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Adding Sounds

Despite the mind-bending concept of adding sound to a page layout, it’s actually very simple to add sounds to an InDesign document. My favorite use for sounds is to add click effects that play when a button is pushed. I also might add short bits of music that play when a document is first opened.

If you know how to place an image into InDesign, you already know how to place a sound in a document.

To add a sound to a document:

  1. Choose File > Place, and then choose the sound file you want to import. The cursor changes into the Sound Clip cursor squ_a.jpg.

    squ_a.jpg The Sound Clip cursor indicates the loaded cursor contains a sound clip.

  2. Click or drag the Sound Clip cursor to add the sound clip to the document.

squ_b.jpg The sound icon inside a frame indicates the frame contains a sound.

Once you have the sound on the page, you use the Media panel to modify and set the options for how the sound plays.

To open the Media panel:

Choose Window > Interactive > Media. The Media panel appears squ_c.jpg.


squ_c.jpg The Media panel for a selected sound clip.

To set the sound options:

  1. Select Play on Page Load to have the sound automatically play when the page is visible.
  2. Select Stop on Page Turn to have the sound automatically stop when the page is no longer visible.
  3. Select Loop to have the sound repeat until manually stopped.

The Media panel also lets you play the sound from start to finish or select specific portions of the sound.

To play a sound using the Media panel:

  1. Select the sound. The media panel shows the controls and poster image for the sound squ_a.jpg.

    squ_a.jpg Use the Media panel to listen to a sound and control how it plays in the exported document.

  2. Click the Play button to hear the sound. The play head moves along the sound play line to show how far into the sound length the sound has played.
  3. As the sound plays, the Play button is replaced by a Stop button. Click the Stop button to stop the playback.

If a sound file is going to be used in a PDF document, there are some additional controls you can set.

To set the PDF sound options:

  1. Click the Export Interactive PDF icon on the Media panel or choose PDF Options from the Media panel menu. This opens the PDF Options dialog box squ_b.jpg.

    squ_b.jpg The PDF Options dialog box for items that are exported to interactive PDF files.

  2. Enter the text that will be used as a tool tip for the sound clip. This lets sight-impaired users hear a description of what the sound contains so they can choose to activate the sound.

When a sound is included on a page, it acts like a button that can play the sound when clicked. Therefore you might want to include a poster, or visual indicator, that lets people know that there is a sound on the page.

To set the sound poster:

Use the Poster menu to choose an image that will be used to show where the sound is in the document squ_c.jpg:

  • None leaves the sound clip frame empty squ_d.jpg.
  • Standard uses the standard sound poster image squ_e.jpg.
  • From File/Choose Image lets you import a custom image to use as the sound poster squ_f.jpg. Use the Choose button to choose the custom image.

squ_c.jpg The Poster options menu for a placed sound clip.


squ_d.jpg A sound with no poster image.


squ_e.jpg The standard sound poster image.


squ_f.jpg A sound with a custom poster image.

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