How to enable your PDF files to play audio

by Amy Glancy, Account Executive, Public Sector

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A single PDF document can contain millions of pages, but it goes way beyond what mere paper can provide. PDF files can contain attachments of any file type, including spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, images such as PNG, TIFF and JPEG, video and audio, and the list goes on.

When you need to make audio available in your PDF files, PDF editor PhantomPDF lets you do it in a number of ways. Some of the most common are by embedding or by enabling a link. Here’s how to do those two different techniques and the pros and cons of each.

Embedding audio—easy play and access but larger file size

When users click on an embedded audio file, such as an MP3, they’ll be able to Download it and play it with whatever audio player they like, assuming their player supports its format. That makes embedding a very easy option for users. The caveat: embedding audio files makes them part of the document, which makes your files bigger. In some cases, a lot bigger. Yet there are many reasons it’s a good choice, so here’s how to do it:

  • Choose Edit > Video & Audio
  • Press and hold mouse button down, drag to select an area on the page where you want the sound to appear.
  • In the pop-up Add Video & Audio dialog box, you’ll see options listed below:
    • Location: click the Browse button to select the audio file you want to insert.
    • Content type: the type of the media you insert. It’s selected automatically but you can also specify the clip type if you want. (Just be aware that if you change the file type here without changing it in the file, you may render it unplayable.)
    • Embed content in document: inserts the media file in the PDF file. This option will increase the file size of the PDF. It’s selected by default.

Play audio without embedding audio for smaller document files size

If you don’t want PhantomPDF to treat the audio like it’s a downloadable file and download the MP3 file to users’ devices, you may want to host your MP3 files somewhere users can access it via a link. Because you’ll be hosting the file, its size only matters to whatever external hosting solution you have, which with most cloud hosting services, will be negligible.

What’s more, you’ll be able to edit, change or even replace that audio file should you need to update the script, add more information, or even just delete it altogether for security reasons, changes in policy, etc.

To embed a link to an external MP3 file and have the user’s native PDF viewer audio player play it, please do the following:

  • Click on Edit > Link, then drag your mouse to the area where you want to insert the link.
  • In the pop-up Create Link dialog box, choose Open/Execute a file, then hit Next
  • Navigate to select the MP3 audio file in the Open dialog box.
  • Click on Open, then select the Hand tool under the Edit tab to double click on the newly inserted link. That will direct you to open the MP3 audio file automatically.

Adding sound and audio content enables your PDFs to go beyond merely two dimensions and communicate to your audience in lively and interesting ways. Now that you know some of your options, why not add that podcast, speech, song, or interview to your next PDF document?


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