Playing video, audio, and multimedia formats in PDFs

Play multimedia in PDFs

Using the Hand tool or the Select tool, click the play area of the video or sound file. When the pointer is positioned over the play area, it changes to the play mode icon .

Save multimedia from PDFs (Windows)

You can right-click the multimedia file in the PDF (on Windows OS), and choose Save Audio As, or Save Video As depending on the type of multimedia content added.

Supported video, audio, and interactive formats

You can play the following types of multimedia in PDFs created using Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Acrobat Reader or earlier:


Includes MOV, M4V, 3GP, and 3G2 video files that use H.264 compression. It also includes MP3, and MP4 files. You must have H.264 codecs installed on your computer to play files that use H.264 compression.


Includes audio files, such as MP3 and MP4

You can play these files on a page or activate them from a link, bookmark, form field, or page action. Each multimedia file includes a play area from which the media can be activated. The play area typically appears on the PDF page as an image or a rectangle, but can also be invisible.

Acrobat and Reader also let you play legacy multimedia files created using an earlier version of Acrobat. These include QuickTime, MPEG, ASF, RAM, and Windows® Media files. However, Acrobat and Reader X do not provide a way to create legacy multimedia files.


To help protect your computer from viruses, Acrobat asks you if you want to play multimedia files from unverified sources. You can change this default behavior in the Multimedia Trust preferences.

  1. Using the Hand tool or the Select tool, click the play area of the video or sound file. When the pointer is positioned over the play area, it changes to the play mode icon  .

Multimedia preferences (legacy)

Two types of PDF files require you to set multimedia preferences:

  • PDF files created in Acrobat 8 and earlier.

  • PDF files containing multimedia content that needs a plug-in or external player to play, rather than the built-in media player.

These files require you to identify an additional media player with which to run the multimedia.

Open the Preferences dialog box, and then select Multimedia (Legacy) from the left side of the dialog box.

Player Options

Choose the format in which you want to run legacy media content: QuickTime, Windows Media, or Windows built-in player.

Accessibility Options

Specify if you want special features (if available) to appear when media plays, such as subtitles and dubbed audio. Specify the preferred language for the media, in case multiple languages are available.

Multimedia Trust preferences (legacy)

Acrobat and Reader play most multimedia files, such as audio or video, using the built-in media player. (For the supported file types, see Play multimedia.) Multimedia content that requires additional resources to play, such as an external player or plug-in, is considered “legacy” multimedia content. You can control the use of external players or plug-ins in the Multimedia Trust (Legacy) preferences.

Multimedia Trust (Legacy)

(Acrobat and Reader 10.1.1 or earlier) In Multimedia Trust preferences, you can specify whether to play embedded multimedia files in trusted or non trusted PDF documents. A trusted document is a document that you or an author you trust has approved. By setting your permissions to play multimedia only in trusted documents, you can prevent programs, macros, and viruses from potentially damaging your computer.

The list of trusted documents and authors is stored internally and can’t be viewed. If you add a certified document to the list, both the document and the certificate of the author are added to the list of trusted documents. All documents that this author certified are trusted. (Trusted documents also include PDFs from authors in your list of trusted identities.)

In the Preferences dialog box, select Multimedia Trust (Legacy) from the Categories.

(Acrobat and Reader 10.1.1 or earlier) Display Permissions For

Choose to set permissions for either trusted documents or other (non trusted) documents.

Allow Multimedia Operations

Select this option to allow media clips to be played. When selected, you can change the permission settings for a particular player and enable options that determine the appearance of the media during playback.

Change Permission For Selected Multimedia Player To

Select the player from the list, and then choose one of the following options from the menu:


Allows the player to be used without prompting.


Prevents the player from being used.


Asks the user whether the player can be used. If you select this option and allow the player to play the media in a particular document, that document becomes trusted.

Allow Playback Options

Three playback options enable you to control how the video is displayed.

Allow Playback In A Floating Window With No Title Bars

Select this option to run the video without a title bar. The result is that no title or close buttons are displayed.

Allow Document To Set Title Text In A Floating Playback Window

Select this option to display a title bar when the video plays back in a floating window. To edit the text in the title bar, double-click the video with the Select Object Tool (Tools > Interactive Objects > Select Object). Select Edit Rendition, and then on the Playback Location tab, select Show Title Bar. Add the title bar text in the Title text field.

Allow Playback In Full-Screen Window

This option automatically plays the video in full screen mode when it is played back. Full screen display can conflict with end-user security settings.

(Acrobat and Reader 10.1.1 or earlier) Clear Your List Of Trusted Documents

Deletes the current list of trusted documents and authors. Use this option to prevent media from playing in documents that were previously trusted documents or created by trusted authors. This option is available only when a PDF that contains multimedia is open.

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