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Creating Amazing PDF Presentations Using InDesign CS5

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Adobe InDesign CS5 has added even more features to make a PDF stand out as an awesome presentation file—really useful for that resume or informational brochure and much more. From video, audio, and page transitions to buttons and links, Brian Wood shows you how to add punch to your PDF files.

We’ve been able to make PDFs from InDesign for a long time. We’ve even been able to add lots of cool, functional features to those PDF files if we want to use them for more than printing. But CS5 has added even more features to make that PDF stand out as an awesome presentation file—really useful for that resume or informational brochure and much more. From video, audio, and page transitions to buttons and links, lots of the presentation features we used to have to add in Acrobat have been added to InDesign as well.

In this article, I want to show you the following features:

  • Add buttons and hyperlinks
  • Media (sound and video)
  • Page transitions
  • Bookmarks
  • Export to PDF features

Figure 1 Example PDF content

Add Buttons to Your Document

The first thing we’ll do is to add a button to the document in InDesign. Buttons are used in your PDF content for lots of things. Most of us use them to navigate the document or control a video. You can create a button from almost anything. This includes a raster image, a placed Illustrator file, drawn content, a group, and much more.

  1. In your document, draw a rectangle and add some text for the button. Select all of the button content and group it together (grouping is not necessary).
  2. Open the Buttons panel by choosing Window > Interactive > Buttons.
  3. With the object(s) selected on the page, click the Convert Object to a Button button at the bottom of the Buttons panel (see Figure 2). After the object is converted to a button, you can create “states” for it. To learn more, visit InDesign Help (Help > InDesign Help) and search for “change button appearance for rollover and clicking.”
  4. Figure 2 Create the button

  5. In the Buttons panel, give the button a name (if you like) to differentiate it later on from other buttons.
  6. Choose an Event (when the Action(s) occur) from the Event menu.
  7. Click the Plus (+) in the Buttons panel to add an action. The top part of the list shows actions that can be used in SWF and PDF files. There are also PDF only actions listed that you can use. Choose Go To Next Page. The action is now listed in the panel. If you want to remove that action, select it in the Buttons panel list and click the minus (-) button (see Figure 3).
  8. Figure 3 Add the action to the button

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