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InDesign's high-quality typography and layout tools go beyond print. In InDesign CS4: 10 Things to Know About Interactive PDFs, David Blatner explores interactive PDF files and the techniques used to add movies and sounds to them. In addition, David explains how to avoid common pitfalls and reveals some tricks for making eye-catching documents as efficiently as possible.
Many people choose to build their presentations in InDesign, rather than something like PowerPoint, because of InDesign's high-end design and typography features. But there are plenty of interactive features that PowerPoint or Keynote have that InDesign does not. For example, allowing you to see a slide's bullet points one at a time, you know, one bullet point per click. Well, InDesign can do it but it just takes a little more work. Here, let me show you. I'm going to open up the Pages panel, in fact, I'm just going to pull the Pages panel out here, so we can work with it a little bit more easily and I'm going to duplicate this page four times, one for each bullet point.
I can duplicate a page, by holding down the Option key or Alt key on Windows and dragging it in the Pages panel. That creates an exact duplicate or clone of that page. Now, I'll duplicate it again and again and one more time and now I have one additional page for each bullet point. Let's go back to page 1. On page 1, we don't want any bullets, so I'm just going to delete that text frame. I'll double click on page 2 to go there and on page 2, I'm going to double click here to switch to the Type Tool and then I will delete the last three bullets.
You can see where this is going. It's not pretty, but it does work. On page 3, I'm going to delete these two, on page 4 I'm going to delete just the last one, and page 5, I'll leave it alone. Basically, you need to think of each page in your InDesign document as a different state, or different transition in your presentation. Each click in the presentation, requires a different page in InDesign. Now that I have set up my pages properly, I'm going to go to the Page Transitions panel and add my transitions from one page to the next.
In the Pages panel, I'll select all of the pages that I want to affect, in this case, I'll click on the first page and then Shift+click on the last page, that selects just those pages. And then I'm going to choose a Transition, you can choose any of these Transitions that you want, but I'm going to choose Wipe, I kind of like that for bullets. I'm going to say Wipe to the Right. To get a preview of this, I simply place my cursor over the little movie at the top here and you can see that it's going to wipe from the left to the right. You can choose your speed, from the Speed pop-up menu, either Medium or Fast usually works pretty well for bullets. Now, we can try it out. I'll go to page 1 and then I'm going to press Shift+ Page Down to go from one page to the next.
You see the change going from one page to the next by using that keyboard shortcut, but you don't actually see the true transition, the Wipe effect that we've applied. To do that, you need to export it as a PDF or a SWF file, either PDF or SWF will work. Let's go ahead and do that. I'll press Command+E or Ctrl+E on Windows to get to the Export dialog box and I will name it, and choose the presentation mode that I want to export to. In this case, I'm going to choose PDF, and then click Save. When you are making a presentation, you want to make sure that Interactive Elements is turned on.
I'm also going to View the PDF after Exporting, so it will just open it automatically for me. I'll click Export, and it will save the file to disk, and open it in Acrobat. Now, Acrobat will only show the page transitions when you're in Full Screen Mode. So I'll go into Full Screen Mode by pressing Command+L or Ctrl+L on Windows. Now let's try it out. I'll click the button and I get my first bullet point. You can also use the left or right arrows in Acrobat to move from one page to the next. I'm pressing the right arrow and you can see it's adding the bullet points.
To jump out of Full Screen Mode in Acrobat, I just press the Esc key. As I said earlier, this trick also works if you're making SWF presentations. You just need to export it as a SWF instead of a PDF. InDesign can make presentations look very pretty, but you sometimes have to go through some extra steps to make a presentation function the way you want.
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