Join Mike Rankin for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a navigation system , part of InDesign CS6: Interactive Documents.
It's important to build a navigation system into your interactive documents, so you can get the content you want on screen quickly and easily. The way you do that in InDesign is to create buttons and assign them actions that navigate through the pages of the document. You can also add appearance states so when the user mouses over a button, it changes its appearance. So let's do that to this document. I will start by going to my Pages panel and going to my master page and renaming it. So I will right-click, choose Master Options, I will give it a Prefix of N and a Name of Nav for navigation, and click OK.
I will go to my Layers panel and make sure the Navigation layer is targeted, and I am going to create an area down at the bottom of each slide for the navigation controls. This is why when I set up the document, I made the bottom margin larger than the sides. I am going to press the F key on my keyboard to get my Rectangle Frame tool, and I am going to drag out a rectangle that touches the sides and the bottom of the document. I will press V to get my Selection tool and I'll resize this so it's 52 pixels tall. Remember, that was the margin that I put at the top, so we have some nice symmetry there.
Now I will right-click on it and choose Content > Unassigned, just to get rid of that X going through the frame and make it a little cleaner looking. I will go up to the Control panel, I will give it a fill of black and just to make it a little less plain, I will add an orange line at the top. First of all, I need to create a swatch for that. So I will go to my Swatches panel, New Color Swatch, and I will create an orange color: 255 Red, 160 Green, 42 Blue, and click OK.
Now I will take my Line tool, I will click and drag across the document and hold Shift to constrain. In the Swatches panel, I will target the stroke and apply that orange color. Now I'll select the line and the rectangle and group them so they don't come apart. And I will also press Command+L or Ctrl+L to lock them. Let's start creating those navigation buttons that go down here. I'll zoom in a little bit and I'll select the Polygon tool from my Tools panel.
I will click in the document, and these are the settings that I want. I want to create a polygon that's 30 pixels in width and height with three sides, so it's a triangle, and no star inset, and click OK. I'll press Shift+X on my keyboard to exchange the stroke and fill. So now it has no stroke and a fill of black. I will press V to switch to my Selection tool, and then I'll click and drag over one of the corners over the top and to the right, and I'll also hold down Shift to constrain. So I rotate the triangle 90 degrees.
I also don't want the triangle to be really pointy, so I am going round the corners a bit. So I'll go to the control panel, I'll choose Rounded corners, and a Radius of 4 pixels. I'll select the triangle and in the Fill controls, I'll reduce the tint from 100 to 50%. Let's move this into position, and this one will be the basis for my other buttons. I'll hold down Option+Shift or Alt+ Shift to drag over and constrain and make an extra copy of this triangle.
Now, I'll take my Rectangle tool and draw a rectangle that's the same height as the triangle. I'll press I on my keyboard to get my Eyedropper tool and click on one of the triangles to borrow their formatting. Then I'll press V to get back to my Selection tool and deselect. That looks pretty good. I'll select those two objects and group them, and this is going to be my button to go to the last page of the document. I'll Shift+Click to select both the group and the original triangle. I'll go up to the control panel and select one of the left-side reference points, and then I'll hold Option or Alt and click on Flip Horizontal and then slide these buttons over a little bit. And there I have four objects that will become my navigation buttons.
They are not really buttons yet, because I haven't assigned any actions in the Buttons and Forms panel. That's what we will do next. So I will select my first triangle, open the Buttons and Forms panel, I'll click at the bottom of the panel to convert it to a button, and the first thing I'll do is give it a name. It's important to name your buttons to keep them organized. This one I'll call Next Page. For the Event, I'll choose On Release or Tap and for the Action, Go To Next Page.
I also want this button to change its appearance when I mouse over it, so I am going to give it a rollover state. I'll just click on Rollover and then I'll go up to the control panel and change the Fill from 50% Black to Paper. Then I'll click back on Normal to reset this button to the Normal state. Now let's make the other buttons. I'll click on the group on the right, convert it to a button, give it a name. This on, I'll call Last Page. The Event is On Release or Tap and the Action, Go To Last Page.
We'll also give it the same rollover state and reset it to the normal state. Now let's do this one. Convert it to a button, give it a name, Previous Page, On Release or Tap, Go To Previous Page, Rollover state, filled with Paper, and reset it back to Normal. And the last one, this one we'll take a shortcut. We will just click on the plus sign and choose Go To First Page. We will name it First Page and give it the Rollover state. And there I have my four buttons.
Now let's preview the rollover states. I'll press Command+Shift+Return and mouse over and I can see each of the buttons changes their appearance. But I can't use them to navigate to different pages yet because this document only has one page. So let's add some pages. I'll go the Pages panel, jump to page 1, and let's add a few more pages, until we have 10 in all. I will zoom out and I'll jump to my Navigation master page, and I am going to take my Type tool and drag out a really big text frame; it fills the entire page.
I am going to make sure it's on the text layer. So I will go to the Layers panel and drag this square down to the text layer. I will double-click to get my cursor in the frame. I will right-click and choose Insert Special Character > Markers > Current Page Number. I want to make this really big so I will select it, and up in the control panel, I will make the Type size 800 points, and I will center it in the frame. I will go back to my Pages panel, jump to the first page, and I can see that automatic page number.
Now let's preview the navigation buttons. I will press Command+Shift+Option+Return on the Mac or Ctrl+Shift+Alt+Enter on the PC. This will preview the whole document. My rollover states are working, and now I'll navigate to the different pages. I can jump to the last page, page 10; the first page, page 1; or any page in between. I will close the SWF Preview panel. And I want to do a little clean up work here. I will press V on my keyboard to get my Selection tool and because I am on page 1, I don't actually need to Go To First Page or Go To Previous Page buttons on here.
They don't really do anything, so it doesn't make sense to have them here. So I want to get rid of them. I am going to Command+Shift+Click, or Ctrl+Shift+Click on the PC, on each of these items to override them from the master page and then press Delete to get rid of them. So now I only have the buttons to go ahead in the document. I am also going to do the same at the end. I'll jump to page 10. And in this case, I don't need the Go To Next Page or Go To Last Page buttons. So again I will Command+Shift+Click or Ctrl+Shift+Click and delete them.
Let's preview again. Now when I preview my first page, I only have that buttons that make sense here. And the same thing for the last page. So far we've seen the right settings to create our presentation files, how to structure them properly with layers, and how to add navigation controls with buttons. Next, we'll start actually adding the content of our presentation.
- Examining trends in digital design
- Setting preferences for interactive documents
- Understanding intent and presets
- Working with images and swatches
- Creating and working with interactive PDFs
- Creating alternate layouts for multiple screens
- Linking text and page items
- Fitting frames to content
- Setting up a file with layers
- Creating a slideshow with transitions and hyperlinks
- Building a table of contents
- Adding a SWF slideshow to a PDF
- Placing video
- Creating PDF forms
- Adding animation
- Working with the Digital Publishing Suite