PDF – An Alternative Way to View Presentations on the iPad



We have discussed presentations for business using an iPad previously. Today we’ll be looking at PDF documents as a presentation platform for the iPad in more depth.

Developed in the early 1990s as a way to share documents, including text and images, among computer users of disparate platforms; PDF files have become the format of choice when something absolutely has to be viewable by virtually anyone. PDF format documents can be created from a wide variety of software including the full Office suite and is probably the easiest format to send to and from an iPad. Presentations created in this format can easily be emailed or downloaded from the cloud and there are a bunch of free and paid PDF reading apps available to view them. Choice of PDF reading apps is important as they all seem to be good at different things. However, only a small number of these support video footage (at the current time of posting even the official Adobe PDF app doesn’t support this) and none of them support animation. We found that some allowed for basic transitions, but these could only be added afterwards within the app but this removed any hyperlinks in the process.  Ease of downloading and viewing these files should be something app developers and Apple remain striving towards with all other file formats in the future.

Ease of use: Most PC users have sent or received PDF files at one point or another. Out of all the PowerPoint alternatives we tested, we found PDF files the easiest to use and most compatible.

Cost: Free mostly. The cost(s) involved depend on the PDF reading app(s) you choose to download. The free Adobe PDF Reader is great if you choose not to use animation, transitions or video. We would recommend opening PDF files in DropBox if you want to view PDFs with video content as it also costs nothing to use.

Final thoughts: We love how compatible PDF files are with all devices, not just the iPad. It’s a shame the format lacks native animation/transition support but this is something we will be keeping an eye on.

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