How can I have active hyperlinks in multipage `beamer` handouts?

So far, all `\url{}` and `\href{}` I have in my document work fine in the resulting PDF if I typeset in `presentation` mode, but as soon as I typeset in `handout` mode, all links are gone. I'd like them to be active even in the handout PDF.

It seems this is due to the `\pgfpagesuselayout{}` I'm using in `handout` mode (turning it off, and it works); is there a way to preserve hyperlinks here?

I also tried (unsuccessfully) to use `pdfnup` afterwards, but as it is basically using the same mechanism...

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Looks like no, unless someone has a fix the author isn't aware of. From the Beamer manual, section 4.6.2 (Printing the Handout):

In such cases you can use the `pgfpages` package, which works directly with `pdflatex`, `lualatex`, `xelatex` and `latex` plus `dvips`. Note however that this package destroys hyperlinks. This is due to fundamental flaws in the PDF-specification and it is not likely to change.

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Seems I have overread this remark. Thanks! –  Matthias Hopf Mar 15 '12 at 13:09

This should in principle be possible by not employing the `pgfpages` package that ships with `beamer`, but the more generic (1) `pdfpages` package (note the pdf vs pgf in the package name) in conjuction with (2) `pax`. From the `pdfpages` documentation:

Links and other interactive features of PDF documents When including pages of a PDF only the so called content stream of these pages is copied but no links. Up to now there are no TeX-engines (pdfTeX, XeTeX, ...) available that can copy links or other interactive features of a PDF document, too. Thus, all kinds of links1 will get lost during inclusion. (Using `\includepdf`, `\includegraphics`, or other low-level commands.) However, there’s a gleam of hope. Some links may be extracted and later reinserted by a package called pax which can be downloaded from CTAN. Have a look at it!

`pax` is a combination of a Java tool to extract link information from the PDF you intend to embed and a package that reads in this information to restore the links into embedded PDF. It is still considered as experimental and I have not tried it. However, it is written by Heiko Oberdiek, so I would be optimistic that it works.

Basically, your process would be as follows:

1. Generate the handout in 1x1 format, that is, without any `pgfpages` processing.
2. Run the `pax` tool on the resulting PDF.
3. Write an additional .tex-file that employs `pdfpages` to generate the 2x1 or 2x2 handout format from the 1x1 PDF and loads the `pax` package for link restoring.
4. Let us know, if it works :-)
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Thanks for the idea. I'll try (and document results) as soon as I have some spare time. But bear with me, semester has begun, and I'm late with my slides anyway ;-) –  Matthias Hopf Mar 15 '12 at 13:13