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InDesign's high-quality typography and layout tools go beyond print. In InDesign CS4: 10 Things to Know About Interactive PDFs, David Blatner explores interactive PDF files and the techniques used to add movies and sounds to them. In addition, David explains how to avoid common pitfalls and reveals some tricks for making eye-catching documents as efficiently as possible.
When it comes to interactive documents, you just can't do everything in InDesign. Sometimes you need to rely on the interactive document features of Acrobat Pro. For example, in this PDF I laid out the background image, the text, even this movie in InDesign. For example, I can click on here, this movie and actually see the movie play. But when it came time to do these other Interactive Elements, like these radio buttons over here or the text field entries down here that I can click in and then start typing my name. Well, all of that had to be done in Acrobat Pro because InDesign doesn't offer any sorts of tools for creating form fields, that's a real hassle.
And it's even a bigger hassle because as soon as you've finished this kind of PDF, you know that your art director or your client is going to come in and say, this zip code is wrong or can you change this text, or that background or whatever. And that's a hassle because you would to go back to InDesign, you would make the change, export it and then you would have to redo all of these interactive fields, right? Wrong, because InDesign let's you export a flattened version without the interactive and Acrobat let's you import that flat version without affecting any of these interactive features. Let me show you what I mean.
I'm going to switch back to InDesign here and make that change, for example, I'll switch over to the Type Tool and I'll type a different zip code in here, 98101 let's say. May be I'll come up here and change this to a capital P, just make whatever changes I want and may be I'll move this over here. I'm just moving this around a little bit, just to show you that I am making changes in InDesign. Now, I'm going to export that out as a PDF. So I'll press Command+E or Ctrl+E on Windows, and I'll come out to the Export dialog box here, and I'm going to simply Save this, it could have the same name or a different name, it doesn't matter. In this case, I'm going to turn off my Interactive Elements check box and I don't need any of these, the Bookmarks, the Hyperlinks. I don't need these check boxes turned on in this case at all. I'm going to Export this out to the Desktop, and I'll switch back to Acrobat.
If I open this PDF in Acrobat, I can see that all the interactive features are missing. The movie is gone, if I had any buttons on here, they would be gone, the Hyperlinks will be gone, etcetera. But what is here is the changes to the zip code, their logo, and this capital P. I'm going to go ahead and close that PDF, I don't really need it open, I just wanted to show it to you. And instead I'm going to go to the Document menu and choose Replace Pages. This is the key to this whole technique, the Replace Pages feature. I'll choose the PDF that I just exported, the one where the typos were fixed, and I'll choose Select. In this case, it's only a single document, so it's very easy to choose here. I'm going to Replace Page 1, With Page 1, simple as that.
Click OK, and it says, Are you sure? Yes, I'm absolutely sure, click OK. And you can see that it took out the background of the old PDF and I put in the new background. So the logo was updated, the zip code is updated, and this capital P is updated. But the Interactive Elements here, these radio buttons, and the fields, and so on are all still there and the movie still plays. Because Replace Pages leaves all those Interactive Elements intact, you know the movie, sound, form fields, buttons, and so on, we don't have to rebuild that stuff again. And when you're working against a deadline, knowing these kinds of tricks can really help lower your blood pressure and get the job done in time.
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