Interactive PDF is dead—here’s what you can create from InDesign that’s even better

Justin | design,extensions,HTML5,InDesign,interaction,publishing,Tutorials | Monday, March 26th, 2018

tombstone for interactive PDF says R.I.P.

It sounds like I’m exaggerating doesn’t it?

I’m not.

Almost none of the interactivity in an interactive PDF actually works, even in Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader.

What doesn’t work in a PDF

Here’s a list of things that you can create with InDesign that don’t work in a PDF:

  • Animation
  • Video*
  • Animated GIFs
  • Multi-State Objects
  • Embedded HTML content (like YouTube videos)
  • Button actions related to several of the above items
  • Scrollable Frames
  • Custom page transitions (like flipbook pages)

Flash Player SWF icon broken down the middle*Video was supported previously in Acrobat and Adobe Reader, but it was dependent on the Flash Player (which no longer comes bundled with the Adobe apps).

The introduction of smartphones and tablets—almost none of which now support Flash—and a slew of new PDF readers, essentially guarantee that interactive PDF features will not work when your clients view your PDFs.

To see the breakdown of an interactive PDF in action, and to get a sneak peek at the solutions that I describe below, you can watch the following video.

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How to Export Accessible, 508 Compliant HTML Layouts from InDesign

Justin | design,HTML5,InDesign,interaction,Tutorials | Monday, July 24th, 2017

header image for accessible, 508 complaint HTML from InDesign

I often get asked about accessibility and 508 compliance.

In this article, I’m going to demystify this topic by doing the following.

  1. Explain accessibility and 508 compliance in simple, straightforward terms
  2. Provide some general strategies for improving accessibility in your HTML content
  3. Provide some specific strategies for exporting accessible, 508 compliant HTML from InDesign using in5

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Digital Publishing with InDesign: Types of Interactive Elements

Justin | design,HTML5,InDesign,interaction | Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

DigPubIDCC one pageThis is a guest post by Sandee Cohen, adapted from Digital Publishing with Adobe InDesign CC by Sandee Cohen and Diane Burns. This article highlights the methods for adding interactivity to an InDesign document.

Types of interactive elements that can be added to InDesign documents

  1. Links: Hyperlinks, Cross-references, Table of Contents
  2. Bookmarks
  3. Audio/video files
  4. Multi-state objects
  5. Buttons
  6. Forms
  7. Animations
  8. Page transitions
  9. Overlays

Each has its own particular uses, and some of the features may overlap. Before you start work, you need to decide which type of interactive element is right for your job or you could be stuck with an effect that can’t be exported for your finished project.

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Universal Scrolling Frames for InDesign

Justin | extensions,HTML5,InDesign,interaction,software | Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

Universal Scrolling Frames From InDesign to HTML and EPUB

Adobe InDesign is full of wonderful interactive capabilities. The DPS Overlays panel adds several additional options, such as scrolling frames.

While this extra interactivity is supported by DPS, as well as our tool—in5 (InDesign to HTML5)—it’s not supported by InDesign’s native export formats: ePUB, HTML, and Publish Online.

In looking for ways for add this interactivity for all formats, I heard from many people that scrolling frames were a high priority.

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