I created an interactive PDF in Acrobat with footnote links and back buttons for figures referenced in the text. It's on my site as a download and it works fine when downloaded to desktop but when downloaded to a mobile device the links and back buttons no longer work. I've read that native mobile pdf viewers don't render interactive elements very well if at all but I was wondering if anyone knows of a workaround for this?

  • Can you provide an example PDF showing this issue? There are different ways to go about adding interactivity to a PDF, so knowing exactly what you did would require seeing the file. Also, are you trying to support as many web and native based PDF viewers as possible?
    – Ryan
    Aug 6, 2019 at 6:24
  • Thanks for responding. The file can be downloaded from my website at [relativityoflight.com ] using the Download PDF button on the landing page. And ideally we would want it to work on as many native mobile PDF viewers as possible.
    – ShirleyS
    Aug 7, 2019 at 14:02

1 Answer 1


downloaded to a mobile device the links and back buttons no longer work

Not all PDF readers support all PDF features, so the simpler you make a PDF the more it will work as expected.

I did not see anything wrong with any Links (please update your question to provide a specific link not working).

As for the "Back" buttons, I can see that they do not follow the PDF standard. On page 14 you have a Button Widget annotation, with a A action with the following info.

/N /GoBack

/S /Named

The S is correct, but the N is not, it should be PrevPage. See the Named actions table in the PDF specification.

I edited your PDF so that particular "Back" button on page 14 used PrevPage instead of GoBack and it worked as expected.

So for the "Back" buttons at least you should review how you created the PDF.

However, my real suggestion would be to just remove the "Back" buttons. PDF viewing software provides better/easier ways for users to navigate pages of a PDF, than clicking on a button on the page (which may not even be visible depending on zoom).

  • Thank you Ryan! I will definitely look into your suggestions. I wasn't aware that there were differences in how the back buttons were created. I wasn't involved in that part of the process. As for the links, I was referring to the footnote links, not links to the figures, which seem to work. But none of the footnote links worked for me on the iphone.
    – ShirleyS
    Aug 8, 2019 at 20:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.