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While PDFs can be used for printing, they also have interactive features that make them great for forms, brochures, and prototypes. In this course, InDesign insider David Blatner tells you what interactive PDFs are, why they're so useful, and how to make them yourself with Adobe InDesign and Acrobat. Learn to make hyperlinks to websites, other pages in your document, and email; add buttons that navigate, show, and hide content; create a form with check boxes and text entry fields; and embed audio and video. Plus, discover how to add polish with calculations, page transitions, and more.
In one sense, every PDF file is an interactive PDF. I mean, you interact with it while you're reading it, right? But generally, we use the term interactive PDF when we're talking about a PDF file that is meant to be viewed on screen. And the interactive PDF features are the parts of a PDF that take your audience beyond the basic reading experience, where they're just looking at a page, and give them more, like buttons that let them navigate around the file. Videos that explain the subject in detail, windows that can open and close, hyperlinks, sounds, even check boxes, and text entry fields. You might use interactive PDFs for online publications like we do with InDesign magazine.
We've been producing this magazine for almost a decade, and the whole thing is designed to be read on screen, though I have met folks who religiously print out each issue and put them in binders to read. I use Interactive PDF for presentation slides, because InDesign offers far more control over typography and page design than PowerPoint or Keynote. You might use Interactive PDF for forms that someone can download and fill out, submitting the data right into a spreadsheet for you to analyze. PDFs are of course great for books and documentation.
But when you add some interactivity, you can turn a document into an experience that will draw your reader in and hold their attention longer. And best of all, interactive PDFs are easy to make, easy to distribute and easy to read on virtually any device.
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