To choose the right file format for your interactive documents, one approach is to think about the features that you want, and then see which file formats support those features. In this movie, Mike offers a table that showing InDesign’s features for building interactivity, and which file formats support those features and which ones don’t. File formats covered include fixed-layout EPUB, reflowable EPUB, interactive PDF, and Publish Online.
- [Instructor] When it comes to choosing the right file format for your interactive documents, one approach you can take is to think about the features that matter the most to you. And then, see which file formats support those features. In this movie, we'll take a look at a very handy table that shows InDesign's features for building interactivity, and which file formats support those features, and which ones don't. You can find this PDF in the exercise files. On the first page, it shows the kind of files that you can export with interactivity that we cover in this course. So, we have interactive PDF, reflowable EPUB, Fixed-Layout EPUB, and Publish Online.
In terms of features, first we have Preserve Layout Appearance, which is one of the basic questions you have to ask when you're planning to create interactive documents. Are you trying to use InDesign as a primary design tool for your layout? Or, will you create formatting some other way? The formats that will preserve the look of your InDesign pages are interactive PDF, Fixed-Layout EPUB, and Publish Online. Reflowable EPUB is a different story. There you do have some control over the formatting of text and objects that you can set up in InDesign, but there's always going to be some additional work after you export with things like CSS.
And, in most cases the person viewing your document, can alter its appearance, changing the fonts, the size of the text and so on. So, if want to create an EPUB that mirrors your design, choose Fixed-Layout EPUB. If accessibility is important to you, then you're limited to the formats where you can export structured content. Which are PDF, and reflowable EPUB. Fixed-Layout EPUBs, can be made accessible, but the code that InDesign generates, may make this a much bigger challenge since every word is wrapped in a span tag, in the HTML code.
So, that's why I've marked it as having partial support. And, Publish Online currently has no features for accessibility. When it comes to animation, you're limited to Fixed-Layout EPUB and Publish Online if you want to use InDesign's animation tools. But you can put animations created with Adobe Edge Animate, into both Fixed-Layout EPUB and reflowable EPUB, as well as Publish Online. Note that I've marked the two EPUBs here, as having partial support, because whether the animation will work or not, depends on the the software and the platform you're using to view the EPUB.
For example, some things that work in the desktop version of iBooks, might not work in the mobile version. And the same goes for HTML content. Something like an embedded Google Map, might work in Adobe Digital Editions, but not at all in iBooks. Bookmarks are fully supported in PDF and you can use bookmarks as a convenient way to create a Device TOC and a Fixed-Layout EPUB. Buttons for navigating and interacting with content on the page have mixed support in most file formats.
There's a lot of detail you can get into when it comes to buttons, so there's a separate table dealing with them, that we'll look at in a minute. Right here just notice that buttons don't work at all in reflowable EPUB. Cross references are well supported across all four formats. But if want to use InDesign's forms tools, you're limited to PDF. Hyperlinks and media like audio and video are supported in all formats, and multi-state objects which can be very powerful tools for creating interactivity are only supported in Fixed-Layout EPUB and Publish Online.
Okay let's look at table two on the next page and see the details of button support. Here we have the same file formats and on the left, are all the possible actions you can attach to a button. And you'll notice that none of these works in reflowable EPUB. The support for buttons is good in interactive PDF, where most actions work, but the exceptions include some important ones. For example, you can't click a button to go to a specific page in an interactive PDF. Instead you might create a specific destination on the page where you want the button to take you.
Also notice that multi-state object actions are not supported in PDF. So Go To State, Go To Next State, and Previous State don't work in PDF. And you get broad support for buttons in Fixed-Layout EPUB and Publish Online. So, use this table as a guide that can help you choose what kind of interactive document is right for your purposes. Next, we'll start our look at the workflows for each kind of document.
- Overview of interactive document types, including PDF and EPUB
- Creating interactive objects
- Setting up hyperlinks, cross-references, and a table of contents
- Working with media
- Publishing documents with Publish Online
- Creating EPUBs
- Following workflows for interactivity: interactive PDF, reflowable EPUB, and fixed-layout EPUB