Troubleshoot: PDF Issues

This article will guide you on how to resolve the most common problems with PDF's.

Important information about PDFs

PDF is a file type that has a lot of capabilities, such as: page transitions, buttons, hyperlinks, forms and even media. Due to its popularity it gives a feeling that everything is possible.

However, this is sadly not the case. In a perfect world, every device would run these files with the dedicated Adobe Acrobat Reader, that can showcase most PDFs correctly. Nowadays there are multiple devices and hundreds of PDF readers with different functionalities that, unless it's a standard flat text based PDF, makes it very tricky to create PDFs that works for all users on all devices.

Interactive PDFs are a fantastic tool, but in order to make sure your company or clients are able to view them correctly, you need to be sure that the viewer uses a PDF reader and a device that is capable to showcase them correctly.

For example:

  • An interactive PDF created with Adobe's InDesign might only work with Adobe Acrobat Reader, but not with the build in PDF reader of Google Chrome or any tablets.
  • A PDF that includes videos created with Canva might look fantastic when sharing the Canva link, but once you export it to your device as a PDF, it will not be able to show the videos due to the fact they are separate elements not stored within.


Browser Test

To determine if an interactive PDF will function properly with Showell and on various devices, a useful method is to open it using your browser's built-in PDF reader. Firefox's PDF reader offers the most features, including buttons and links, and Showell's Digital Sales Room technology is based on the same principles.
  • If it does not show correctly in your browser, the PDF might be corrupted or contains elements that are only visible in the PDF reader it was created and so will have issues on most other browsers, devices and readers.
  • If it shows correctly in your browser, but not with Showell: Feel free to contact us so we can investigate the issue.



Re-save the PDF

1. On your device, open the PDF with Adobe Acrobat Reader or a PDF viewer of choice

2. Click 'Save as' or 'Export as PDF'

Flatten the PDF

A PDF might exist of multiple layers, images and text. When flattening the PDF you are combining all elements into one. This also makes the document 'Read only'.

You can flatten your PDF with most PDF readers. Alternatively, you can find a free online tool to flatten your PDF. However, be cautious and avoid tools that ask for your email address, as this may result in receiving spam emails.

1. On your device, open the PDF with Adobe Acrobat Reader or a PDF viewer of choice

2. Choose Print > 'Print to PDF'

Embed your fonts within the PDF

One common problem with PDF files is that the font may be missing, causing display issues. Fortunately, this can be resolved by embedding the font directly within the PDF.

For more detailed instructions on how to embed fonts in a PDF, please refer to the guide: How to embed fonts in a PDF.

Turn an interactive PDF into a Web App (Smart Tool)

If your PDF is available online, you can embed this into Showell. Read more on "how to Embed Web elements".

Upload the different elements to Showell individually

If you upload the PDF, Videos, 3D elements or other file types separately, you have 2 options:



Can I replace a non-functioning PDF in Showell, with a working one?

Yes, using the 'Upload new version'-option in the file's settings page. Uploading a new file version will keep the same link and analytics.