Interactive pdf readers

It turns out there are a lot of options out there when choosing a pdf reader for interactive pdfs and none of them are foolproof.

From reading I’ve done, PDF Expert ($10.49AU) is the most reliable when it comes to playing video embedding in a pdf, but different readers (e.g. Goodreader, Acrobat etc.) all have their strengths and weaknesses. Some will drop the video but keep the buttons, some will drop out hyperlinks but keep form fields etc. It’s all about doing a comparison based on what sort of pdfs you intend to create.

A recommendation from Steve Werner at

For interactive PDF files which are to be viewed on a tablet device, you need to reduce your expectations that interactivity will be able to be viewed by every viewer. I’d keep things simple, and don’t make your presentation depend on showing all the interactivity. But Adobe Reader for iOS is very disappointing, and I cannot recommend it. GoodReader ($4.99), ezPDF Reader ($2.99) and PDF Expert ($9.99) are well rated and support many more features.

As my pdfs will be reader on different operating systems I’m going to trial PDF Expert. I’d like to be able to maximise interactivity where possible so we’ll see how this goes.

It seems to be a case of timing here – digital publishing, even though it’s been around for a while, is still relatively young and the many bugs which come up along the way are all indicators that more time and development is needed across the board in this area. From a designer’s perspective I guess it’s a case of working with what I have, doing the research, and waiting until new updates start to solve these problems!


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