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While PDFs can be used for printing, they also have interactive features that make them great for forms, brochures, and prototypes. In this course, InDesign insider David Blatner tells you what interactive PDFs are, why they're so useful, and how to make them yourself with Adobe InDesign and Acrobat. Learn to make hyperlinks to websites, other pages in your document, and email; add buttons that navigate, show, and hide content; create a form with check boxes and text entry fields; and embed audio and video. Plus, discover how to add polish with calculations, page transitions, and more.
I'm not going to spend a lot of time creating a document from scratch. After all you already know how to make pages in InDesign. But, I do want to talk about how you might want to set up your InDesign file. Whether you're building a new one or if you already have a document that you want to convert into a interactive PDF. Let's start with those documents that we already have. this file was layed out on a letter sized page and it looks just ready to print. And in fact it was originally designed for print, but now we've decided to put it on a webpage for download. We're not going to be adding a lot of interactivity to this, we're just going to add some hyperlinks. So really, because this is a very simple document, I don't really need to do anything special in order to get it ready to be an interactive document. But I do want to take a moment and look at the colors. Colors can sometimes be an issue when you're creating interactive PDFs. For example, I'm going to go over here to the Swatches panel and we can see that this document was created primarily using the CMYK swatches. I can tell each of these swatches is a CMYK color because of the little CMYK icon in the right column.
However, this document was also created using RGB colors. I'll scroll down here. And we can see we have a bunch of RGB colors as well. In fact, this word art, is assigned an RGB orange. Now if I were sending this document to be printed on a printing press that might raise some alarms. I typically do not want to use RGB for that kind of document. But for a document that I'm putting up on a website, mostly seen on screen, maybe printed on a desktop printer. That's totally fine. You can mix your RGB and CNYK.
But there's another color setting inside In Design that most In Design users don't know about. And it's hiding under the Edit menu, way down at the bottom. The transparency blend space. The transparency blend space has to do with how colors are blended together when you use transparency effects. Like the effects that you typically get from the Effects Panel Opacity, Blending Mode and so on. Most documents are set to document CMYK and that's fine for documents that are going to be printed. That's typically what you'd want, but for interactive PDF documents, you often get an RGB PDF.
An RGB blending spaces are different. In other words, when you export your PDF and it ends up in RGB, the colors may not look like they did in InDesign. Fortunately, you can preview that effect, what the colors will look like, right here in InDesign by changing the transparency blend space to document RGB. Did you see that? All of those rich jewel tone colors all of a sudden went almost to black. If I had exported my PDF file and all those colors changed, that would really be an unpleasant surprise.
So I have two choices here. I could either change the transparency effects here in InDesign so look that they look good again here in InDesign in the RGB work space. Or I could go back to CMYK transparency blend space, and change my PDF output. And later on in this chapter when I talk about exporting PDFs I'll show you what you need to do in order to make sure you get true CMYK output instead of RGB. Let's talk about creating a new document, something that's going to be destined to be primarily an interactive PDF.
I'll go to the File menu, and choose New Document, and right here in the New document dialog box I'm going to turn on the preview check box, so that I can see what I'm doing. The very first thing you need to pay attention to in the New Document dialog box, is the intent. And right now it's set to Print, and I'm going to change it to Web instead. Now I know what you're thinking, I'm not doing a web page, but that's okay. Adobe came up with this crazy wording. It doesn't mean web, it just means on-screen. When you choose the Web intent, or the On-screen intent, I like to call it, it changes several things. First of all, it turns off Facing Pages, because you probably don't need that on in this kind of document.
It also changes all of your measurements to pixels instead of inches or millimeters or whatever you like using. You could always change that later if you want to. By default, it chooses the 800 by 600 page size, which is kind of small. So you probably want to use 1024 by 768 or something larger. But of course, it's an interactive on screen document, it doesn't really matter what you choose. You can make it huge or tiny. I'll go for 1024 by 768 right now. Of course because most screens are wider than they are tall, the orientation is automatically set to landscape. Again, you can change that if you want to.
There's a couple other things that it changes behind the scenes, and I'll show you in just a moment. Interactive PDFs do not have to worry about bleed and slug, so I'm leaving this set to zero. And technically interactive .PDF's don't really have to have margins either, although I usually like to have them on maybe not quite so large. I'll set this on to like 18 pixels hit tab and because the link icon is turned on I get 18 pixels on all sides. That just stops me from moving things to close to the edge of the screen. I'll click OK and I can see immediately this document has no CMY case swatches. Look over here in the swatches panel all of my colors are RGB now even black. Now RGB colors tend to be a little bit more bright, more saturated than CMYK colors.
It doesn't really matter. You can mix RGB and CMYK colors, or lab colors for all I care in the same document. Because it's a web or on screen intent, the other thing that happens is in the Edit menu, the transparency blend space is automatically set to document RGB. So we don't have to worry about that. I am immediately going to do one thing to this document that I think is really important. And that is Add layers. Let's open the Layers panel here. And I can see that all documents just start with a single layer.
I'm going to double click on Layer One and I'm going to call this one My Background layer. Click OK. And then I'm going to hold on the option or Alt key while I click the New Layer button, because that forces this Dialog box to open. And I'm going to create a new one called Text and Graphics. Some people like having these on separate layers. Some people like having them on a single one. But at least have some layer for those. And then I'm going to do one more called interactive. It's a good idea to have at least one whole layer for your interactive objects.
Your hyperlinks, your buttons, your videos, all the things that we're going to be learning how to do in later chapters. You want to have a layer that you can put them on. This falls under the category of one of my primary laws of publishing, and that is take a little bit of time now to set up your document so that you can save even more time down the line. Ultimately, so much depends on the assumptions you have to make about where this document is going to be viewed and what people will do with it. Having a good foundation for your document like this is crucial to avoid problems down the line.
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