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- 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
Skill Level Intermediate
InDesign CS6 has nearly 60 panels in its user interface. With so many tools at your disposal, it's really important to keep things organized so you don't waste time and effort searching for the tools you want, moving things around, and closing and opening panels. Furthermore, you can do so many different things with an application like InDesign that you are going to want different tools in front of you at different times for different tasks. That's why Adobe created workspaces. With workspaces you can create and save custom arrangements of panels suited to whatever your workflow happens to be. So let's see how we can set up a workspace for use with interactive documents.
You can see the Workspace menu in the application bar at the top of your screen. And if you don't see it, go to the Window menu and choose Application Bar. By default, you'll be in this Essentials workspace, which is a simple display with just a few panels visible. But there are several others that come with InDesign. If you're just getting started with CS6, take a look at the New in CS6 workspace. It's really helpful for discovering new features, since every menu displays new features in blue highlighting. So I'll take a look at the Object menu and I can see that there are new choices in Text Frame Options, and in Interactive I can see all my new PDF form tools here.
And it also has features that were new in CS5.5 highlighted in purple. For Interactive documents, Adobe provides two workspaces for you to choose from. The first is Digital Publishing. The Digital Publishing workspace replaces the Interactive workspace from CS5.5. In the Digital Publishing workspace I have two columns of panels. One column is general-use panels collapsed to just icons, and the other is a set of panels specific to interactivity, and these are expanded so you can see the full names.
Obviously, if we're creating interactive documents, things like animation and object states and buttons and forms are going to be important. You can also see the new Folio Builder panel for working with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite projects, and we'll be using this a lot later on. There is another workspace that comes with CS6 that's relevant here, and that's the Interactive for PDF Workspace. In this workspace, I have one main column of panels with things like Page Transitions, Hyperlinks, Bookmarks, Buttons and Forms, and the SWF Preview panel, which used to just be called the Preview panel.
In addition you have the Sample Buttons And Forms library. It's over here by itself, and it's collapsed to an icon. You can click on it to see all the sample buttons that you can use with PDF forms, things like check boxes, radio buttons, and combo boxes. And both of these workspaces are okay for working with interactive documents, but you can always tweak them to make them even better for your needs and habits. So let's customize the Interactive for PDF workspace and save it as a new workspace that's even more useful. First of all, let's pull off the Sample Buttons And Forms library and close it.
If you're going to be creating your own buttons and forms, you really won't need this one at your fingertips taking up screen space, and you can always get at the library right in the Buttons and Forms Panel menu. So if I choose Buttons and Forms, in the Panel menu I can open Sample Buttons and Forms. I'll close that. I am also going to pull off this whole grouping for Color, Stroke, Gradient, and Swatches. Since I don't use most of these--I just use Swatches very often--so I'll take that off, I'll close the other three, and I'll take Swatches and drop it in with Links and Layers.
I'll add Pages and Page Transitions to that group, and I'll also add the Liquid Layout panel by choosing Window > Interactive > Liquid Layout. I'll pull that off the grouping, add it to that grouping, and close the other one. Now I'll move the SWF Preview panel to the top by itself and expand it to give myself nice large previews. I'll open it and drag the bottom-left corner. Now let's create a grouping for animation and interactivity features.
I'll add Buttons and Forms to Hyperlinks and Bookmarks. I'll put Media in there too. I'll open the Animation panel by opening Window > Interactive > Animation. I'll drop that in there. And I'll open the Timing panel, put that right under Animation, and I'll open Object States and put that in there as well. I'll put the DPS Folio panel at the bottom and close Tool Hints.
So what I end up with is four groupings, the SWF Preview panel by itself so I can have a nice large preview; I have panels related to my document structure in the next grouping, panels related to interactivity in the third grouping, and then panels related to the DPS projects by themselves at the bottom. This all just makes sense to my brain. You should play around and experiment and see what arrangement of panels makes the most sense to you. And just to save even more screen space, let's also collapse all the panels down to icons by clicking and dragging to the right.
Now to save this arrangement as a new workspace, I'll go to the Workspace menu and choose New Workspace. I'll give it a name. I'll call this one Interactive Documents, but you can call yours what you like and click OK. And if for any reason I want to go back to the default workspaces that came with InDesign I can just choose one of them from the menu. Notice that my New workspace is set apart from the defaults in the menu at the top. Also, if I make a mess of any workspace by moving panels around or closing them or opening new ones, I can always just choose Reset down below and that will clean up the arrangement and set it back to the way that I saved it.
So just as with setting preferences, it pays to create and use a workspace that's tailored to the way you like to work and what you're working on. The few minutes it takes to set up a custom workspace can save you plenty of time when you have the right panels, right where you want them, ready for action.