Monitor PDF for changes

Distill can monitor PDF files for changes using its public URL. You can use the web app to monitor it. This feature is not available at the browser extension.

Here are the steps that you can follow to add a PDF file to monitor.

  1. Open the Watchlist at the web app at
  2. Click on the down caret icon to the right of “Add Webpage” as shown below.

list with options to monitor different types of pages 3. Enter the URL for the publicly accessible PDF file. 4. An options window will open. You can configure the settings, check intervals, actions to be taken on change, etc, and save it.

configure actions, check interval for the monitor

Once saved, you can click on the text section to see the content of the PDF.

version history


There are different ways a PDF is generated, sometimes they may not work with Distill. In case they do not work, you will see an error in the check log with an error code. Following are the common error codes and the ways to troubleshoot them.

  1. ERR_PDF_PARSE error is usually encountered when Distill is able to download the file but fails to parse it. This usually happens when the file is either not a PDF file or is in a format that is not supported by Distill. You can wait for a few checks to see if Distill is able to download and parse it correctly.
  2. E_DOWNLOAD implies that the PDF file download didn’t complete successfully. This can happen when the download is interrupted and could not be completed. Distill will automatically retry.
  3. E_PDF_UNKNOWN_TYPE is encountered when Distill tries to download the file but the website doesn’t send one. This usually means that either the file is not a PDF file or the website didn’t send one. This can happen for different reasons. For example, the website can choose to block requests or require cookies before letting one download the file.

If the error persists after a few checks, please email us at

Available in: Flexi and Enterprise plan

PDF files are large, checking and diffing them consumes more resources. The cost of a PDF monitor is accounted for as checks in the account. 1 PDF check is counted as 2 checks.