare that I post on the mechanics of content marketing, but I think this entry is overdue.

Last year in Social Media Guide and Social Media Examiner, I read about a way to embed a retweet button inside a PDF. Since much of my content ends up in PDF, it looked like a good value-add for my marketing communications clients, and I began using it liberally.

It involves placing in the PDF (or even in the source document) a hyperlink to Twitter that populates a tweet with the text you want moving around the twittersphere, passively glorifying your content.

For example (and to glorify my client’s content), this link in your PDF:




can yield this:

It’s an easy way to spread your message via social media and introduce a little bit of reader engagement.

I was happy with it, my clients were happy with it, and readers were indeed retweeting the PDFs.

But then…

…something broke.

On a new project last week, I had cloned the same hyperlink that had worked properly all last year, then spent an hour or more fruitlessly trying to get it to populate the What’s Happening field in Twitter. I went back to PDFs I’d created for other clients and tested them: they, too, had stopped working properly.

My neat hack had become a casualty of the New Twitter. In short, the Old Twitter required


in the hyperlink for retweet to work. It had also required plus-signs instead of spaces between words. New Twitter doesn’t like those. It took me another hour searching for this information – frankly, I don’t remember where I found it anymore – so I’m summarizing it here for posterity, and so that I remember how to do it.

So, to get this:

enter this hyperlink in your source file (MS Word .docx file, InDesign, FrameMaker, etc.):

http://twitter.com/?status=Mobile developers - Get Qualcomm Web Technologies white papers - http://developer.qualcomm.com/webtech | (via @qdevnet)

Note that some applications will spontaneously replace the spaces with %20, but it does no harm. Note also that this probably won’t work at all for users stuck on Old Twitter; I assume that they’ll be forced to update eventually and that your retweet links will work for the lion’s share of your readers.

Whew. I can retweet again.


Author: John White

John White of venTAJA Marketing is a content marketing writer for technology companies. He posts about technology writing from the perspective of the marketing manager. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. Download his eBook, “10 Questions to Ask When Hiring Your Content Marketing Writer.”