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From the author of Making Our Own Play and Pause Buttons

Making Our Own Play and Pause Buttons

As I said earlier, if I were to point to one minor nit to pick with movies in PDF it is that movies look exactly like plain ol’ images, except for the discreet little icon in the lower-left corner. This bothers me; as a long-time software developer, my motto has always been “Don’t leave the user in doubt.” If there’s a movie on the PDF page, it should be obvious to even a quick glance.

I usually solve this problem by putting my own Play button on the page (and often a Pause button, as well). There are several ways of doing this in Acrobat; the simplest is to place the buttons on the page in the original artwork (Figure 11). You can turn the button art into functional controls by laying an appropriate link on top of each of them.

Figure 11 I created the artwork for my Play and Pause buttons on the original PDF page; this allowed me to use Adobe Illustrator’s drawing tools to create the button art. We’ll turn the art into working controls by placing a link over each button.

Let’s do this with our sample file, creating a working Play button.

  1. In the Tools pane’s Content panel, click the Link tool (Figure 12).
  2. Figure 12 The Acrobat Link tool lives in the Content panel.

    The mouse pointer becomes a crosshair.

  3. Drag a rectangle around the Play button’s artwork (Figure 13).
  4. Figure 13 With the Link tool selected, drag a rectangle around the Play button’s artwork.

    Acrobat displays the Create Link dialog box (Figure 14).

    Figure 14 The Create Link dialog box lets us specify the details of our new link.

  5. Set the controls in this dialog box to the values they have in Figure 14. In particular, set Link Type to Invisible Rectangle, set Highlight Style to Inset, and set Link Action to Custom Link. Then click the Next button.
  6. Acrobat will display the Link Properties dialog box (Figure 15).

    Figure 15 We tell Acrobat to carry out a multimedia operation when the user clicks the link. Your sharp eyes will have noticed that there are two Play Media actions we could have chosen instead; select these only if it’s important that the movie play on older versions of Acrobat or Adobe Reader.

  7. In the Actions tab, select Multimedia Operation (Acrobat 9 compatible), as in Figure 15, then click the Add button. Acrobat displays the Multimedia Operations dialog box, which displays a list of all the movies embedded on the current page (Figure 16).
  8. Figure 16 In the Multimedia Operations dialog box, select your movie in the list of movies and select Play in the Actions menu. Notice that there are a lot of other things your link can do to the movie, including pause and rewind.

  9. Select the movie you want to control with this link; in our case, this will be the didgeridoo movie.
  10. In the Actions pop-up menu, select Play (Figure 16, again) and then click the OK button, returning to the Link Properties dialog box.
  11. Note in the figure that there are several other movie-related operations you can select: Pause, Rewind, etc. Strangely, “Stop” is not among these, I can’t think why; can anyone reading this tell me why it’s reasonable to omit a Stop action? (I presume it’s not just meanness.)

  12. In the Link Properties dialog box, click the OK button, returning to the PDF page.
  13. The newly-created link is now visible on the page as a blue rectangle with handles at the sides and corners, as in Figure 17.

    Figure 17 The new link appears on the page as a blue rectangle with handles, letting you move it and resize it as needed. Your goal is to have the link exactly fit over the Play button artwork.

  14. Drag the blue rectangle and its handles to tweak the position and size of the link so it exactly fits over the Play button artwork, as in the figure.
  15. Click the Hand tool in the Acrobat Toolbar (or any tool other than Link, for that matter) to end link creation.

Our link is now completely functional. The mouse pointer will turn into a pointing finger whenever it moves over the Play button (Figure 18); when we click on the button, the movie plays.

Figure 18 The mouse pointer turns to a pointing finger whenever it rolls over the link.

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