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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.
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.
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