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Setting up an interactive document

From: InDesign CS4: 10 Things to Know About Interactive PDFs

Video: Setting up an interactive document

Let's create a new interactive document. I'll go to the New Document dialog box and now the very first thing you need to ask yourself is, do I want portrait or landscape? That is, do I want my document taller than it is wide or wider than it is tall? The decision depends largely on how likely it is that your audience will view it on screen or will print it. If you think your audience will play with the interactivity a little bit and then just go ahead and print it, then you should set your document up for print, that is Portrait.

Setting up an interactive document

Let's create a new interactive document. I'll go to the New Document dialog box and now the very first thing you need to ask yourself is, do I want portrait or landscape? That is, do I want my document taller than it is wide or wider than it is tall? The decision depends largely on how likely it is that your audience will view it on screen or will print it. If you think your audience will play with the interactivity a little bit and then just go ahead and print it, then you should set your document up for print, that is Portrait.

On the other hand if you're expecting them primarily to view it on screen, then match that document to the screen and go landscape. The next choice has to do with the Page Size. Now most interactive designers think in pixels, but InDesign doesn't offer pixels, however it does offer points. And because interactive documents typically assume a standard resolution of 72 dpi and because there are 72 points per inch, then points and pixels are identical in interactive documents.

For example, if I want let's say, an 800X600 document, I can come over here and just type in 800 points wide. Now I will hit Tab to go to the Height and do 600 points. Now notice that it's doing the conversion from points into picas. That's just because in my default installation of InDesign it's set up to picas. You can change that in the Preferences dialog box to points and then you'll be seeing the points instead of picas. Now you may have noticed that when I type that in, InDesign automatically shows the value 800X600, out of the Page Size pop-up menu. If I click on that pop-up menu you can see that, that option was actually already there inside the pop-up menu.

There's a bunch of presets in here that you can choose from including the 640X480 or a little larger the 1024X768. It's completely up to you. You can choose any of these. In fact, if you're making a document that will be both read on screen and for print then there's a reasonably good chance that you would want to choose either Letter or A4. Both the Letter and A4 set landscape match screen size reasonably well. For example, in InDesign Magazine, that's a magazine that I'm Editorial Director for, we just use Letter size instead of Landscape because we expect that people will mostly view it on screen.

But every now and again, they will want to print out an article. Finally, let's take a look at some of these other options. We definitely don't need Facing Pages for making an interactive document and we probably don't need Margins either. Although I find it useful to have a little bit of Margin on each side, just to set a little bit of an offset so I can see and don't put stuff too close to the edge. But that's completely up to you. If we click on More Options we see the Bleed and Slug guides but that we definitely don't need in an interactive document, that's just for print.

So I'll click OK and now that we've set up the page, it's time to start adding backgrounds, text images and interactive elements such as buttons, movies and sounds.

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