Adding 3D models to PDFs (Acrobat Pro)

Add 3D models to a PDF page (Acrobat Pro)

You can use the 3D tool to place a 3D file (in U3D 3rd Edition or PRC format) on a PDF page. Acrobat Pro can create 3D PDFs but only from U3D ECMA 1 files.

After you place a 3D file, you can adjust the area or canvas in which the 3D model appears, edit the presentation properties for the 3D toolbar and content, and create additional views.

Add a 3D model to a page

  1. Choose Tools > Rich Media > Add 3D.

  2. Drag a rectangle on the page to define the canvas area for the 3D file.
  3. In the Insert 3D dialog box, click Browse to select the 3D file, and then click Open. Click OK.


In the Insert 3D dialog box, check the Show Advanced Options to set initial 3D Properties for the file.

Move, delete, or resize the 3D canvas

  1. Choose Tools > Rich Media > Select Object  .


    Be careful not to confuse the Select Object tool with the basic Select tool. Use the Select Object tool to adjust a 3D canvas.

  2. Select the 3D canvas and change it as needed:
    • To move the canvas, drag it to a new location on the page.

    • To delete the canvas (and the 3D model), select it and press Delete.

    • To resize the canvas, drag the frame corners. The 3D content stays proportional within the adjusted frame.

3D properties (Acrobat Pro)

View 3D properties by using the Select Object Tool (Tools > Rich Media > Select Object) to double-click within an activated model.

3D tab

The options on the 3D tab determine how the 3D model is presented. Unlike the settings on the other tabs, 3D settings do not affect the imported file itself.

The options on the 3D tab are the same as the options on the 3D toolbar except for the following:

Lighting Scheme

This setting determines the lighting theme of the animation display in Acrobat.

Rendering Style

Allows you to choose the visualization style for the added 3D model.

Animation Style

For models created with animation, this setting determines how the animation runs in Acrobat.

Add Default Views

Allows you to use different model views. An orthographic projection (ortho) effectively removes a dimension, preserving the size ratio between objects but giving the 3D model a less realistic appearance. Orthographic projection is especially useful for viewing certain diagrams, such as 3D mathematical functions plotted on a graph. A perspective projection offers a more realistic scene in which objects in the distance appear smaller than objects of the same size in the foreground.

Show Toolbar

Displays the 3D toolbar along with the image. When this option is not selected, you can right-click the 3D image to view the 3D toolbar.

Open model tree

Displays the model tree on the Model Tree pane. The Model Tree has three panes. Each pane displays a specific type of information or controls.


Specifies the JavaScript file that runs if a 3D model is enabled. Click Browse to add a JavaScript file to the PDF.

Launch Settings

Enable When

Specifies when the 3D model is activated. When the 3D model is enabled, you can interact with it by using the 3D navigation tools, for example.

Disable When

Determines how the 3D model can be deactivated. When a 3D model is disabled, the 2D preview image or poster appears in the canvas.

Playback Style

Enables you to display the 3D model in a floating window outside the page. If you select Play Content In Floating Window, you can select the size of the window (in pixels) from the Height and Width menus.

Border Width

Select to create a border around the 3D object.

Transparent Background

Removes any background color.

Poster Image

To replace the default view of the 3D model when it isn’t activated, select a poster image option. Click Browse to find the image you want.

Run a JavaScript

If a separate JavaScript file is associated with the 3D model PDF, you can activate it.

  1. Open the PDF in Acrobat.

  2. Click the 3D model with the Hand tool to enable it, and then right-click the 3D model and choose Run A JavaScript.

  3. Find the JavaScript file you want to add, and click Open.

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