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I am new to Adobe Illustrator graphics design. I want to know how to save a designed artwork as PDF with objects that are clickable.

For example, i create a rectangle, fill it with some style and i try to save as PDF, the output is generated (to the best of my knowledge) as flatten PDF, as shown below -

Unclickable PDF Image

But i want the PDF images to be clickable, like below -

Clickable PDF using MS WORD

Basically, i want this exported PDF and the images in them to be able to be extracted using a C# program.

Would appreciate any help. Thanks in advance.

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    Why not use InDesign or Adobe Acrobat Pro to create the interactive PDF? And what should happen when the user clicks these buttons? What does that have to do with C#? – Luciano Mar 28 at 16:40
  • The Design will be done using Illustrator and output file is needed in PDF, with images as selectable objects or to be more specific, the images should be exported as it would be embedded into the PDF. The images in PDF will then be extracted using a C# program for processing the extracted images. – ss_mj Mar 28 at 17:36
  • Import your AI images to indesign and export your interactive PDF from there. I don't think you can export an interactive PDF from Illustrator directly. If you're going to use C# to extract these images why does it need to be interactive? – Luciano Mar 28 at 17:43
  • Clicking is quoted just for describing that image must be separate from background. If the IMAGES are separate in PDF, it can be extracted using the program. Otherwise the C# libraries do not recognize the image in PDF – ss_mj Mar 28 at 17:45
  • Can you edit your question to make more clear what exactly you want? If you're gonna extract images with a C# library you don't need clickable buttons. Or do you want to extract only the image the user clicks on? What's the final purpose of this PDF file? Why can't you export a regular PDF for each image and use that instead of multiple images in a single file? It's difficult to help you without more info. – Luciano Mar 29 at 9:47
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Assumption: Clicking is quoted just for describing that image must be separate from background. Therefore it's assumed you don't actually need a click action. You merely want to ensure the images are separate from one another and any background.

If this assumption is incorrect, please clarify by editing the question.


Unless you add a background to the AI file, the exported PDF will have no background. PDFs, by default, show a white background because it's assumed that makes it easier to read the PDF in cases where backgrounds are transparent. It is similar to Illustrator artboards - by default they display as white even though they are actually transparent. There is no actual white there, unless you created it in Illustrator.

If you are indeed creating entire patterns in Illustrator and then exporting to PDF extracting the images can possibly be cumbersome. I'm not sure to be honest. In many cases, AI artwork is exported as vector objects, not "single" images. You may need to ensure you've grouped things correctly, or set up separate artboards (PDF pages) for each image in order for the C# to extract things properly. without knowing exactly how the C# reads the file, it's difficult to be definitive.


As for actual "clickable" images from Illustrator, you can't. Unless things have dramatically changed in the past year, Illustrator offers no interactive PDF features and does not provide a method of creating interactive elements within AI itself, and therefore can't export anything as interactive either.

If you need actual interactivity, then using InDesign, or Acrobat itself, to add that interactivity is probably the best option.

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