Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Desktop versus mobile readers

From: InDesign Insider Training: Interactive PDFs

Video: Desktop versus mobile readers

I don't want to be a downer, but it's time to get real for a minute. And that means talking about the unfortunate truth that not all PDFs look or behave the same everywhere. Remember that the original goal of PDF 20 years ago was a ubiquitous file format. You could send it anywhere, open it on any computer and it would just work. But corporate politics and technology got in the way. So, here's where we stand today. The best program to view PDFs is not surprisingly Adobe Acrobat or the free Acrobat Reader on a desktop or laptop computer.

Desktop versus mobile readers

I don't want to be a downer, but it's time to get real for a minute. And that means talking about the unfortunate truth that not all PDFs look or behave the same everywhere. Remember that the original goal of PDF 20 years ago was a ubiquitous file format. You could send it anywhere, open it on any computer and it would just work. But corporate politics and technology got in the way. So, here's where we stand today. The best program to view PDFs is not surprisingly Adobe Acrobat or the free Acrobat Reader on a desktop or laptop computer.

That means a Mac or Windows machine or even Linux. However, there are bunch of PDF clones out there programs that read pdf files but are held at same standard at dolby is, so they cut corners. The most common one is the preview App on the Mac. In fact every PDF publisher I know has says the same thing, they don't get a lot of text support questions but the answer to almost all of them is are you using preview. If so, please use acrobat. Preview is usually okay with print PDFs or basic PDFs things with just hyperlinks, but interactive PDFs with buttons and movies and that kind of thing not that much.

So, what about tablets? Tablets are tricky because the vast majority of PDFs that are viewed on tablets are viewed in PDF clone apps, readers that are not Adobe certified. To make it even more interesting, Adobe reader on IOS and Android isn't even necessarily the best PDF reader on those devices. Some of the clone readers are actually even better at some things. There are way too many PDF readers on tablets to really compare them all, but because a lot of people ask me for my opinions about PDF readers apps on tablets, I should tell you about some of my favorites.

First, there's iBooks on the iPad and iPhone and iBooks is not one of my favorites. iBooks is like the most basic of readers on the iOS. It just uses the built in support for PDF in iOS. Just like preview on the Mac, it's relatively slow. It doesn't currently support buttons or most interactive PDF features, although hyperlinks seem to work fine. So, it's fine for PDFs that aren't too big or fancy, and it does have the big benefit that almost every iPad of iPhone user has it.

And then there's Adobe Reader. Adobe has its own Reader that works on both IOS and Android tablets like the Kindle Fire. It's definitely a step up from the quality of the built-in PDF support in IOS and Android, and it has the benefit of being free. Reader can do annotations like notes and it let's you fill in forms, which is great. But unfortunately it's still weak when it comes to interactive PDFs, and buttons, and movies, and stuff and it certainly can't deal with flash or Javascript or anything too fancy. But, of course, none of the reader apps scan on tablets. Now, Adobe is releasing new versions regularly so by the time you watched it, something might have changed.

It's definitely worth having this one on your tablet. Now, a lot of people I know list Good Reader as their favorite PDF reader. And it's certainly very capable in most respects, and it handles even really big PDFs pretty darn well. But for all that it does well, it cannot handle most of the interactive PDF features. For example, no videos, even buttons don't really work right. PDF Expert is my personal favorite. Granted it's more expensive than the others, and it only works on the iPad right now, but it does most of what I want it to. It can even show navigation buttons like next page, or previous page, although honestly, it doesn't make them really pretty.

Finally, the basic Dropbox app is actually surprisingly good when it comes to displaying PDF files. If you have Dropbox on your desktop or laptop, you just put a PDF in there, it syncs to your tablet or iPhone, and you open it up and it works! You can view the PDF inside Dropbox right on the tablet or app. Weirdly it handles movies great, but most of the other interactive features such as buttons, they just don't work at all. Chances are that you're just making PDFs and you can't really control where your audience is going to be viewing them. You know that movies don't work on most of the PDF readers on the tablets. So, maybe you'll have to think twice before including them if you think your PDFs are going to be headed for a tablet.

There are some other best practices that you can take advantage of when making your PDFs that will maximize how well they'll appear in various readers. And I'm going to explain all of those issues in the upcoming chapters.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for InDesign Insider Training: Interactive PDFs
InDesign Insider Training: Interactive PDFs

30 video lessons · 12064 viewers

David Blatner
Author

 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed InDesign Insider Training: Interactive PDFs.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.