9 Replies Latest reply on Jul 13, 2014 8:49 AM by Willi Adelberger

    Interactive PDFs

    SomethingGood

      Hi All,

       

      I've got a new request from an existing client. They'd like to cut down on the number of printed reports we produce and move to interactive pdfs. I've had a good search on google and watched a view videos here but I haven't stumbled across any really great examples which display what's possible with interactive pdfs. Is it possible to embed useable google maps within a pdf? With interactive pdfs, does the end user need to use acrobat reader or can the standard pdf application work with interactive elements (such as preview on a mac)? Can anyone point me in the direction of some really powerful interactive pdfs - real working examples? I would love to see how maps can work and how animated SVGs can work.

       

      Thanks for reading,

       

      Kyle

        • 1. Re: Interactive PDFs
          Dave Merchant MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          That type of interactivity can only be done in a PDF file by using Flash and the 'rich media' element of PDF, which isn't supported by third-party applications and will never work on iOS. There's no support in the PDF/1.7 standard for things like animated SVG files or embedded chunks of HTML5, it can only be done with SWF movies.

           

          To put it bluntly, rich media PDFs that rely on Flash Player are dead in the water, thanks to the ever-growing number of people consuming files outside of the Win/Mac desktop scenario it was designed for. One day we might get a replacement technology included in the PDF/2.x standard, but it'll be many years in the future.

           

          If you want people to view something like a Google Map widget on any device, send them to a website.

          • 2. Re: Interactive PDFs
            Derek Cross Level 6

            It might be worth having a look at in5: Ajar Productions: Design and Animation Software as they say "it converts InDesign layouts into HTML5, so that they can be viewed across devices." You can also publish the product to a stand alone app.

            Derek

            • 3. Re: Interactive PDFs
              Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

              Never use Apple Preview to read PDFs as it is not a good PDF viewer. Avoid it as it cannot show PDFs correctly.

              • 4. Re: Interactive PDFs
                Dave Merchant MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                There's no point saying that, as it's the decision of the people reading the documents what they use - not the author. Many people use rendering applications that don't support the complete range of features, from Preview and Firefox to mobile apps. Authors have to adapt to the audience, not the other way round.

                Willi Adelberger wrote:

                 

                Never use Apple Preview to read PDFs as it is not a good PDF viewer. Avoid it as it cannot show PDFs correctly.

                • 5. Re: Interactive PDFs
                  Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                  But you can't claim a problem with an application which does not support the PDF standard.

                   

                  You can put a layer which covers everything and write "This PDF is to be opened in Acrobat or Reader not with Apple Preview, Apple Vorschau, Ghost Viewer, etc.." (Or some more friendly.)

                  Turn off the visibility of that layer.

                  All correct reading PDF readers will not see that layer, but with inappropriate readers only this layer is visible.

                   

                  So exists a way to show end users that they are using a bad program.

                  • 6. Re: Interactive PDFs
                    Dave Merchant MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                    Flash Player support is not a requirement for a conforming application in the ISO PDF standard, it's proprietary to Adobe's implementation of the rich media object. Equally, there's no requirement for a conforming application to implement all the possible features; just that the ones they do implement are done correctly.

                     

                    Detecting the capabilities of the host application is a lot more complex than you describe, there are cases where OCGs are supported but media and scripting are not, where Web access is blocked, or where specific features have been disabled by enterprise admin.

                     

                    If a document is intended for consumption by users whose choice of software cannot be enforced, it should be designed for the lowest common denominator. The OP is asking about Google Maps - they can be reliably displayed on pretty much any device that has Web access, but only via Google's website or their native apps. The Flash API for Google Maps was depreciated years ago and will be closed down completely in a couple of months. Linking to the map's URI is the only logical thing to do.

                    • 7. Re: Interactive PDFs
                      SomethingGood Level 1

                      Thanks for the replies and opinions. It's shame a lot what I've read isn't going to be possible and usable. Looks like we'll end up creating a mini websites for every brochure.

                       

                      Thanks,

                       

                      Kyle

                      • 8. Re: Interactive PDFs
                        Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                        But Apple Preview does not even support ISO PDFs as PDF/X-4 or any other PDF with transparency and/or layers. Apple Preview isn not really useful for PDFs as people see different things as there are in the PDF.

                        I am not talking about flash, forms, movies, or so, I am talking about simple pages which Apple Preview or Quarz are not able to support.

                        • 9. Re: Interactive PDFs
                          Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                          SomethingGood wrote:

                           

                          Thanks for the replies and opinions. It's shame a lot what I've read isn't going to be possible and usable. Looks like we'll end up creating a mini websites for every brochure.

                           

                          Thanks,

                           

                          Kyle

                          Why not, you can specify paragraph styles with HTML tags for HTML export, which helps you very much in transfering content to from InDesign to HTML.  It has been improved together with the EPUB export in the last view versions very much.