Algonquin College Graphic Design Program Computer Graphics Course Curriculum Algonquin College Graphic Design Program Computer Graphics Course Curriculum

Interactive InDesign

Apps Used: Adobe Creative Cloud Adobe InDesign Adobe Acrobat

In this lesson, we'll explore interactivity in InDesign with the eventual goal of an output to PDF, ePub and Adobe's Publish Online service.

This is a formative assignment

That means that you'll be learning and practising new software skills. This assignment contributes to your final grade in the course. This work will be graded as either:

Complete Incomplete

If needed, I will provide written feedback on your performance.


Why Interactivity in InDesign?

InDesign is the leader in page layout for print. Why would it have so many tools to author interactivity? The answer includes at least two file formats, ePUB and PDF. These two formats can contain hyperlinks, interactive tables of contents, audio, video and more. When we combine InDesign’s awesome powers for page layout with its interactive capabilites, you get a PDF & ePUB producing powerhouse.

Hyperlinks in InDesign serve the same purpose as one on the web. You have a source and a destination. In your PDF file, you can click on text or an object, then it will take you somewhere else in your document. Hyperlinks can even take you to a separate file on your computer. Imagine a link in a PDF that opens another PDF. Convenient.


It’s quite straighforward to create a link to a web page. You can link text or an object. Make a selection in InDesign. Create a new link in the Hyperlinks panel. Add a destination URL. InDesign will automatically create a character style named Hyperlink. You’re free to edit its appearance.

Hyperlinks can open files on your computer. This could be convenient if you have a large catalogue of InDesign files. One can link to another.


It’s important to organize all related files ahead of time. If you link to a file, then you move it to another location, the link will break.

…to a text anchor

Links to a an anchor allow you to target specific text or an object.


Establish the destination anchor first. Once that’s done, create a Text Anchor link to the destination.


A bookmark is a type of link with representative text that makes it easier to navigate documents exported as Adobe PDF. Bookmarks you create in the InDesign document appear in the Bookmarks tab on the left side of the Acrobat or Adobe Reader window. Each bookmark jumps to a text anchor or a page. Adobe


All you need to do is to highlight some text, them create a new bookmark in the Bookmarks panel. Nothing acutally appears in InDesign. It’s when you export to PDF that the bookmarks appear in Acrobat’s Bookmarks panel.


Create a button in InDesign to perform an action such as printing, jump to a page, opening a web site or even changing the zoom factor. Buttons can act like a hyperlink, but they can do much more.


You can see all the actions a button can perform. You can also determine the button’s appearance for a hover state and a click state. Explore the options in the Buttons panel.

Movies & Sounds

InDesign has the ability to import audio and video files with the File > Place… command. The best format for video is h.264 encoded MP4. You can also import MP3 files.


There are a number of options for video playback in the Media panel. Most of them are self-explanatory.

The poster frame is the image you see when the video is not playing. You can choose a custom image, which allows you to customize the appearance of the video on the page.
You can customize the appearance of the controller. If you don’t customize it a default controller allows the user to play, pause and skim the video.
Navigation Points
These allow you to play a video from a different point.

Keep track of the media files you add to an InDesign document during the production cycle. If you move a linked media clip after adding it to the document, use the Links panel to relink it. If you send the InDesign document to another person, include any media files you add. Adobe

Export to PDF

To produce a PDF that will diplay all of these wonderful interactive elements, you need to choose the Interactive PDF format.


There are additional settings in the options dialogue.

Formative Activity

Use the provided InDesign document to create each of the interactive items.

Create a link that opens the web page.



Place the provided video on page 8, as wide as the margins. Set it to auto-play.


Create a link that opens the provided GIF file.


Create a link to a specific word on a separate page.



Create three bookmarks based on the text on pages 2, 4 and 6.



Create two buttons in the provided document – one on page 1 to go to page 8, one on page 8 to zoom to Fit Width.


Once you’re done, export your InDesign document as an interactive PDF.

Supplemental Links

What you'll submit:


Make sure your InDesign document is named LastName-FirstName-#-Assignment-Name. # is your group number So,

Appleseed-Johnny-1-Interactive InDesign.indd

Check your font usage to only include Adobe Fonts. To do so, go Type > Find Fonts . There should only be Adobe Fonts in the list.

Check your image usage in the Links panel. Make sure there are no warning icons in the panel.

Once this is done, save your document, then package it using File > Package . The resulting folder will already be named properly. Zip-compress the folder by right-clicking on it, then choosing Compress... .


Failure to submit your files as directed will incur a proportional loss of points. If your file/folder is not named with your name, you will earn a zero. Why?