PDF stands for Portable Document Format. And they do just that; deliver document content in a compact form to your recipient, wherever in the world they may be. They are one of the most widely used and popular file formats used today, probably because of their ability to securely deliver a variety of content types through a multitude of platforms.

Not only can PDFs deliver typical content such as text and graphics, they can also contain forms, videos, audio, navigation bars, interactive buttons and even animation; and all this can be done without even being connected to the internet. If recipients do have access to the internet, however, the possibilities for these interactive PDFs are increased even more. Links to websites, external documents and hosted videos can all be programmed to link from a PDF page. All these additional functionalities change the face of the standard PDF – they no longer have to be limited to simple pages of text and images; they can be impressive, interactive and engaging.

Here at NU Creative we are constantly being asked by our clients for a more exciting, more innovative solution to the standard PDF document or a tired powerpoint presentation. In a world where people’s attention needs to captured, kept engaged and be impressed, we offer interactive PDFs as a great alternative solution to make their content more compelling, especially for high-value pitch documents and presentations. However, although interactive PDFs can offer the feeling of website functionality, they definitely are not. Unfortunately, for all their bells and whistles, they also come with a lot of restrictions. So before you decide whether an interactive PDF is the best solution for you, its worth considering all their pros and cons.

Some of the main limitations with interactive PDFs are:

For users viewing the PDF on a desktop computer, Flash will be required. The user needs to ensure that they have Flash player installed on their machines in order to view all the functionality (most people do but a surprising amount of people still don’t!)

File size
If you have a final size limit (in order to be able to email the file to a client, for example) you will need to be aware of how many embedded videos, audio files and attachments you include in your file. Whatever file size these components are, this amount will be added onto your existing PDF file size.

Compatibility with tablets
A lot of interactivity functions require Flash. Tablets do not support flash so they will only able to read the most basic interactivity – pop ups, rollovers, animations and videos will not work. This is worth thinking about when considering what devices your end user will be viewing your PDF on. Below is a more detailed comparison chart to show some of the limitations between tablet and desktop.


With lots of forward planning and early involvement with your design/programming team, you can ensure that your content is programmed in a way that optimises functionality for the end user. It might even become apparent that perhaps an interactive PDF isn’t for you and that an HTML5 option might be more suited. But if what you want is a little more “pizzazz” injected into your document, make people interact with your content rather than simply skim reading it, and set yourself apart from your competition in pitch presentations, then interactive PDFs are probably the way forward for you!

Please feel free to get in touch for more information or if you would like us to provide you with a quote.

Download a full copy of our interactive guide below