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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.
Look, maybe you're a great artist and designer, but me, I am just a production guy. I can barely design my way out of a paper bag. If I had to make my own interactive buttons from scratch, they would probably look really dorky. So I was really happy to hear that Adobe would ship a bunch of nice looking buttons with InDesign. Unfortunately, they hid them so well that most users never even see them. But for you, this one time only, I will let you in on the secret. Where to find the super-secret Sample Buttons library? The first place you can find that Sample Buttons library is to go to the Workspaces pop-up menu up in the Application bar and choose Interactivity. When you choose Interactivity, you get, voila, the Sample Buttons library right here in the panel dock.
Now this kind of panel is a little bit different than the other panels. The other panels are basically features inside of InDesign. This Sample Buttons library is a library, it's a plain old library file that ships with InDesign and they simply put it inside the dock here, so it'd be easier to find. I'll close that again by clicking on this little button here, and I am going to open up the Buttons panel. In fact I'm going to drag this Buttons panel out, because I'll be needing that in just a moment. But I just want to show you that inside the Buttons panel fly-out menu, there is in fact another way to get to that same library by choosing Sample Buttons. So there we go, even if we weren't in Interactivity mode, I can still get to the Sample Buttons from that fly-out menu.
And a third way that you can get to Sample Buttons, this is really complicated. You go to the Window menu, and choose Sample Buttons. It's as easy as that. Just choose Sample Buttons. I could not believe that Sample Buttons was hiding there in the Window menu. I was using InDesign for a month or two before I noticed that it was down there at the bottom of that Window menu. But however you open the Sample Buttons library, you do want to open it because there are some really good buttons in here that you can use. For example, I am going to grab these two little arrows down here. I would click on number 39 and Shift+click on 40 to select both of those, and I'll just drag these out on to my page. There we go, and you can see that by dragging them down, I just pulled them out of the library and put them on to my document page.
Now I'll go ahead and close that panel and we can see that these are just normal InDesign objects. If I put them on a document page instead of a master page, so why don't I cut those out with a Command+X or a Ctrl+X on Windows and I'll jump over to master page A with a Command+J or Ctrl+J on Windows. Press A, and OK. And now why don't I go to the Edit menu and choose Paste in Place, and then we're going to paste it exactly in the same location as they were originally. You know that they are kind of small right now. So why don't we make them a little bit bigger, about 200% size, there we go. I'll zoom in to 200% size as well with a Command+2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows, just so we can really see them on the page and I can position them precisely. Now each one of these as I mentioned is a normal InDesign object. You can edit it, you can change it's shape, you can change it's effects. Right now if I go to the Effects panel, we can see that indeed there is an effect applied to this. If I double-click on this little fx icon, we can see that it has a Satin effect applied to it. So that's why we get that kind of satiny look here.
I could choose Bevel and Emboss to make it even more interesting. It's just going to be a little bit too big for this object though. How about just 1.5 points, and click OK. Now it has kind of a Bevel and Emboss and Satin applied to it. I'll do the same thing to this object as well. Since, I want both of these to look the same, give it a Bevel and Emboss, make this a little bit smaller, and it's good to go. Now the other thing that's interesting about these button objects from the Sample Buttons library is that they automatically have Actions applied to them. I'll move this Buttons panel over here, so we can see that this button here has both a Normal and a Rollover state. If I click on Rollover, you can see that that's what it's going to look like when it's in Rollover state. This is what it's going to look like in Normal state.
You can see that there is Events applied, so On Release, that is, when I let go over the mouse button, On Release go to the previous page, there we go. That's exactly what I wanted it to do. Click on this one and we can say On Release go to the next page. So that's great. It already has the features applied to it automatically. Now I don't have to use those. I could change that to any other Action I want to in here. But in this case I do want to go ahead and leave them set to Go To Previous or Next page. Let's zoom out to fit in window here and do a Command+J or Ctrl+J on Windows.
Go back to page 2, we can see that, there we go on page 2, I have got the buttons. On page 3, I have got the buttons, and so on. I just did a Shift+Page Down there to move to the next page. So I can see that those buttons because they're on a master page show up on all my document pages. Let's try them out. I'll press Command E or Ctrl+E on Windows. I am going to Export this as a PDF file to test out our interactive PDF features. Click Save. I am going to view this after exporting, and I want to make sure at I have Interactive Elements turned on, that way I will actually get the buttons I want. I am going to change this to just pages 3 to 4 because I am just going to test this out first. I don't need the entire document, it will take too long.
I'll click Export, so it writes the PDF to disc, and then it'll open it up in Acrobat. Here it is with the buttons and you can see that the Rollovers are automatically applied to them. If I click on this one, it takes me to the next page, if I click on this one it takes me to the previous page. So it works. I am going to switch back to here in InDesign, open my Sample Buttons library and you know I really only have one complaint about these buttons, and that is they are not enough of them. I wish Adobe would have given us even more to choose from. Well, may be they will in InDesign CS5.
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