How to Create Interactive PDFs: The Complete Guide for 2023 (2023)

Interactive PDFs are digital documents that allow users to interact with the content instead of just reading it. Its goal is to provide an immersive and interactive experience that increases the reader's engagement with the material. Interactive PDF files offer a wide range of features such as clickable links, embedded video, audio files, and interactive forms that allow readers to interact with the document.

The numbers speak for themselves because81% of sellersShowing that interactive content is more effective in capturing people's attention than static content. As such, interactive PDFs are an excellent tool for businesses looking to improve their interactions with customers and consumers.

These PDF files can contain clickable buttons, links, videos and other interactive elements for a more immersive experience. By creating interactive PDF files, businesses can deliver more engaging content to their audience while collecting valuable data about user engagement and preferences.

In this article, we will transform the concept of interactive PDF files and explore their benefits. We take a look at some of the key features that make them unique and how you can use them to create engaging and informative content.

Definition and key benefits of interactive PDF

An interactive PDF is a digital document that allows users to interact with the content of the PDF, for example by clicking links, filling out forms, or playing media. One of the main advantages of interactive PDFs is that they can provide a more engaging and dynamic user experience than static PDFs. They can be used to collect user data and feedback, streamline workflows by enabling electronic signatures and form submissions, and improve accessibility by including features such as alt text and keyboard shortcuts.

Why should you care about interactive PDFs?

Businesses should focus on interactive PDF files because they provide a more engaging user experience and simplify the workflow. Interactive PDFs can also be used to collect valuable data and user feedback, making them useful tools for market research and customer engagement. Plus, interactive PDFs can be easily shared and accessed across multiple devices and platforms, helping to expand your business's reach and influence. To improve customer engagement and retention, consider implementing a tool like Walkme or one of the easier to use tools.walkme alternativeMake the onboarding phase smooth and positive.

Five steps to creating an interactive PDF

1. Make a plan

Creating interactive PDFs requires careful planning and attention to detail. A well-designed interactive PDF should be easy to use, visually appealing and fully functional. To develop an effective plan for creating interactive PDFs, it is important to consider several key elements.

First, the purpose of the interactive PDF must be determined. Is it to enlighten, inform or entertain? Once the purpose is identified, the designer can determine the content, layout, and functionality necessary to achieve the desired result.

Next, the designer must consider the target audience and their preferences. Viewer preferences will affect the design of interactive PDFs, including color schemes, typography, and interactive features.

It is also important to ensure that interactive PDF files are compatible with different devices and software platforms. This will ensure that viewers can access the PDF and enjoy its features without any problems.

When designers create interactive PDFs, they must pay attention to the user experience (UX). This includes the layout, navigation and functionality of the interactive PDF. It must be intuitive and easy to use, with clear instructions and feedback to the user.

2. Add links and buttons

When you create an interactive PDF, it needs to be attractive and easy to navigate. One way is to add links and buttons to your PDFs. Adding links and buttons is a simple process that can help readers navigate your document more efficiently. Links can be used to direct readers to a specific page, website or email address. Buttons, on the other hand, can be used to trigger specific actions, such as opening a video or submitting a form.

To add a link or button to your PDF, first select the object you want to interact with. This can be an image, a text box, or anything else you want to use as a button or link. After selecting the object, open the Actions panel in the PDF editor. From there, you can choose the type of action you want to add, such as opening a web page or jumping to a specific page in the PDF.

3. Embed the video in your PDF

Embedding videos in PDF documents is an excellent strategy to make them more engaging and interactive. While PDF documents are traditionally used for static content, including video can help createpremium contentAnd makes the document more dynamic, helping readers understand the content better. Embedding video into a PDF file is easy and can be done using a variety of software programs.

One way to embed video in a PDF is to use Adobe Acrobat. The software allows users to embed videos in various formats such as MP4, FLV and SWF. To do this, simply go to the Tools menu, click on the Rich Media tab, and select the video icon. From there, you can browse your computer and select video files to add. You can then place the video on the page and resize it to fit your document layout. You can also set videos to autoplay or click to play.

4. Include images in the PDF

Interactive PDFs go a step further by allowing users to interact with the document, for example by filling in forms or clicking on links.Add images to interactive PDF filesYou can make them more attractive and visually appealing. In addition, you can include an interactive PDF file in the body of the email, sotransaktions-e-mailand more engaging marketing emails.

There are several ways to include images in interactive PDF files. One way is to simply insert the image into the document using a PDF editor. This can be done by selecting "Insert Image" from the menu and selecting the image file. The image can be resized and positioned as desired.

Another way to include images in interactive PDF files is to use image-based buttons. This involves creating a button that links to an image file. If the user clicks the button, the image is displayed. This is a useful technique for creating interactive menus or galleries.

Image cards are another option for including images in interactive PDF files. These types of images are divided into clickable areas, each linking to a different location in the document or on the web. This can be used to create interactive charts or maps.

When including images in interactive PDF files, it is important to consider file size. Large images can cause files to load slowly and be difficult to navigate. To avoid this, especially when you want toCreate PDF files on iPhone, images must be web-optimized, have a resolution of 72 DPI and have a file size no larger than 100KB.

5. Feel free to add GIF

Adding GIFs to interactive PDFs can greatly improve the user experience and make your content more engaging. GIFs are animated images that can be created using various software tools or found on the Internet. When embedded in a PDF, GIFs can add a touch of humor and emotion, or simply convey complex information in an easy-to-understand way. To add a GIF to an interactive PDF, first make sure the PDF creation software you're using supports embedding multimedia content. For example, Adobe Acrobat is a common software that allows users to insert GIF files into PDF files.

It's important to note that while GIFs can make your interactive PDF more engaging, they can also increase the size of your PDF file. Therefore, it is recommended to optimize the GIF by reducing the file size or limiting the duration to avoid slowing down the loading of the PDF. You also need to make sure the GIF is relevant and adds value to your content.


In conclusion, interactive PDF files are an excellent tool for companies to improve their communication, branding and marketing efforts. With the ability to add multimedia elements such as video, animation and links, interactive PDFs provide customers and clients with a dynamic and engaging experience. They can be used for various purposes such as presentations, brochures, forms and reports.

Interactive PDF files are also cost-effective, green and easy to distribute digitally. By using interactive PDFs, businesses can increase productivity and efficiency while delivering high-quality, engaging content. Therefore, companies are strongly advised to consider using interactive PDF files for their business purposes.

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How do I create an interactive fillable PDF? ›

How to create fillable PDF files:
  1. Open Acrobat: Click on the “Tools” tab and select “Prepare Form.”
  2. Select a file or scan a document: Acrobat will automatically analyze your document and add form fields.
  3. Add new form fields: Use the top toolbar and adjust the layout using tools in the right pane.
  4. Save your fillable PDF:

How do I create a PDF guide? ›

Open Acrobat and choose “Tools” > “Create PDF”. Select the file type you want to create a PDF from: single file, multiple files, scan, or other option. Click “Create” or “Next” depending on the file type. Follow the prompts to convert to PDF and save to your desired location.

How do I create an interactive PDF from a Word document? ›

Steps to create a fillable PDF in Word.
  1. Within the Word program, select File > New Document.
  2. Create the form. Type out the necessary details of your form. ...
  3. Save as PDF. Once you're happy with your Word document, you'll need to save it as a PDF. ...
  4. Open the PDF with Acrobat Reader. ...
  5. Prepare the form. ...
  6. Save your form.

How do I make an interactive PDF without Acrobat? ›

To create a fillable PDF form, the first thing you'll need to do is set up a Jotform account. Once you've created an account and signed in, navigate to the PDF Editor > Fillable PDF Forms page. Click the Create a fillable PDF form button. Here, you can either create a new PDF or import an existing fillable PDF form.

How do I create a fillable PDF from Excel? ›

Learn how to create fillable forms in Excel and share them easily as PDFs.
Follow these steps:
  1. Select the Developer tab in the top menu.
  2. Under Control, select Insert and choose the form element you need.
  3. Place the element on the spreadsheet.
  4. Right-click the element and select Format Controls to change its settings.

What file type is an interactive PDF? ›

Essentially, an interactive PDF is a PDF document that incorporates all kinds of rich media content: links, audio and video files, images, GIFs, clickable buttons, and fillable forms. In other words, an interactive PDF combines all the perks of the format, like commonness and security, with digital web experiences.

How do I turn a Word document into a fillable form? ›

Go to File > New. In Search online templates, type Forms or the type of form you want and press ENTER. Choose a form template, and then select Create or Download.

What is the best program to create a PDF? ›

As the most powerful PDF creator, Adobe Acrobat makes it easy to create high quality, shareable PDFs out of your Microsoft Office documents and file formats — including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

What program do you use for PDF? ›

Manage the PDF document deluge.

One way to work more efficiently is by using PDF (Portable Document Format) software. With Adobe Acrobat Pro, a powerful PDF editing software, you get ease of use, compatibility with any device, annotation tools, and powerful editing capabilities.

How do I add an interactive text box to a PDF? ›

Once you've downloaded your editor of choice to your device, follow these steps to add text boxes:
  1. Open the document in the PDF editor.
  2. Select Tools > Edit PDF > Add Text.
  3. Drag the new text box to the preferred location.
  4. Add text to the box and choose the formatting options.

Can you type in an interactive PDF? ›

A text field allows users to type into the designated spaces of the interactive PDF right from their computer. This is a super easy field to set up.

What is the easiest program to make a fillable PDF? ›

It's easy to build your own form in Adobe Acrobat.
  1. Open Acrobat. Click on the Tools tab and select Prepare Form.
  2. Select a file or scan a document. Acrobat will automatically analyze your document and add form fields.
  3. Add new form fields. ...
  4. Save your fillable PDF.

What is the difference between PDF and interactive PDF? ›

But, generally, we use the term interactive PDF when we're talking about a PDF file that is meant to be viewed on screen, and the interactive PDF features are the parts of a PDF that take your audience beyond the basic reading experience where they're just looking at a page and give them more like buttons that let them ...

Is there a free way to create a fillable PDF? ›

Open Jotform

Create a free Jotform account and build your fillable PDF form from scratch — or upload an existing PDF form to convert it into a fillable PDF in a single click.

Can a fillable PDF populate a spreadsheet? ›

If so, select "Tools>Forms>More Form Options>Merge Data Files into Spreadsheets". This way, you can select all PDF form files, and you can export everything into one spreadsheet. If you want to do this on a per-file basis, you can use the same menu, but then use "Export Data".

How do I convert a PDF to an editable PDF? ›

How to make a PDF editable with Acrobat.
  1. Open your PDF file in Acrobat Pro.
  2. Click the Edit PDF tool on the right-hand panel. ...
  3. Use editing tools to add new text, edit text, or update fonts using selections from the Format drop-down list.
  4. Move, add, replace, or resize images using the tools in the Objects list.

What is a good example of an interactive PDF? ›

A good example of an interactive pdf is a fillable tax form: you enter the data into the document and the PDF – interactive thanks to various scripts – calculates the tax for you. PDFs can also contain other interactive content: for instance, embedded videos and image galleries.

How do I create an interactive PDF from PowerPoint? ›

Save PowerPoint presentations as PDF files
  1. Select File > Export.
  2. Click Create PDF/XPS Document, then click Create PDF/XPS.
  3. In the Publish as PDF or XPS dialog box, choose a location to save the file to. ...
  4. Optionally, if you want to change what the final PDF file is like, do any of the following: ...
  5. Click Publish.

Does Excel have a checklist template? ›

A checklist in Excel is a custom list of items you can create to track tasks, projects, training or other items that often use checklists. Excel has several templates you can use to build your checklist, or you can create your own.

How do I create a functional checklist in Excel? ›

Enable the Developer Tab

You must enable the Developer tab on the ribbon to create a checklist. To do this, right-click on the ribbon and select Customize the Ribbon. In the list of Main Tabs on the right side of the Excel Options dialog box, check the Developer box and click OK.

How do I Create a fillable form in Excel? ›

Create forms that users complete or print in Excel
  1. Step 1: Show the Developer tab. On the Excel menu, click Preferences. ...
  2. Step 2: Add and format content controls. On the Developer tab, click the control that you want to add. ...
  3. Step 3: Protect the sheet that contains the form. ...
  4. Step 4: Test the form (optional)

How do I Create a fillable PDF in Google Docs? ›

How to create a fillable form in Google Docs
  1. Step 1: Create a new Google Doc. The first thing you'll want to do is create a Google Doc. ...
  2. Step 2: Insert fillable questions into the Doc. Once you're in your Doc, you'll need to include tables. ...
  3. Step 3: Adjust your table as needed. ...
  4. Step 4: Print out your Google Doc.
Feb 27, 2023

What is the free program to create a PDF? ›

Soda PDF Desktop, available for Windows, is by far the best PDF creator on the market today and best of all: it's free! You can easily create PDF documents from a variety of file formats, including images or Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files.

Is there a free program to write in PDF files? ›

Top 10 Free PDF Markup Software Programs
  • PDFelement Pro (Windows & Mac)
  • Microsoft OneNote (Windows & Mac)
  • Foxit Reader (Windows & Mac)
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader (Windows & Mac)
  • Markup Hero (Windows & Mac)
  • PDFescape (Windows & Online)
  • Nitro Reader (Windows)
  • Qiqqa (Windows)

Is there a free PDF program? ›

Take your PDFs to go with the Adobe Acrobat Reader mobile app. This free PDF reader app lets you view, comment, fill out, and sign PDF forms to help you move through your workflow quickly and efficiently.

Does Microsoft have a PDF program? ›

The Microsoft Edge PDF reader is a secure and reliable application that works across the Windows and macOS desktop platforms.

Does Windows have a PDF program? ›

You can open PDFs with Microsoft Edge (which is the default app), but it will offer only limited functionality. The best way to view PDFs is with a PDF-specific reader. Many PDF readers, such as Adobe Acrobat, can be downloaded for free online.

Which Microsoft app is used for making PDF? ›

You can use Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote for the Web to convert your doc into a PDF. Select File > Print > Print (in PowerPoint you will select one of three formats). In the dropdown menu under Printer , select Save as PDF and then select Save.

Is it hard to learn Adobe Acrobat? ›

Since Acrobat is an accessible and easy-to-learn program, building on your Acrobat training with more focused creative tools may be an ideal way to jumpstart your career.

How to sell a PDF guide online? ›

The best way to sell your PDFs is via your own ecommerce website. There are tons of tools available that can help you to create an ecommerce site, but we recommend Sellfy. Sellfy is a beginner-friendly ecommerce platform that is also super affordable.

How do I combine PDF guides? ›

Insert one PDF into another
  1. Open the PDF that serves as the basis of the combined file.
  2. Choose Tools > Organize Pages. ...
  3. In the secondary toolbar, choose Insert > From File. ...
  4. Select the PDF you want to insert and click Open.
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What is the difference between Adobe PDF interactive and print? ›

If the main purpose of your document is to be available on the web, choose “Adobe PDF (Interactive).” If your main purpose is to make the document available for printing, choose “Adobe PDF (Print).”

How do I turn a PDF into an interactive worksheet? ›

To turn a PDF document into an interactive, editable worksheet, you'll need to follow these steps:
  1. Click on Create a new worksheet;
  2. Upload your PDF file to the creator of interactive worksheets;
  3. Add interactive elements to your worksheet.
  4. Publish your worksheet for public or private use.
  5. Assign your worksheet to students.
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What is interactive PDF form? ›

PDF form is a special kind of PDF document that contains interactive fields where textual information can be entered or check boxes may be selected. You can create a PDF form from any PDF, word processor, image file or a paper document.

Can you edit text for interactive PDF? ›

Choose Tools > Edit PDF > Edit . The dotted outlines identify the text and images you can edit. Select the text you want to change. In the right-side Format panel, select a font, font size, or other formatting options.

What is the best way to create a fillable form? ›

How to create fillable PDF forms with Acrobat.
  1. Open Acrobat. Click on the Tools tab and select Prepare Form.
  2. Select a file or scan a document. Acrobat will automatically analyze your document and add form fields.
  3. Add new form fields. ...
  4. Save your fillable PDF.

Can I turn a Word document into a Microsoft form? ›

You can import and convert your existing Word or PDF surveys or quizzes, on your local hard drive, directly into Microsoft Forms. You can also review and edit the form or quiz in Microsoft Forms before you send it out.

What software is needed for an interactive PDF? ›

Adobe Acrobat is one such program that is commonly used for this purpose. To create an interactive PDF, you'll need to follow these steps: Open your PDF (or create a new one) in Acrobat or a similar tool. To add buttons: Edit PDF > Link > Add/Edit Web or Document Link > Menu Button.

What does an interactive PDF look like? ›

Essentially, an interactive PDF is a PDF document that incorporates all kinds of rich media content: links, audio and video files, images, GIFs, clickable buttons, and fillable forms. In other words, an interactive PDF combines all the perks of the format, like commonness and security, with digital web experiences.

What is the difference between a PDF and an interactive PDF? ›

An interactive PDF is the same as any other type of PDF but with a few additional cool features. With an interactive PDF, you get to include many elements we love to see that make our content more engaging, fun, and enjoyable. For example, they can incorporate videos, sound, gifs, links, etc.


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