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David Blatner brings his knowledge of and passion for InDesign to the latest release of this state-of-the-art publishing program, showing how to harness its power and functionality. InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics covers the process of publishing with an eye on the program's latest nuances: optimizing page layouts, automating InDesign with Data Merge and XML, exploring interactive documents (including making movies), and exporting publications to a variety of formats. Exercise files accompany the course.
If you can remember back to the late 20th century, you may remember a time when computers didn't react to your actions, when text was simply presented on the screen without any option for clicking on it. Those were the dark ages. Today, savvy readers expect a little bit more in the way of interactivity. So in this chapter we are going to explore your options for making your documents do stuff, and we will start with the simplest interactivity of all, building hyperlinks. But before I go any farther I want to point out that when I talk about building interactive documents, I mean Interactive PDF and Flash SWF documents. You can import movies and make buttons and all kinds of things in InDesign, and I will be discussing those in the following movies, but those things don't do anything until you export the file as a PDF or SWF. I will show you the key to doing that in just a moment, but first, how to build a hyperlink.
I have my Bliss_Interactive document open from the Exercise Files and I want to open the Hyperlinks panel. Right now I have the Interactivity workspace selected, so the Hyperlinks panel is easy to find. But if you have some other workspace selected, you can always go to the Window menu and choose Hyperlinks from the Interactive submenu. Hyperlinks can be added to any text or any object. Let's see how to do it. First, select some text. I will just double-click on here and select a little bit of random text in here. Now, the easiest thing to do is simply to come up here and type in the URL field of the Hyperlinks panel. So I can come in here and just type, let's say google.com. I hit Enter and it adds the hyperlink, so there is the hyperlink in the Hyperlinks panel and the hyperlink shows up here on the page.
Now if I zoom in on this, Cmd+2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows, it looks just fine, right? But if I come out of Preview Mode and I go into Normal Mode, you will see a black rectangle around that text. That black rectangle is telling you that it's a hyperlink, but the problem is that black rectangle will also show up in your final PDF document, and that is not good. It's really ugly in my opinion. So we want to get rid of that. The way to do that is to edit the hyperlink and you can edit the hyperlink just by double clicking on it in the Hyperlinks panel. I will double click on it and look at the bottom of the Edit Hyperlink dialog box. It says Appearance and the first item in here is Type: Visible Rectangle. I don't like that one bit. So I am going to set it to Invisible Rectangle so that I don't get an annoying rectangle either on screen or in Acrobat or in the SWF.
The problem though is that now nobody can see that it's a hyperlink. So it's a good idea to apply some kind of styling to this text, just to make it look a little bit more like a hot zone or a spot that I can click on. The best way to do that, in my opinion, is to apply a character style. So you can turn on the Style checkbox here and then choose a character style out of the Character Style pop-up menu. Right now there is none available, so we better go create one. I will click OK, open the Character Styles panel, and I am just going to make a quick new character style here by Option or Alt clicking on the New Character Style button, and I am going to called this hyperlinks. Then we will just change something, maybe we will make it a nice blue color, and maybe why don't we give it an underline, it's always nice to have those little underlines there. Just a little thin underline, 0.5 point, maybe 1 point down, Solid underline. That will look okay. Let's click OK, and then go edit this hyperlink one more time.
I will double click on it and choose my new character style out of the Character Style pop-up menu here. There we go. Blue and underlined. Since I am here, I want to point out that at the top of this dialog box it says Link To: Shared Destination. What is a shared destination? A shared destination is a destination, typically a web page or maybe a mail address or perhaps even a different page in this document, and it's shared. Meaning that I can use it over and over again within this document. Let me give you an example of an unshared destination. I will click OK, and I am going to select some different text in here. I will come over here, and instead of just typing in this field, because when you type in this field you always get a shared destination, instead of doing that I am going to choose New Hyperlink from the flyout menu.
Now, I once again get a choice between Link To: Shared Destination, or all these other kinds of destinations, and these are going to be not shared, they are going to be like one time only destinations. For example, if I want to make a destination to let's say my own website, www.63p.com. Well, I have a choice now to either share this. In other words, I would do that if I am going to be using this URL over and over again, or make it unshared, which means that I am only going to be using this one time. Don't remember it, don't put it in a pop-up menu for me to grab later.
I want to make sure that my type is set to Invisible, my Character Style is to Hyperlinks, looks good, click OK, and we can see that now it shows up here, it shows up here, but it does not show up in my pop-up menu. It is showing up in the field here, but its not showing up in the pop-up menu for me to grab later. For example, if I select some other text here, I can't automatically grab it out of that pop-up menu, because its not shared. When I am creating interactive PDFs or SWFs, I tend to make most of my URL destinations unshared, because they are only like one-offs, and I try and keep the number of shared destinations to a minimum, and the reason is, it can really clutter up your pop-up menus and your dialog boxes. It just becomes kind of a hassle if you have too many shared destinations, so keep those to a minimum.
Okay. Let's make a couple more hyperlinks. I will select some text. I am going to come up here and say New Hyperlink, and instead of making a URL destination, I am going to make an Email destination. Here I will say, let's send this to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the subject line will be Interactive Documents. Now, when I do this I am creating a link that is going to send an email, in this case to me. So I will turn off Shared Hyperlink Destination, because I don't want it cluttering up my pop-up menus, I will make sure everything is set up here, and I click OK. Now I have got a URL that's going to go to my particular email address. So that's kind of cool. Now you know how to reach me, I suppose, so maybe that's a dangerous thing, I am taking a risk there. Don't email me, don't email me. Okay. You can email me if you need to.
In the meantime, I want to show you another type of hyperlink, one that goes to a different page. Let's say I will select this text up here; in fact, this time I won't select the text, I am going to select the whole object. I am just going to use the Selection tool to select this text frame, and I am going to make a new URL. This time, instead of taking it out of the pop-up menu, the flyout menu from the panel, I am just going to click on the button at the bottom of the Hyperlinks panel. That's the same thing. It's the Create New Hyperlink button. I am going to say this one is going to go to a different page. Which page is it going to go to? Well, first you need to say what document it's going to go to; in this case it's just going to the same document. Then you are going to say what page. Say we go to Page 3 of this document, and we can choose what the Zoom setting will be. You have all kinds of options here. I am going to set it to Fit in Window so that when it gets to Page 3 it will automatically fit that into the window.
Now, in this case because I have an object selected, I cannot apply a character style to that. I wish I could apply an object style or something like that, but can't do that in InDesign CS4. We will just have to remember that it is a hyperlink. I will click OK, and I am going to remember that's a hyperlink for when we try it out later on. Okay. Just a couple more things about the Hyperlinks panel. One is, if I select something here, for example, this item here, which I know is a page link because of that little page icon there. Look at the bottom of the Hyperlinks panel; I have these little buttons, little arrows down here. This means go to the destination itself. So I can actually try this hyperlink out by clicking on that; it takes me right to Page 3, look at that, I like that.
I can also select the URL and say; take me back to the hyperlink itself. So I click on that and it takes me back and selects the object. Same thing here. If I don't remember, you know, what is this chocolate as defined? It's going to take me to Google, but where is it in my document? Just click on this 'Take me to the Hyperlink' button; and I better hide the Character Styles here so we can see it better. Now I will click on that and it takes me right to it and selects the text. So that could be very, very handy when you are trying to try out your hyperlinks and also when you are trying to figure out where those hyperlinks came from.
In this case, I happened to know this is a Named Hyperlink Destination, its one that goes to Google, and it shows up here in my pop-up menu. But what if I want to change that, what if I wanted it to go to someplace else? Well, I could go to the Hyperlinks flyout menu and choose Hyperlink Destination Options. This lets me see all the destinations in this document, and it lets me edit them; by clicking on the Edit menu, and then I can change its name if I want to. The name is simply what shows up in that pop-up menu, it doesn't change the URL at all. But I will just change this to, let's say, Search Engine. Then I am going to say, well, what if we change the Search Engine to yahoo.com instead. Click OK, and it updates.
Now, it doesn't change any of the names of the hyperlinks in the Hyperlink panel, but if I later go and make a new hyperlink here, you will see what shows up in this pop-up menu, Search Engine, not Google, not the URL, just Search Engine. When I select it, it automatically adds that URL; here let me grab it there, it automatically sets it to yahoo.com. So that's how you can change those destinations. In fact, this one up here is also being change to yahoo.com as well behind the scenes, because it was a shared destination. So I change it in one place and it changes all of those URLs throughout the document.
By the way, I pointed out that I can take a hyperlink here that takes me to Page 3, but I forgot to make a hyperlink that takes me back to Page 1, so I better do that. I just want to point out one of my favorite hyperlink tricks is, you don't have to make a hyperlink that's visible, you can make a completely invisible hyperlink with any frame. Any frame you want. I am going to make a big frame over most of this page here, and with that big invisible frame sitting on top; I will make this a page hyperlink back to Page 1. I will set this to Fit in Window as well, click OK, and we can see that now this object itself shows up in the Hyperlinks panel, under the name Hyperlink 5; not very descriptive but you get the idea, and we now have a hyperlink that won't show up at all on screen, but when you click on that page, it will take you back to Page 1. Let's try it. Click on that, click on the Go to. Yup, it took me back to Page 1.
Of course, we can also remove some of these hyperlinks; let me make this a little bit longer. By the way, you can also adjust how much space the Hyperlinks gets versus the Cross- References by dragging that center point, that center line in between the Hyperlinks and Cross-References. Lot of people don't realize that. But let's go ahead and select one of these hyperlinks and go to it so it's selected in the text itself. What if I want to delete it, what if I don't want that to be a hyperlink anymore? No big deal. Just select it in the Hyperlinks panel, and click on the little Trash Can button, and it goes away.
Okay. Now, it's time to finally try out our hyperlinks and see if they work. I will go to the File menu, choose Export. I will make sure the Format pop-up menu is set to Adobe PDF, in this case, although SWF will also work, and I will click Save. Let's go ahead and view the PDF after exporting. That will make it easier. I don't have to double click on it myself later. Then, down here in the lower left corner, the most important thing of all, Include Hyperlinks. I can't tell you how many InDesign users complain that their hyperlinks don't work, and it all comes down to them simply not turning on that checkbox. If you don't turn that checkbox on the hyperlinks will not be in your PDF files.
I will click Export. It will export the file, it will open up in Acrobat and we can see that there is the hyperlinks. In fact, if I hover my cursor over it I get a different kind of cursor and it tells me that it's going to go to Yahoo! Here is another one that's going to the 63p, this one is going to another -- oops, that's the mail to link there. If I hover over this little text over here, it will take me directly to where? Let's click, there we go, Page 3. It took me right to the right page. If I click anywhere in the center area-- remember there's that invisible hyperlink there? Click anywhere on there, it takes me back to Page 1. So the hyperlinks all worked.
In a later chapter I am going to be showing you how you can do the same thing, exporting all these hyperlinks out to a SWF file. If there is any chance your documents will be read on screen, you owe it to yourself and your readers to create hyperlinks that will help them navigate the document or jump to other resources. In the next movie, we will take a look at a second form of navigation in PDF files called Bookmarks.
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