How to create a rich PDF – using PowerPoint to start with

1. Create an Adobe ID

If you don’t already have an ID sign up for one. You need an ID to download the Acrobat software for this tutorial but an ID also gives you access to and a host of cool cloud-based services from Adobe.

2. Download and install Acrobat X Pro

2.1: Download and install Acrobat X Pro. This is the latest advanced version of Adobe’s PDF creation tool. The trial version is for 30 days which is plenty of time to create your rich PDF. We suggest Acrobat X Pro because it will let us do some fancier stuff down the track but the standard version Acrobat X can do everything in this tutorial. 

2.2: Open your PowerPoint application and you will notice that Acrobat has installed its Acrobat PDFMaker toolbar addin in the PowerPoint ribbon. It does this to all Office apps (2010 2007 and even prior versions) and some other programs including Firefox and Internet Explorer. While you can save any Office doc to PDF by saving to Print the PDFMaker option lets you do things like embed videos.


3. Create the content

There are two steps in this process. One we’ll create a series of slides in PowerPoint that we’ll convert to PDF format using the aforementioned PDFMaker addin toolbar. Two we’ll enhance them in Acrobat X Pro after they are converted into PDF format.

We need to need to point out here that although you can manage and edit content from within Acrobat X / X Pro it’s far easier to create it first with an external application and then use Acrobat X to enhance and package it. Basically any document or image can be converted to PDF but here we’ve chosen PowerPoint for a) its simplicity and b) because a collection of PowerPoint slides translate well into a PDF publication.

4. OK let’s get started with Microsoft PowerPoint

In this sample we are creating an interactive PDF to promote a sample play for Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre. We’re going to add background images text and videos to the PowerPoint slides and we’ll then conver them to PDF which we’ll further enhance from within Acrobat X Pro.

4.1: Adding images and text to PowerPoint is straightforward however it’s worth knowing that when you add background images to PowerPoint slides (to cover the full slide) you should crop them to a 4:3 aspect ratio which is the native aspect ratio of PowerPoint slides. 

4.2: Once you have added images and text to your PowerPoint slides you can now add video. When you convert the slides into a PDF using the Acrobat PDFmaker addin the video you’ve inserted will also be in the PDF.

However there is a trap for young players. You have to use the “Embed Flash” option in the PDFmaker menu to insert the video not PowerPoint’s Insert Video option as shown in the slides below.


4.3: Go to the PDFMaker menu and use Embed Flash. Although it says Flash it will embed files in Flash (FLV F4V) Shockwave (SWF) MP3 or H.264 (MP4 formats). If you have movies in other formats such as Windows Media (WMV) or Quicktime (.MOV) you will need to convert them to Flash or H.264 using an encoder before trying to import them.


4.4: Select the video – in our case an MP4 file – and insert it. Acrobat’s Embed Flash option also lets you grab a screenshot of the video to use as the video cover image.


4.5: The video then appears in the middle of the slide. In our case it looked a bit small so we clicked on the video box and expanded the video to a more suitable size by dragging the handles.

5. Adding Hyperlinks

5.1: Feel free to add hyperlinks to your PowerPoint document since these will translate to the PDF later. It’s worth pointing out however that if you don’t want PowerPoint to automatically turn them blue and underlined hyperlink the text box itself not the text inside it. 

6. Export the PowerPoint slides to PDF

6.1: This is as simple as clicking the Create PDF button on the PDFmaker menu.


7. The Exported PDF

7.1: In theory there is enough here to consider this a finished product. The PowerPoint preso has exported to PDF and it also has embedded videos and hyperlinks. However by editing it in Acrobat X Pro we can further improve it.

NEXT: Go to the Acrobat X Pro tutorial.


  • famousnamess

    Avdshare Video Converter ,as converter, the MP4 to PowerPoint Converter
    will surely convert and insert MP4 to PowerPoint easily.

  • Shirley Gyrling

    Hi, what do Apple users do? I don’t have Acrobat PDF MAker with my powerpoint even though I have CS6.

  • Awesome tutorial !!! It will help to develop our skill. Thanks for the unique idea.