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What good is Flash or Video content in a PDF?

Video and Flash animations running in a PDF are cool, no doubt. Drop a video in a PDF file and chances are pretty good that everyone you send it to will be able to play it. But what’s the extra value of having a Flash animation running inline with a document or having video hovering in a floating window as you scroll through it? More after the break…


Interactive Flash chart that redraws when values are changed.
(Click on image to see it larger.)
Video playing in a floating window
(Click on image to see it larger.)

That’s the question we attempted to answer before developing the new multimedia capabilities in Acrobat 9. Here are 3 ways we came up with of how video can enhance a document or set of documents:

  • Generate excitement – If you’re in a sales situation or working to make your best impression, this is a big one. Think sales proposal, product brochure, press release.
  • Demonstrate – If you’re trying to convey a complex idea, teach a new concept, or describe a solution to a problem what better way than to show it. Think customer support article, assembly instructions, homework assignment.
  • Document – If recording progress is important, video is the simplest and most effective method. Think manufacturing assembly process, construction site progress, insurance claims.

It didn’t take long for the blogosphere to recognize the extra value and start demonstrating it. Leonard Rosenthol, “the PDF Sage”, turned me onto a post by Marc Liron last week reviewing Acrobat 9. What I thought was interesting is that Marc spends very little time explaining how to create rich PDF documents and instead focuses on why it’s important from his perspective as an internet marketing professional. He describes 8 simple, but compelling examples that weren’t possible before. He also put together sample PDF files that illustrate his points. Check them out and let Marc know you appreciate his effort.

Chris French, Acrobat Product Manager


Categories: News, Views & Updates


  • By Joe Clark - 10:01 AM on July 23, 2008   Reply

    For “generate excitement” and “demonstrate,” read “annoy and distract.”

    [Thanks for the feedback. Having you seen working examples yet? Lori Defurio and Joel Geraci both posted sample files. Take a look and see if you still feel the same way. – Chris]

  • By Chris Clemens - 12:27 PM on November 27, 2008   Reply

    This “review” by Marc Liron is way too loud and obnoxious to be credible. It reads like the Saturday morning announcer guy who yells at you about going to some monster truck rally, with text exploding everywhere and flying off the screen towards your terrified children.

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