Using PDF3D with OFFICE documents

How to Create Interactive 3D PDFs based on Microsoft OFFICE Documents

PDF3D products have features enabling Microsoft OFFICE users to easily create interactive 3D PDFs based on WORD, EXCEL or PowerPoint documents in simple work-flow steps.

  • Add 3D View Placeholders into OFFICE documents
  • Flexible Placement
  • Re-use Template Designs
  • Benefit from 3D PDF mark-up and comment features


The method of PDF3D with OFFICE documents gives users the ability to create fully interactive 3D PDF documents based on original Word, Excel or PowerPoint document designs. PDF3D ReportGen and other systems are able to reference “Placeholder” layout images created in WORD, EXCEL or PowerPoint. These enable placement control for the 3D PDF generation, where interactive views are added exactly where specified by the placeholders during the ReportGen process. Once the placeholder PDF has been created, it can be reused without restarting Office.

This method allows 3D models and animations to be embedded into the document for a fully immersive viewing experience that can be shared with anyone. Imagine your Word doc featuring an image that can be rotated, zoomed, explored from every angle or even played-back in a series animation. It’s now possible.

Quick Start Guide to Method:

  1. Drop an image (such as 3D_placeholder.png) into Word doc, set size, location, wrapping mode, etc.
  2. Set Alt-Text using right-mouse over image properties to “PDF3D1”
  3. In Office 2016 or later, use Save-As type PDF file-type, with “myTemplate.pdf” or similar filename.
  4. In next ReportGen session, add this PDF as an optional Template, accept confirmation dialog of “Placeholder” mode.
  5. Add 3D models, convert.

Simple, Fast Workflow

If you’re comfortable working in Office there’s no need to complicate it with trying to create your document in another format. Simply create your report, spreadsheet or presentation as you always would in Word, Excel or PowerPoint, drop in a placeholder image set the hidden Alt-Text setting and then save-as to PDF. You can adjust the position of text and images to accommodate the 3D element with a click and drag feature, and then use the familiar text-wrapping options to suit, adding multiple viewing positions within the same page if you wish.

Key Features

Key features of the using PDF3D with OFFICE documents method includes:

  • Author, Design, Edit, setup 3D Views during normal process
  • Add 3D view locations into any standard report, brochure, letter or proposal document
  • Use ordinary skills and methods of placing images within documents
  • Simplifies 3D PDF design work-flow
  • Extends PDF3D ReportGen avoiding the need for any OFFICE plugins
  • Multiple views on same or different pages
  • Placeholder PDF can be re-used without re-starting MS-OFFICE

Points to Remember:

Just to be clear and to avoid confusion, this method does not:

  • Create 3D PDF files directly in OFFICE (you’ll need to use PDF3D ReportGen for this)
  • Depend on any Adobe tools for PDF files
  • Convert PDF files into WORD files
  • Embed the 3D data inside the WORD file
  • Support editing 3D PDF files once created
  • Preview what the 3D PDF view will look like in WORD

Example Demo

“STEP + WORD -> PDF” Demonstration Video (also on Vimeo here)

STEP 3D Models can be added to MS-WORD Files to produce 3D PDF interactive documents. By using WORD to author a report, technical document or prepared drawing page specifying the layout, caption and context, then using converting a STEP 3D model file into the document using PDF3D ReportGen, a combined 3D PDF interactive review document can be created.

Upgrade Note: This method replaces the need for “PDF3D with OFFICE” plugins.

Illustrated Work-Flow from WORD to 3D PDF:

1. Add an image into the WORD document (JPEG, PNG, etc), set Wrapping Mode.

2. Position and Resize Image to target place.

3. Use Right-Mouse Menu to select Edit Alt-Text.

4. Set Alt-Text to “PDF3D1” for this image (use “PDF3D2” for second image).

5. At File Save-As dialog, set PDF file type, save to new PDF file.

6. Review PDF, hover mouse over image, verify Alt-Text by showing tool-tip popup message.

7. Add the placeholder PDF in the Template PDF field of the ReportGen menu.