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Previewing Animations

Applying motion presets and modifying animations can feel like working in the dark, because animated objects don’t move around the InDesign page. So you may feel a little lost as to whether or not the settings are working properly. You can, of course, keep exporting to ePub, PDF, or DPS. But that’s going to slow you down and get in the way of your creative process.

Fortunately, there are two panels that allow you to preview the interactive objects, videos, audios, and animations on your pages: the EPub Interactivity panel and the SWF Preview panel. As you can guess, the EPub Interactivity Preview panel displays those elements that are used in ePubs—primarily fixed layout ePubs. (See Chapter 6, “Fixed Layout ePubs.”) The panel can even be used for a quick preview of most of the interactivity in PDF documents.

The EPub Interactivity Preview panel will preview all the animation presets, except Smoke and Fly In-Pause-Fly Out. It can also show the interactivity of object states (MSOs) that are controlled by buttons.


The EPub Interactivity Preview panel lets you preview animations, buttons, and other interactive elements in documents.

But the EPub Interactivity Preview panel has some limitations. It doesn’t show the interactivity of PDF forms.(See Chapter 2, “Interactivity.”) It also doesn’t show some of the interactivity for DPS apps, such as a slideshow, that is applied using the Folio Overlay panel. (See Chapter 7, “Tablet Apps” for working with the Folio Overlay effects.) The SWF panel doesn’t support these either, so you have to export to PDF in the case of forms, and use the Adobe Content Viewer for previewing slideshows in DPS apps.

Working with the preview panel

Open the panel by choosing Window > Interactivity > EPub Interactivity Preview panel or use the keyboard shortcuts Opt-Shift-Return (Mac) or Alt-Shift-Return (Windows) The preview area in the panel can be expanded by dragging the lower-right corner to expand the size of the panel. This is especially important when working with small interactive elements such as hyperlinks.

The panel controls let you preview a single spread as well as move to other pages in the document.


Click to view larger image

Use the EPub Interactivity Preview panel controls to play and move through the selected document.

Use the EPub Interactivity Preview panel controls as follows:

  • Preview Spread sets the panel to display the currently selected spread. Use this when you need to preview a single spread.
  • Preview Document sets the panel to display the entire document. This mode is the only way you can preview interactivity that goes from one page to the next, such as a Go To Next Page button or a cross-reference.
  • Click the Play Preview button to display the page with the animation and interactive objects. If there are any animations set to play on page load, they will play automatically.
  • If you edit the document, use the Clear Preview button to delete the previous version of the document from the panel. Then click the Play Preview button again to see the new version of the page.
  • Use the Go to Next Page and Go to Previous Page buttons to move through the document.
  • Enter a number in the Page Number field to jump to a specific page. This is faster than clicking the Go to Next/Previous Page buttons over and over in long document.

Move your mouse over the preview area of the panel and click the interactive objects. Buttons and other elements react to the mouse as they would in an exported document.

Using the preview panels from other panels

Once you start refining animations, you’ll want to preview the results. However, you might be working with the Animation panel and don’t want to go all the way to the Workspace menu to open the EPub Interactivity Preview Panel. The InDesign team has made it more convenient to open either of the two preview panels by adding Preview icons at the bottom of the Animation panel, the Buttons panel, and the Timing panel.

Click the Preview icon at the bottom of those panels and choose either Preview Spread: EPUB or Preview Spread: SWF. This opens the preview panel and automatically clears the previous preview.


Click to view larger image

Look for the Preview icon in the Animation panel, the Buttons panel, or the Timing panel.

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