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Author David Blatner provides in-depth training on InDesign CS5, Adobe's print and interactive page layout application, 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.
Earlier in this chapter, we explored making PDF files for print output. Now we turn our attention to those PDFs that are designed to be viewed on screen. Here we have a document with some interactivity, like buttons and hyperlinks. We already know how to get a PDF out, right? We just go to the File menu and choose Export. But for this interactive document we want to choose Adobe PDF (Interactive). When I click Save, up comes the Export to Interactive PDF dialog box. Some of this dialog box is pretty self-explanatory.
For example, which pages do you want? I will do Pages 6-9. I would do the whole document, but it takes a while to export so I will just keep it limited. I am going to view it After exporting. I am going to definitely rmbed my page thumbnails for an interactive PDF. I also like turning on Create Tagged PDF, so that if somebody who is visually impaired wants to use this with a screen reader they can. The next section here has to do with what happens to your PDF when you open it in Acrobat. For example, how do want your viewers to see it when it first opens? Do you want to use Fit Page, so the whole page shows up on the screen, or would you rather make sure it's set to Fit Width, so that just the top part of the screen may be showing? I will use Fit Page.
If you are creating a facing pages document that has a cover page, I definitely recommend using Two-Up (Cover Page). That usually looks best in Acrobat. On the other hand, for a single pages document, go ahead and choose Single Page. For a facing pages document, one that has left and right-handed pages, I usually use Two-Up (Cover Page), especially if there is a page 1, which really is a cover. Of course, if you are only using a single -sided page, you could choose that, but here I am going to use Two-Up. If this document is meant to be a presentation, you will probably want to turn on the Open in Full Screen Mode.
They make this an option because this kind of freaks out some people if all of a sudden it Opens in Full Screen Mode. Now, if you do do that however, you can also set Acrobat to automatically flip your pages every so often. That's great if you are making a presentation that's going to be running like a slideshow. If you haven't already used the Page Transitions panel in InDesign to set your transition, you can set them here. For example, I will choose Blinds. Now, if you have gone through all the trouble to make buttons and add movies and animations and so on, you probably want to include them, so choose Include All.
I am not sure why you would use Appearance Only. I suppose maybe if you were just doing a quick proof to see how the page looked. But in general, just Include All. Now, there is one more thing I want to point out, and that is the resolution. By default, InDesign chooses a low resolution for your images, 72 ppi. In my opinion, that's too low, because if somebody wants to zoom in on an image, it will look really pixelated. So I recommend 144 or maybe even higher. I usually use a nice even 150. Let's try it out.
I am going to click OK. The first thing I see is that InDesign alerts me that one or more interactive elements are clipped. What it's referring to is this movie here. It's a Flash video which has been clipped into a smaller rectangle. PDF has trouble with that kind of clipping, but don't worry. It will all work out. I will click OK and it goes ahead and exports the file. The more complex and large the document is, the longer this will take of course. Because I had turned on that Full Screen Mode, Acrobat is alerting me, watch out.
It's going to go into Full Screen Mode. Is that okay? I will go ahead and click Yes, and we will see that the document fills up the entire screen. Now, let's check our interactivity. I will roll over one of these buttons. Yes, it works. I will click, and it takes me to the next page with that really cool transition. I will try this button over here by clicking Contents. Yup! There is our interactive contents, looking great. I do kind of wish that Adobe would have provided a way to save those interactive PDF settings as presets, so that you could have called up different settings that you have used quickly.
But I think our document looks great and it's ready to ship.
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