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Interactive PDF is not compatible with all browsers

Explorer ,
May 13, 2020 May 13, 2020

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Hi Team,

I have a couple of questions listed below:

 

Q1. Not able to open hyperlinks inside embedded pdf in a new window

Custom Solution: We can add Java Script in Acrobat: (app.launchURL("http://www.MySampleURL.com/someFolder/somePage.html", true);)

But why this feature is not available in InDesign?

 

Q2. If we embed javascript to open links in a new tab, it worked on Internet Explorer only. It is not working with other browsers like google chrome Microsoft edge Mozilla fireworks and apple safari.

 

Q3. InDesign has multiple interactive features Like Animation, Play Video inside the PDF, 

Audio Play and Object State. But these are only for EPUB.

Why these features are not applicable for Interactive PDF?

 

Actually, I from the eLearning industry, And these features are most important for us. Please resolve these issues so we can use Interactive PDF as an eLearning best new modality.

TOPICS
Bug, EPUB, Feature request, How to, Import and export, Publish online, Scripting

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Adobe Community Professional , May 13, 2020 May 13, 2020
Since Flash has become obsolete the kinds interactivity you describe, such as videos,  have not been available to be usable in all devices and readers (only simple hyperlinks). Hopefully if in due course vendors will implement PDF 2.0 though animation is not include the PDF 2.0 spec. You can get these interactive features with the InDesign plugin in5 (including animation).

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 13, 2020 May 13, 2020

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Since Flash has become obsolete the kinds interactivity you describe, such as videos,  have not been available to be usable in all devices and readers (only simple hyperlinks). Hopefully if in due course vendors will implement PDF 2.0 though animation is not include the PDF 2.0 spec.

You can get these interactive features with the InDesign plugin in5 (including animation).

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Explorer ,
Jun 02, 2020 Jun 02, 2020

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Thanks, Derek

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 12, 2021 Jan 12, 2021

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I can vouch for that In5 plugin. It does everything you are looking for.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 13, 2020 May 13, 2020

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This has nothing to do with InDesign but beyond Acrobat and Reader on a desktop, any interactivity in a PDF is a crapshoot at best. This is especially true for browsers. You need a new plan. Interactive PDF is not going to be the proper tool.

 

For eLearning, check out Adobe Captivate or Articulate StoryLine.

 

I wrote this several years ago, but it may give you a pretty good idea of why you should give this up: https://www.boblevine.us/its-okay-to-say-no-to-interactive-pdf/

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Explorer ,
May 13, 2020 May 13, 2020

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Thanks, BobLevine

We are already using Captivate and Storyline, But if Adobe adds these features in PDF it would be great. Because now in the future every people want a compact and shareable thing which is light and play in every device. We can put the whole eLearning course in one PDF. People do not want to seat in front of the system. This is my thought.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 13, 2020 May 13, 2020

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Adobe has no power to add things to PDF. Nothing will work on every device...that is a pipedream.

 

Your best bet is a fully functional eLearning website.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 13, 2020 May 13, 2020

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"people want a compact and shareable thing which is light and play in every device"

 

That reinforces the case against PDF. It would be best to abandon your hopes for PDF.

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Guide ,
Jun 03, 2020 Jun 03, 2020

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"Because now in the future every people want a compact and shareable thing which is light and play in every device. "

 

It exists already: it is called an executable. You would have to compile for each target platform, though. But it is still the most controllable output format for the designer/developer, and a simple and standardized approach for users to use your app/application.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 03, 2020 Jun 03, 2020

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"It exists already: it is called an executable. " It does. And in these sad days of malware and worse, no sensible user would accept an executable to deliver content, unless it was from a very trusted source. Can you believe there are still people out there using EXE just to deliver page turning? 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 13, 2020 May 13, 2020

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I meant to add that Adobe (and hopefully some other vendors), have indicated they expect to implement PDF 2.0 in 2021.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 13, 2020 May 13, 2020

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Adobe don't own PDF any more – it's run and administered by the PDF Association who agree standards and specifications. Adobe and other vendors have seemed reluctant, so far, to implement PDF 2.0. But they have indicated they will during 2021. As these things take time to implement and for users to install suitable readers I wouldn't wait for it!

HTML5 is the only format that will work on any platform  – PC, Mac, computer, tablet and smart phone –  or at least any device that has a compatible browser installed (which most do nowadays) and include the features you require. Also you can produce stand-alone documents.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 12, 2021 Jan 12, 2021

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In addition to the In5 plugin as an option for publishing this, you already have Publish Online with InDesign. It allows you to create all kinds of interactivity. Here are some examples, all done with InDesign and Publish Online: http://bit.ly/PubOnCollection

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 07, 2021 Jul 07, 2021

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It's 2021 and we're still dealing with the same question posed by Sanjay a year ago in Q1 with no one from Adobe being able to give a logical and satisfactory answer. How do you make a PDF link viewed in a browser open in a new window?

I have a PDF with a lot of hyperlinks to legal text and references. If the end user clicks on a link in the PDF for more information, the best user experience is to have that information open in a new pop-up window with the PDF in tact. If this were HTML, I could make a simple edit to the target modifier and specify Target="_blank" and the link would open in a new window. It should be that easy... and yet it's not.

I have literally wasted an entire day reading complaints from people in forums with the same need followed by the same lame excuses from Adobe 'experts' telling us that it doesn't work, but no viable solutions and no developers trying to fix the problem. Interactivity through hyperlinks in InDesign—either as a HTML web page or as an interactive PDF—should function the same as any other hyperlink on the web. It should be just as important to set HOW that link is viewed to ensure the best user experience as linking to the content. At least with HTML, we can change the base code... with InDesign and Acrobat, we're at the mercy of the developers who keep our hands tied as to what they think we should do.

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 25, 2021 Aug 25, 2021

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Try Publish Online. It makes it HTML5 and works great. You can update and write over it easily. Only downside is the published file lives on the Adobe site. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 25, 2021 Aug 25, 2021

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quote

It's 2021 and we're still dealing with the same question posed by Sanjay a year ago in Q1 with no one from Adobe being able to give a logical and satisfactory answer. How do you make a PDF link viewed in a browser open in a new window?
... reading complaints from people in forums with the same need followed by the same lame excuses from Adobe 'experts' telling us that it doesn't work, but no viable solutions and no developers trying to fix the problem.

By @davidg9502748

 

@davidg9502748, @sanjay_kothari and everyone else, please don't shoot the messenger when you read this.

 

We "Adobe experts" have no control over this. We're just unpaid volunteer users who try to help others in this forum.

You don't have any control over this, either.

And neither does Adobe because Adobe can't control what a browser does to a PDF file.

 

We're all PO'd about how crappy this is for users and us developers and designers.

 

Background:
(Long, because this thread gets "hit" by many users and I'm sick of this issue popping up on the forums a few times a week. I want everyone to fully understand what's behind this problem.)

 

Although originally developed and copyrighted by Adobe, the PDF file format is now in the public domain. It is monitored by the ISO (International Standards Organization, Geneva) where the PDF standard (the list of rules and processes required for a file to be called a "PDF") is developed, updated, and maintained by several related committees of experts from around the world.

 

Note: I'm a US delegate to some of those PDF committees and help write the main PDF standard as well as the PDF/UA companion standard for accessibility. I keep my head in the PDF/A (archival) and PDF/X (print) committees, too. Adobe is on all of the PDF committees, but really is just another delegate with equal control over the standards, although their engineers are the top PDF experts in the world.

 

Two tech terms to know before I continue with what's behind this problem and how we might, together, get it improved and (let's dream big!) corrected by the industry.

 

A PDF Producer is a program that creates PDF files. Examples: PDF Maker by Adobe that you find in MS Office/Windows, the PDF Export utility in Adobe InDesign, Save As PDF in MS Office (it's made for MS by FoxIt), Save as PhantomPDF in MS Office, Save As Nuance PDF, iText, OpenText's Extream, and other brands of PDF producers.

 

Open a PDF, go to File / Document Properties / Description tab. Towards the bottom left of that screen, you'll see what producer created that PDF, along with its version number.

 

Anyone can make a PDF, but it must comply with the ISO international standards: the main standard is ISO 32000-2:2020 (https://www.iso.org/standard/75839.html) and because we're talking about interactivity, it should also comply with the ISO 14289 PDF/UA-1 companion standard for digital accessibility (https://www.iso.org/standard/64599.html ). Hope you enjoy reading these 1500+ pages of techno-babble!

 

Most PDFs we examine at my shop are not anywhere near being fully compliant with the standards. That negatively affects the next term described below...

 

A PDF Processor is a program that opens, reads, and makes the content available to the user. The processor should also make all of the interactivity available, too, such as executing hyperlinks, executing a fuction when a button is clicked, playing audio/video clips, allowing commenting and annotations to the file, filling of form fields, executing scripts, whatever you and I build into the PDF file itself.

 

The programming for this interactivity is specified in the standards above, and when a processor follows the standards, it is considered a PDF Compliant Processor (for the base PDF file) or a PDF Compliant Interactive Processor (for the interactive parts of the PDF file).

 

The problem:

Has a lot of facets and troublemakers.

 

  1. A lot of PDFs (I personally think the majority) are not compliant PDFs.
    They don't fully follow the ISO 32000 standards, let alone the ISO 14289 standards for accessibility. They were not produced correctly by the PDF Producer.
    Solution: complain to the software manufacturer that created the PDF. If they don't get their act together, switch producers. Adobe's producers are still the gold standard of the industry, but FoxIt and PhamtomPDF are decent seconds. (Disclaimer: I receive no compensation from these companies.)
     
  2. Web browsers are not compliant PDF processors.
    Sighted users like most of us here can see the PDF in the browser, but all of the interactive features are lost, as well as all of the accessibility. Even printing the PDF can be a nightmare.
    Solution: complain to the web browser manufacturers, especially the big 3 — Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari, and Google Chrome. THEY need to build a compliant PDF processor into their browser. No one else can successfully do this (see #4).
     
  3. Apple's Preview isn't a compliant PDF processor, either.
    Looks like a PDF, but sure doesn't act like one!
    Solution: complain to Apple to retool this app into compliance. It's a royal PITA on Apple's OSs. Fakes out nearly every Apple user at some point.
     
  4. PDF Plug-ins for browsers are buggy as heck.
    None of them work. Eventually, they become unstable and crash the browser, which usually forces the operating system to disable the plug-in. And they are lousy PDF-compliant processors, too, leaving out the interactivity. I sometimes wonder if the browsers are sabotaging the plug-ins to take control over the PDF's content. Maybe? It's a wierd world.
    Solution: don't depend on plug-ins! What works today won't tomorrow.
     
  5. As Bob Levine @BobLevine said above, PDF interactivity on a website is a crapshoot.
    Or maybe more like Russian Roulette...you'll eventually take the bullet and the PDF will die.

 

So complain to the all of the browser manufacturers:

 

Get them to build in fully compliant PDF processors with full accessibility (aka, interactivity) per the ISO 32000-2:2020 and ISO 14289 PDF/UA-1 standards. Quote those standards, please, so that they get the message from you loud and clear.

 

And in the meantime, here's a workaround we use on our clients' websites: whenever a PDF is on your website, instruct users to download the PDF to their device rather than double-click it and open it their browser (where it's dead). They can then open the downloaded copy with their preferred PDF reader (such as the free Acrobat Reader or any other brand) and interact with it as they wish.

 

There's a benefit to your users when they download it: they can then annotate it with comments and highlights, and save all of that to their computer for future reference. Can't do that with HTML.

 

Apologies for the extra-long length. It's such a complicated issue.

 

Bevi Chagnon | Designer & Technologist for Accessible InDesign + PDFs |
Books & Classes | PubCom

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 25, 2021 Aug 25, 2021

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Great stuff, Bevi. Many thanks.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 26, 2021 Aug 26, 2021

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Thanks Bevi – excellent.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 26, 2021 Aug 26, 2021

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LATEST

Y'all are welcome, my good colleagues.

Spread the explanation. We might eventually get some of this fixed!

 

Bevi Chagnon | Designer & Technologist for Accessible InDesign + PDFs |
Books & Classes | PubCom

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