Using Renditions in Acrobat

Another excellent feature of Acrobat 6 is something they are referring to as Renditions.

Basically a Rendition is a way of controlling what media is played (sound, music etc) based on the viewing machines system specifications.

For example if your end users are only connected to the Internet at 56kbps and your movie (embedded in your PDF) is 15 Megabytes it would hardly be fair to make them wait all that time while it downloads. The solution to this problem is to use Renditions, by embedding/linking another movie of suitable download size/quality for Modem users Acrobat can be instructed to use that version instead.

With Acrobat 6 (Standard & Professional) we can now specify multiple different versions of the same Embedded/Linked Media to be played based on the specifications for the end users machine. Some of the most useful criteria that Acrobat gives us are:

Download Speeds:

All Speeds, 28.8Kbps, 33.6Kbps,56Kbps, 112Kbps, 256Kbps, 384Kbps, 512Kbps, 756Kbps 1Mb, 1.5Mb, LAN

Screen Color Depth

All Color Settings, 256, 16 Bit (65536 Colors), 24 Bit (16.7 Million Colors), 32 Bit (4.2 Billion Colors)

Screen Resolution

All Screen Resolutions, 800×600, 1024×768, 1152×864, 1280×1024, 1600×1200,1920×1200


All or combinations of the 17 Languages available

The basic steps in using and activating Renditions are:

  1. Use the Movie/Sound tool to add media to the page

    Add Media

  2. Edit the Properties of the Media

    Multimedia Properties

  3. Add as many renditions (alternative versions) as required using the ?Add Rendition? button

    Add Rendition interface

  4. Edit the Rendition to specify the playback requirements and system requirements etc.

    Edit rendidtion properties

  5. After you?ve saved the PDF, Acrobat will ensure the the viewers of the Media inside your PDF meet the requirements you have laid down for each of the Renditions.

Note: As I was testing this I noticed that I couldnt utilise the floating window feature (Playback Location) without first enabling the features for Non-Trusted Documents in the Preferences Section. This may or may not be the case with your system setup.

Trust Manager

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About the Author: Dave Wraight

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