InDesign CS5 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Creating buttons


InDesign CS5 Essential Training

with David Blatner

Video: Creating buttons

If I asked you what kind of frames InDesign had, you'd probably answer text frames and graphic frames, maybe unassigned frames that don't have anything in them. But InDesign has another kind of frame too that most folks don't know about. Button frames, usually just called buttons. And buttons are only useful when you're making interactive PDF files or SWF files, but they can do all kinds of things like jump to another page, play a movie, or even hide or show other objects on the page. I have my interactive catalog open here, and I'm going to show you how to make two different kinds of buttons.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 33s
    2. What is InDesign CS5?
      2m 26s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 51s
  2. 54m 49s
    1. Understanding the Application window
      6m 0s
    2. Navigating pages
      6m 39s
    3. Zooming and magnifying
      6m 57s
    4. Managing more than one document window
      3m 36s
    5. Setting rulers and measurements
      2m 9s
    6. Positioning panels correctly
      6m 28s
    7. Saving time by making workspaces
      3m 24s
    8. Setting the view quality of artwork
      4m 9s
    9. Adjusting View and Preview settings
      4m 56s
    10. Rotating pages and spreads
      3m 2s
    11. Displaying a new view with the New Window feature
      3m 29s
    12. Setting application and document preferences
      4m 0s
  3. 21m 31s
    1. Using the Tool panel
      8m 1s
    2. Learning and editing keyboard shortcuts
      6m 24s
    3. Working with spring-loaded tool shortcuts
      1m 17s
    4. Using contextual menus
      2m 51s
    5. Choosing menu items with Quick Apply
      2m 58s
  4. 45m 25s
    1. Creating new documents
      7m 28s
    2. Saving and reverting documents
      3m 41s
    3. Using multiple Undo and Revert
      4m 28s
    4. Setting margin and column guides
      5m 16s
    5. Using ruler guides
      8m 10s
    6. Bleeding colors or images off the side of the page
      4m 29s
    7. Saving objects in libraries
      4m 49s
    8. Exporting and importing page snippets
      4m 29s
    9. Saving for CS4 with IDML
      2m 35s
  5. 31m 18s
    1. Inserting, deleting, and moving pages
      7m 23s
    2. Changing page size
      6m 14s
    3. Adding page numbering
      3m 43s
    4. Changing page numbering with sections
      5m 58s
    5. Creating and applying master pages
      5m 20s
    6. Overriding master page items
      2m 40s
  6. 1h 21m
    1. Understanding text frames
      4m 6s
    2. Typing and editing text
      4m 36s
    3. Filling with placeholder text
      2m 38s
    4. Inserting special characters
      4m 43s
    5. Importing text
      7m 49s
    6. Threading text frames
      4m 1s
    7. Setting text frame columns and insets
      6m 32s
    8. Setting vertical justification and first baseline position
      6m 9s
    9. Putting text on a path
      6m 51s
    10. Using the Story Editor
      8m 43s
    11. Checking spelling
      7m 42s
    12. Using Find/Change
      9m 25s
    13. Tracking text changes
      8m 1s
  7. 49m 50s
    1. Importing graphics
      8m 11s
    2. Importing from Mini Bridge
      5m 27s
    3. Using the Links panel
      6m 34s
    4. Embedding links
      2m 37s
    5. Editing graphics in their original app
      3m 14s
    6. Fitting graphics to a frame
      6m 12s
    7. Taking advantage of image transparency and clipping paths
      4m 53s
    8. Adding live captions
      5m 56s
    9. Colorizing images
      2m 1s
    10. Turning image layers on and off
      4m 45s
  8. 46m 15s
    1. Selecting objects
      5m 32s
    2. Applying basic strokes and fills
      8m 18s
    3. Using advanced strokes
      3m 28s
    4. Adjusting transparency
      4m 38s
    5. Adding drop shadows
      6m 41s
    6. Applying feathering
      4m 25s
    7. Copying formatting with the Eyedropper tool
      4m 35s
    8. Finding and changing object formatting
      4m 50s
    9. Making polygons and starbursts
      3m 48s
  9. 22m 56s
    1. Making interactive documents
      2m 6s
    2. Adding hyperlinks
      5m 52s
    3. Building bookmarks
      3m 38s
    4. Creating buttons
      8m 57s
    5. Animating an object
      2m 23s
  10. 23m 15s
    1. Creating color swatches
      5m 52s
    2. The danger and power of unnamed colors
      4m 33s
    3. Building tint swatches
      2m 18s
    4. Creating gradient swatches
      3m 56s
    5. Applying gradients
      6m 36s
  11. 50m 0s
    1. Positioning objects with the Page Gap tool
      2m 53s
    2. Stacking objects
      2m 13s
    3. Creating and controlling layers
      3m 53s
    4. Managing objects in the Layers panel
      3m 37s
    5. Nesting objects
      2m 46s
    6. Editing frame and path shapes
      4m 6s
    7. Adding rounded corners and other corner options
      3m 57s
    8. Grouping objects
      3m 14s
    9. Locking objects
      2m 39s
    10. Aligning and distributing
      5m 43s
    11. Understanding text wrap
      8m 13s
    12. Using anchored objects
      6m 46s
  12. 18m 49s
    1. Duplicating objects
      5m 39s
    2. Rotating objects
      3m 3s
    3. Scaling objects
      3m 57s
    4. Mirroring objects
      3m 46s
    5. Using the Transform Again feature
      2m 24s
  13. 25m 52s
    1. Applying basic character styling
      7m 8s
    2. Applying advanced character formatting
      4m 54s
    3. Changing case
      2m 51s
    4. Understanding OpenType features
      3m 19s
    5. Using Find/Change for text formatting
      3m 18s
    6. Using Find Font
      4m 22s
  14. 45m 27s
    1. Applying formatting to a paragraph
      4m 14s
    2. Spanning a paragraph across multiple columns
      3m 5s
    3. Splitting a paragraph into multiple columns
      2m 1s
    4. Using drop caps
      3m 16s
    5. Adjusting text hyphenation
      3m 21s
    6. Fine-tuning justified text
      4m 19s
    7. Setting tabs
      5m 54s
    8. Aligning to a baseline grid
      4m 24s
    9. Controlling orphans and widows with Keep Options
      2m 39s
    10. Adding rules (lines) above or below a paragraph
      3m 14s
    11. Adding automatic bullets
      4m 39s
    12. Working with numbered lists
      4m 21s
  15. 31m 3s
    1. Creating and applying paragraph styles
      6m 34s
    2. Using character styles
      5m 43s
    3. Applying styles automatically with Nested Styles
      7m 19s
    4. Using object styles
      3m 27s
    5. Using Quick Apply with styles
      2m 49s
    6. Cleaning up a local formatting mess
      5m 11s
  16. 37m 0s
    1. Creating a table
      5m 54s
    2. Adjusting rows and columns
      6m 35s
    3. Formatting a table
      8m 5s
    4. Adding headers and footers
      1m 58s
    5. Applying table styles
      5m 32s
    6. Adding Microsoft Word and Excel tables
      8m 56s
  17. 10m 14s
    1. Checking your document with the Preflight panel
      2m 54s
    2. Creating a custom preflight profile
      4m 45s
    3. Checking color with the Separations Preview
      2m 35s
  18. 31m 6s
    1. Packaging for output
      4m 12s
    2. Using the Print dialog box
      10m 22s
    3. Exporting a PDF
      8m 47s
    4. Exporting an interactive PDF
      3m 59s
    5. Exporting text
      1m 36s
    6. Exporting SWF files
      2m 10s
  19. 1m 32s
    1. Finding more information and help
      1m 12s
    2. Goodbye

Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now
please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course InDesign CS5 Essential Training
10h 33m Beginner Apr 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Author David Blatner provides in-depth training on InDesign CS5, the print and interactive page layout application from Adobe, in InDesign CS5 Essential Training. The course shows how to create new documents with strong and flexible master pages, precisely position text and graphics, prepare documents for print, and export designs as interactive PDF or Flash SWF files. Exercise files are included with the course.

Topics include:
  • Navigating and customizing the workspace
  • Managing documents and pages
  • Rotating pages and spreads
  • Adjusting and mixing page sizes
  • Overriding master page items
  • Putting text on a path
  • Threading text frames
  • Applying strokes, fills, and other formatting effects
  • Nesting, grouping, and locking objects
  • Formatting: character-level and paragraph-level
  • Packaging, printing, and exporting
David Blatner

Creating buttons

If I asked you what kind of frames InDesign had, you'd probably answer text frames and graphic frames, maybe unassigned frames that don't have anything in them. But InDesign has another kind of frame too that most folks don't know about. Button frames, usually just called buttons. And buttons are only useful when you're making interactive PDF files or SWF files, but they can do all kinds of things like jump to another page, play a movie, or even hide or show other objects on the page. I have my interactive catalog open here, and I'm going to show you how to make two different kinds of buttons.

The first one is going to be down here on this video. Now that image of a flower is not a static image. It's actually a Flash movie and I've imported it just the way I'd import any other kind of image. I just went to the File menu, chose Place, grabbed it, positioned it, and so on. It's as easy as that. But I want to have a button start to play the movie, and this is going to be that button. So I select it on my page, and to turn it into a button, I need the Buttons panel. Because I'm in the Interactive workspace right now, the Buttons panel is showing up here in the dock.

So I'll simply click on its tile to open it. Now, here is how hard it is to make a button. You just select your object and click on this button at the bottom of the Buttons panel. That's it. Now it's a button. That button doesn't do anything yet, but it at least is now a button. I want to give it a name up here in the Name field, something descriptive like play video button. That's what I'll call it, and I'm going to give it an action. First, I need to specify what is going to trigger the action. In this case, the event is going to be On Release.

On Release means when the user lets go of the mouse button. You click down and then you click up, and click up means On Release. The action is going to be something from the Actions pop-up menu, and there are all kinds of things buttons can do. In this case, I'm going to do something with video. So I'll choose Video out of here, and you'll see that the Buttons panel expands to give me more options. First, I need to choose which video in my document I want to do something to. There's only one movie. So this is really easy. I'll just select that. And then I need to say, what do I want to do to that movie? Do I want to play it, stop it, pause and so on? I'm going to play it. That's it.

I'm done. I have a button that's going to play that movie. It's as simple as that. Let's go ahead and look at another button. I'm going to zoom back to Fit Page in Window with Command+Option+0, Ctrl+Alt+0. Actually that will fit the whole spread in the window, and I would like to make my interactive table of contents appear and disappear with some buttons. Now, these objects are on a master page. I can tell that because there is a dotted line around everything. So I'm going to jump to my master page by pressing Command+J or Ctrl+J on Windows and then hit A and then Enter or Return to press the OK button. Okay.

Here's my master page. Let's go ahead and zoom in here so we can see this better. Now, I've gone ahead and made most of these objects buttons already. You can see that just by selecting them. I clicked on Golden Gate and you can see that it's a button in the Buttons panel. The reason these are buttons is because they actually take you somewhere. Each of these is going to go to a destination. I've also made a button out of this object up here. This one is going to close my interactive table of contents. But I haven't yet made this object into a button.

This is the semi-transparent white background, which makes my table of contents look better. In order to show or hide any object on the page, you must make it a button. So I'm going to select that, click on Make a Button, and then I'm going to say this is the white frame behind toc. You can call it anything you want. And it's not going to actually do anything. It's just going to sit there behind everything else. But in order to control something in an interactive document, you must make it a button. So once you make it a button, I can tell InDesign to show it or hide it.

Now, there is one more thing I need to do to this button. And that is turn on the Hidden Until Triggered checkbox. When you turn that on you are telling InDesign to hide this at first. Make it hidden so nobody can see it until it's specifically turned on. So I'm going to now do that. I'm going to make a button to make that visible. I'll do that on this object down here, the Contents object. I'll turn this into a button. I'll give it a name. I'll call it show TOC, and I'm going to make it do something.

And the thing it's going to do is Show/Hide Buttons. Now, which buttons should it show? It should show all of these buttons here, even the Close button. So I need to tell it to do that. I'm going to click on the Close button and then click on that little X next to it, and that turns on the eyeball. That means make it visible. I'll scroll down this list a little bit, and I see a whole bunch of buttons, all of these buttons in here that I've made already. I'm going to grab all of those by clicking on the first one and then Shift+Clicking on the last one.

That just selects all of them at once. And I can turn all of those on. In other words, make them all visible by clicking on the eyeball button. There we go. Now they're all visible. I've got one more I need to turn on and that's that white frame. Let's go ahead and turn that one on. There we go. So I now have the white frame, the Close box, and all of these other buttons made visible as soon as I turn on the contents. Let's go ahead and check out our Close button, what that does. That does the same action, Show/Hide Buttons. But instead, we'll see that all of these buttons have a little eyeball with a red slash through them.

That means make them invisible. So the Close button, all of these other ones, and we better choose our white frame and make that invisible as well. So when somebody clicks on this Close button, it's going to make all of those invisible. Got it? Good! Now, there is one last thing I'd like to do and that is make this not only hide and show those things but I want to make it a rollover button. That is, when the user places the cursor over it, I want it to light up to show them that this is interactive.

Can I go that too in InDesign? Absolutely. Look down here in the bottom of the Buttons panel and you'll see the word Rollover. In order to make a rollover state, all I have to do is click it. As soon as I click that, it gives it a Rollover state. Technically, what's going on here is that InDesign is duplicating all the objects inside this button, and it's making some of those objects visible when I'm on the Rollover state, and different objects visible when I'm in the Normal state. So in order to change the appearance of my rollover, I simply click on the Rollover.

That makes the rollover objects visible and then I change the appearance. In this case, I'm going to go to the Window menu, choose Effects, and I'll just give it some kind of glow like this Outer Glow effect. That'll be nice. Move this out of the way so I can seeita better. I'm going to make it a Screen blending mode. I will click on this little white area, which brings up the effect color. Let me pick something bright like a yellow. There we go. A nice yellow glow and I'll make it even brighter by setting the opacity higher. There we go. Looks great! That's a really strong glow so I'll click OK.

So I've now made a Rollover state for this button. I'll click on Normal and you see that I see the object that has no effect. Click on Rollover, and I see the object that has the effect. That's it. We're done. We've made our buttons. Let's test them out. I'll go ahead and close my FX panel, close my Buttons panel, let's jump back to our spread with Command+J or Ctrl+J on Windows, and I'm going to page 6 and let's look at the whole spread, Command+Otion+0 or Ctrl+Alt+0. It's looking pretty good.

And let's go ahead and preview it by clicking on the Preview pane. Now there are three different options at the bottom of the Preview panel. I can preview the entire document, which would actually take a little while because this is a pretty complex document, or I can preview just the object. That's the first button down here, the selected object down here, or the whole spread. That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to preview that whole spread by clicking the Play button. InDesign writes this out to disc as a SWF file and then puts it back in the Preview panel and there we go.

Here is our spread with our buttons. Let's try it out. I'm going to click on the Play Video button and you can see that the movie is playing! Now, I'm going to click in this lower left corner of the window. If you squint, you'll see a little Pause button there. So I'm going to pause the video there and let's try out our other button, the Contents button. As soon as I roll over it, it lights up. See that? Roll off, roll on. So it lights up. The rollover works. Then when I click on it, up comes the table of contents with all of our different buttons that we've made, and then to close it, click on the Close button.

You can see how easy it is to make interactive buttons in InDesign and any object can become a button from text to graphics, even lines.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about InDesign CS5 Essential Training .

Expand all | Collapse all
please wait ...
Q: In the “Exporting to PDF” video, the author states "The flattener, and how to control it, is an advanced topic that I cover in a later title."
Is this “later title” available on yet?
A: Unfortunately that title is still in development. However, the features are exactly the same in CS4, so please see Chapter 11 in InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics.
Q: Can an image be placed into a cell in InDesign?
A: Yes,  but only as an anchored (inline) object. Cut the frame with the Selection tool, switch to the Type tool, click in the cell, and Paste.
Q: Is it possible to load or import pages from one document to another in InDesign CS5?
A: Pages cannot be “loaded”, but they can be "pushed" from one document to another by choosing Layout > Pages > Move Pages.
Q: When I place an image, it is distorted or pixilated to the point of not being able to use it. I can place or open those same images in Photoshop or Illustrator and they are fine.
A: You are likely seeing the low-resolution preview. To see high resolution or vector artwork, choose View > Display Performance > High Quality.
Q: When I place an image, it is distorted or pixilated to the point of not being able to use it. I can place or open those same images in Photoshop or Illustrator and they are fine.
A: You are likely seeing the low-resolution preview. To see high resolution or vector artwork, choose View > Display Performance > High Quality.
Q: I'm looking for a tutorial that will allow me to use InDesign to create files that can be emailed. I guess they have to be converted to HTML first? Is that possible?
A: If you are trying to make an HTML email, then InDesign really isn't the tool for you. It's HTML abilities are extremely limited. Look toward Dreamweaver for that. Alternatively, you could create a layout in InDesign, then export the page as a JPEG image and put that in the email.
Q: Since I upgraded to the new version of InDesign, when I click the "edit original" button in the Links panel, the pictures open in Preview instead of Photoshop
A: "Here are two articles about this problem: 
Q: I cannot see files on the desktop when in InDesign.
A: If you are using the Mac OS, you may need to turn off Window > Application Frame in order to see files behind InDesign (such as those on the Finder Desktop). If you are on Windows, you are seeing a difference between Mac and Windows. In Windows, the application is always living inside the application frame. If you un-maximize the windows frame, you can drag it smaller so you see the desktop and drag to or from it.
Q: I am currently working on an InDesign document originally created in Spanish. I am translating it to English and I need to change the language preference to be able to use the spell check in English. I have changed it in Preferences, but when I go to do the spell check on the document it is still in Spanish. How can I change the spell check to English?
A: Changing the language in preferences does not change the document or text language. You need to change the langauge in the paragraph style or the character style or in the Character panel or the Control panel (select the text first).
Q: In the movie, "Inserting, deleting, and moving pages" the author claims you can Shift-click text and the red overset symbol (a plus sign) will disappear. This isn't working for me.
A: Shift-clicking to make text automatically flow to the next text box or boxes only works when you place text from a loaded cursor. Shift-clicking existing text will not affect it.
Instead, if the overset text symbol appears in an existing text frame, choose the Selection tool and click the symbol to load the text in your cursor. Then Shift-click inside the next text frame to start it auto-flowing from there.
Q: I want to add a 2-page spread following a 1-page spread, but when I insert two new pages, InDesign creates a 3-page spread. How do I solve this?
A: If you're seeing 3-page spreads, turn on Allow Document Pages to Shuffle (and Allow Selected Spread to Shuffle) from the Pages panel menu.
Q: The keys used for navigating to the previous or next spread in a layout (Command+Page Up/Command+Page Down) don't appear on my laptop keyboard and the arrow keys don't work. What keys should I use?
A: Most laptop keyboards don't have these keys anymore. Look for a "modifier" key (such as the Alt or Fn keys) to press to access these keys. For example, on a Macbook Pro, you'd press Command and then Fn+Up Arrow to invoke Next Spread.
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed InDesign CS5 Essential Training.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.