An expandable menu is a great way to collapse content that is only needed some of the time. Hiding the navigation helps the user focus on the content.

drop down menu in InDesign

Click to see a larger image.

This sample article from the InDesign UX Design Patterns guide details the steps to creating a drop-down menu.

How to Build an Expandable Menu

  1. On a Master page, create an MSO with an “empty” state (see the Modal Dialog in the full guide for details on this step).
  2. Build the menu background and buttons inside the “active” state of the MSO.
  3. Add Go to Page (or Next/Back, if you prefer) actions to each button. You may also want to add a Go to (empty) State
  4. Add an action to trigger the hiding and showing of the menu. If you have a single “toggle menu” button and a two-state MSO, you can use Go to Next State
  5. Apply the Master page to the pages where you want the menu to appear.

* Yes, a button can have multiple actions. 🙂

The Extra Mile

You can also create a sequenced animation within the menu state of the MSO to visually “build” the menu onto the screen.


in5, FXL ePub, PO.

Interactive PDF cannot be used because it does not support MSOs.

Tip: If you absolutely have to create a PDF-compatible version, you can use hide and show buttons.

The Magic Way to Create a Menu

The Menu Builder Wizard that comes with in5 makes this entire process very easy (it even adds the button actions). Check it out in the video below.

More UX Design Patterns for InDesign

InDesign UX Design Patterns full guide (cover image)Do you want to learn how to create more working User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) elements from InDesign without coding?

Check out the complete InDesign UX Design Patterns guide (it’s free with an email sign-up).

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Join the Conversation

  1. Andy Naval says:

    These are great guides/tutorials, Justin. Thank you!

    1. Justin says:

      Glad to hear it, Andy. 🙂

    2. Clemens says:

      Justin, I just cannot thank you enough for bringing digital designs closer to printdesigners like me who can’t code. Publish online without in5 just won’t cut it. Keep up the good work!

      1. Justin says:

        Thanks so much for your comment. That’s great to hear! 🙂

  2. Carol says:

    Justin, how can I get the guide if I’m already signed up for the newsletter?

    1. Justin says:

      Hi Carol,
      Go ahead and sign up again to get the guide. You’ll still only get one newsletter from me. 🙂

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