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InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics
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Exporting to XFL


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InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics

with David Blatner

Video: Exporting to XFL

InDesign is a great page layout tool and it's great that it lets you make buttons, and hyperlinks, and things, but that's just not nearly enough control when you are building really rich interactive documents. For that, Adobe says you should use Flash and the good news is that you can export your InDesign in a format that Flash can understand, it's called XFL. I will go the File menu and choose Export. Tell InDesign where I want to put it and choose Adobe Flash CS4 Pro XFL from the Format menu. When I save it, InDesign asks me some questions. Do you want to scale it? Sure, let's scale it down to 640x480, or you could any of these other presets, or just dial in a specific Height and Width if you have them. How many pages do you want to take out of this? It's a three page document. I am just going to take all three of them. If this were a facing pages document, it could merge those facing pages, the left hand and the right hand page, into a single spread. I am going to turn that off though. It doesn't really matter because this is a single sided document. Rasterize Pages will turn each page into a giant bitmap. I am not entirely sure why you would want to do that XFL. There might be some good reason for it, but in this case I will leave that turned off because I want each of those to be interactive and editable object in Flash.
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  1. 2m 11s
    1. Welcome
      1m 3s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 8s
  2. 25m 16s
    1. Reviewing Control panel shortcuts
      8m 34s
    2. Managing panels
      6m 14s
    3. Letting InDesign do the math
      2m 52s
    4. Using Selection tool clicks
      1m 39s
    5. Using Quick Apply shortcuts
      3m 2s
    6. Setting up context shortcuts
      2m 55s
  3. 23m 51s
    1. Using column guides
      3m 42s
    2. Formatting and positioning guides
      5m 15s
    3. Setting first baseline options
      5m 30s
    4. Using the Document grid
      3m 13s
    5. Setting bleeds
      3m 3s
    6. Using slugs
      3m 8s
  4. 48m 2s
    1. Shuffling pages (or not)
      2m 47s
    2. Scaling objects to a specific size
      2m 32s
    3. Aligning objects to a page
      4m 41s
    4. Using advanced libraries
      4m 5s
    5. Using advanced anchored objects
      11m 21s
    6. Setting non-printing objects
      3m 10s
    7. Creating notes
      5m 23s
    8. Using Data Merge
      10m 41s
    9. Creating templates
      3m 22s
  5. 39m 32s
    1. Creating polygons and starbursts
      2m 35s
    2. Setting custom stroke styles
      5m 15s
    3. Using advanced effects
      8m 46s
    4. Making masks in InDesign
      4m 10s
    5. Integrating InDesign and Illustrator
      4m 59s
    6. Setting compound paths
      5m 4s
    7. Using advanced clipping paths
      6m 6s
    8. Using advanced image transparency
      2m 37s
  6. 55m 26s
    1. Using advanced text formatting
      5m 37s
    2. Using other languages
      4m 22s
    3. Setting advanced paragraph numbering
      3m 12s
    4. Using GREP to find/change
      6m 54s
    5. Managing glyphs
      5m 6s
    6. Finding and changing glyphs
      2m 39s
    7. Adding footnotes
      7m 57s
    8. Creating outlines
      3m 39s
    9. Setting conditional text
      9m 16s
    10. Creating cross-references
      6m 44s
  7. 33m 3s
    1. Advanced text importing
      7m 49s
    2. Using Apply Next Style
      5m 4s
    3. Advanced text styling
      6m 9s
    4. Setting load styles
      2m 58s
    5. Linking to text files on disk
      4m 1s
    6. Understanding GREP styles
      7m 2s
  8. 1h 4m
    1. Building a multi-document book
      4m 42s
    2. Setting page numbering across books
      7m 53s
    3. Setting chapter numbering
      6m 7s
    4. Using the Section Marker feature
      6m 53s
    5. Creating "Continued On..." numbers
      4m 44s
    6. Synchronizing documents in a book
      5m 41s
    7. Creating a table of contents
      11m 24s
    8. Indexing documents
      7m 24s
    9. Generating an index
      6m 47s
    10. Printing or exporting a book
      3m 10s
  9. 46m 4s
    1. Creating hyperlinks
      12m 53s
    2. Setting bookmarks
      6m 7s
    3. Creating buttons
      11m 16s
    4. Making movies
      8m 24s
    5. Creating sounds
      4m 51s
    6. Setting page transitions
      2m 33s
  10. 25m 59s
    1. Setting up swatch and style defaults
      3m 24s
    2. Using mixed ink colors
      6m 16s
    3. Working with duotones
      4m 23s
    4. Overprinting
      2m 10s
    5. Ink aliasing
      4m 50s
    6. Using the Kuler panel
      4m 56s
  11. 50m 27s
    1. Creating the transparency blend space
      4m 6s
    2. Understanding InDesign color settings
      9m 8s
    3. Assign Profile and Convert to Profile
      3m 26s
    4. Working with RGB images
      7m 54s
    5. Working with CMYK images
      6m 28s
    6. Soft-proofing
      5m 18s
    7. Managing color at print time
      7m 25s
    8. Managing color in a PDF export
      6m 42s
  12. 42m 1s
    1. Embedding preflight profiles
      5m 1s
    2. Using the Transparency Flattener preview
      3m 23s
    3. Reviewing Transparency Flattener settings
      6m 30s
    4. Setting print presets
      3m 35s
    5. Setting PDF presets
      3m 21s
    6. Exporting to XHTML
      7m 42s
    7. Exporting to SWF
      6m 45s
    8. Exporting to XFL
      5m 44s
  13. 25m 58s
    1. Understanding XML and InDesign
      6m 51s
    2. Structuring InDesign content
      4m 17s
    3. Importing XML
      6m 57s
    4. Exporting to XML
      7m 53s
  14. 34s
    1. Goodbye
      34s

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InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics
8h 3m Intermediate Dec 05, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Automating with Data Merge and XML
  • Optimizing page layouts
  • Using advanced effects
  • Creating interactive documents
  • Integrating with Illustrator
Subject:
Design
Software:
InDesign
Author:
David Blatner

Exporting to XFL

InDesign is a great page layout tool and it's great that it lets you make buttons, and hyperlinks, and things, but that's just not nearly enough control when you are building really rich interactive documents. For that, Adobe says you should use Flash and the good news is that you can export your InDesign in a format that Flash can understand, it's called XFL. I will go the File menu and choose Export. Tell InDesign where I want to put it and choose Adobe Flash CS4 Pro XFL from the Format menu. When I save it, InDesign asks me some questions. Do you want to scale it? Sure, let's scale it down to 640x480, or you could any of these other presets, or just dial in a specific Height and Width if you have them. How many pages do you want to take out of this? It's a three page document. I am just going to take all three of them. If this were a facing pages document, it could merge those facing pages, the left hand and the right hand page, into a single spread. I am going to turn that off though. It doesn't really matter because this is a single sided document. Rasterize Pages will turn each page into a giant bitmap. I am not entirely sure why you would want to do that XFL. There might be some good reason for it, but in this case I will leave that turned off because I want each of those to be interactive and editable object in Flash.

Transparency is an interesting problem when it comes to InDesign and Flash because there is all kinds of transparency effects that you can do in InDesign that just cannot be reproduced in Flash. Flash doesn't have those features. So, what do you want have happen to transparency? For example, this logo in the background, that graphic there, has some interesting blending mode assigned to it. I am pretty sure that's not going to come across in Flash. So I have an option, I can flatten the transparency. In other words, it fakes the transparency effect by making lots and lots of little tiny new objects that look like they are transparent, but they are not really transparent or I could leave it alone and let that the Flash Developer handle that downstream. The choice of which to use really depends on, what's going to happen to those transparent objects? For example, if the Flash Developer was going to take this background graphic and have it fade in or something. Well, then I would not want to flatten it, I would want it to be an actual true editable object like a single object in the XFL file, but if it's just going to be sitting in the background, then flattening up might not be such a big deal.

Just as we saw with the SWF export, we have a choice of what's going to happen with text. Is it going to be converted to Flash Text or are we going to Rasterize it or just turn it into Vector Paths, in other words, convert everything to outlines. In most cases, I am going to leave it set to Flash Text because I want that text to be editable in Flash. When I click OK, InDesign gives me a Warning that the transparency attributes may not be preserved. So I need to be careful about what's going to happen here to that stuff. Basically is that, it's just an alert sign, watch out for those transparent effects.

I will click OK and it writes the XFL file to disk. Now I will switch over to Flash and open that XFL file. There it is up on my Desktop, I click Open. Flash starts opening the XFL file. The XFL file format is actually like a zipped up version of a whole folder full of lots of little files, the graphics, and all the objects, all the elements of the text, and so on and so the longer your document, the more objects there are in the document, the longer it takes to open it in Flash. There are a couple of things that you, the InDesign user, should know about how this file shows up in Flash? First of all, we can see that the graphics back here, because I did not flatten the transparency, came in very different than they are in InDesign. So once again, you or the Flash Developer needs to be aware that there could be issues for transparency.

Second, notice that each page showed up as a separate frame in the TIMELINE. There is page two, there is page three, each one of these is a separate frame. Next, even though we specify things like page transitions, and hyperlinks, movies, and all kinds of stuff, that stuff does not get quick into the XFL file. So Adobe is assuming that all your interactivity is going to be created in Flash, not InDesign. It basically strips all that out. Those features that we have talked about in the interactive chapter are all for SWF files, exporting SWF right out of InDesign, or for interactive PDF files, they are not for XFL files.

Now I will select the Selection tool and double click on this object and you can see we are going inside this page. It's basically a giant movie clip and inside page 3, there is lots of different objects. For example, here is this one object that we can move and change inside Flash. Now I am not going to pretend that I know much about Flash. This is not my strong point. At this point, what I will do with XFL is hand it off to a developer who knows Flash, who knows ActionScript, and they can take it and run with it.

If you want to learn more about Flash, I would definitely recommend you check out the Flash Essentials Training title here at lynda.com Online Training Library, but for now, we are just going to leave this alone. I would say one more thing about this Flash file, however, and that is, if you have a multi-page InDesign document and each one of these pages shows up on a different frame, you are definitely going to need to know ActionScript in order to create navigation links and all kinds of stuff. You are going to need to know a bunch about Flash to do that. On other hand, if you just had a single page InDesign document that you have exported as XFL and opened in Flash, well, then you probably don't need too much. You probably don't even need to know ActionScript to add some interactivity, especially because of Flash CS4's Motion Presets features.

Anyway, I am still hoping that in CS5, Adobe will give us more Flash-like features right inside of InDesign so that I can do more of this myself before I export to SWF, but in the meantime, go find a good ActionScript developer to partner with and you will be making amazing interactive files based on you InDesign layouts in no time.

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