Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Limitations of interactive PDFs, part of InDesign: Interactive PDFs.
- [Instructor] Before we get into the nitty gritty of creating interactive PDF documents, it's really important that you understand what interactive PDF can and cannot do. Because PDF is an awesome file format. But if you don't understand it's limitations, you are going to find yourself frustrated when it doesn't work the way you expect it to. Now, unfortunately not all PDFs look or behave the same everywhere. The best program to view a PDF is not surprisingly, Adobe Acrobat or the free Adobe Reader app on a desktop or a laptop computer.
However, there are a bunch of PDF clones out there. Programs that read PDF files but are not held at the same standard that Adobe is. So they cut corners. And the most common one is the Preview app on the Mac. And Preview is usually okay with print PDFs or basic PDFs, like pages with hyperlinks. But Interactive PDFs with buttons and movies and that kind of thing, well not so much. And here's a limitation that might surprise you.
A lot of interactivity features that are super easy to make in InDesign are either not supported at all in PDF or they just don't work unless you have Flash installed on your computer. And Flash, as you probably know, has been on and end of life course for a number of years. So, if you don't have Flash, then video and audio are basically not possible. And even if you do have Flash, it's really hard to get anything fancy, like animation or slide shows to work.
Of course PDF is a changing, evolving technology. And perhaps at some point it will support all kinds of good stuff. Even without Flash. And when that happens, I'll be sure to come back here and update this course. But until then, you may want to stick with the basics. The features that usually work, no matter what device you're on. Such as Hyperlinks, Bookmarks, and Form fields. And 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.
- Exporting interactive PDFs
- Inserting hyperlinks, bookmarks, and buttons
- Building interactive forms
- Adding text and list fields
- Adding multimedia such as sound and video
- Creating page transitions
- Working with animations and Flash