How to Build a Drop Down Menu in Adobe InDesign

Justin | Misc | Monday, June 12th, 2017

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.

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).

Get the guide

in5 v3 is here – CC 2017 compatible, subscription plans, better output

Justin | Misc | Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

in5 version 3 is here

InDesign CC 2017 compatible

in5 version 3 has a completely re-designed user interface and works seamlessly with InDesign CC 2017.

Better output

Here are some of the new features that are available right away.

  • Live HTML tables and columns (video).
  • Fully-rendered SVG tables, paragraph rules, and paragraph shading.
  • With a Pro subscription, you can now save your export settings as an Export Preset and reuse them (video).
  • Multi-page web output that will create an HTML file for every page in your InDesign document.
svg tables now render cell backgrounds and table strokes

SVG table rendering – Old version vs. New version

Flexible subscription licensing

The new subscription licenses are designed to work with CC subscriptions (so you’ll automatically be activated when you install a newer version of InDesign).

The new in5 subscription plans will let you:

  • Activate all versions of InDesign on your system simultaneously.
  • Easily move from one computer to another.
  • Deactivate one employee and transfer the license to another employee.

You can manage your license remotely from a secure online profile (i.e., deactivate a machine that you’re not using and move to a new one, even if you don’t have access to the old machine).

screenshot of online account user management

Online portal let’s you manage users and remotely deactivate


You can choose to be billed monthly, or get a discount to be billed annually.

The subscription plans also offer multiple tiers, so you can get exactly the level of features that suit you. For example,

  • The Starter Plan will come with all the basic features within in5.
  • The Pro plan will give you power features, like the ability to save and reuse export settings across InDesign documents.
  • The Elite plan will give you the ability to script and automate in5.

Migration discounts

You’ll get a big discount off the first year if you have a serial number from a previous version of in5.

Check out the new version of in5

Captcha Added

Justin | Misc | Monday, July 2nd, 2012

We’ve been getting an inordinate amount spam comments for the last few days, so I’ve added a CAPTCHA below the comments form to reduce the influx of spam that has to be moderated. Please be sure to fill it out when submitting a comment. I’ll try removing the CAPTCHA once the spam dies down. Sorry for any inconvenience.

SmartMouth Sales Donated to CA State Parks Follow-up

Justin | Misc | Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

In my last post, I detailed how we planned to donate 50% of our gross sales from SmartMouth to the California State Parks Foundation for the remainder of June. This morning I tallied up the sales numbers for the last half of June and entered our donation. AJ and I decided to round up and donate an even $200. We hope that this modest contribution helps to maintain some part of the CA Parks system and/or supports the fight to keep the parks open to the public.

Thanks to everyone who purchased SmartMouth and thanks to everyone who helped to spread the word!

We still encourage everyone to donate directly, voice your opinion to California governor, Jerry Brown, and if you live in California, please contact your representatives.

50% of SmartMouth Sales to CA State Parks for the rest of June

Justin | Misc | Monday, June 13th, 2011

The title says it all, really. AJ and I have been fretting the loss of some of our favorite parks. AJ attended a meeting last Friday for the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks & Wildlife chaired by Jared Huffman. There were several productive ideas voiced at this meeting and it compelled us to take action ourselves.

For the rest of the month of June, a full 50% of the gross sales (before taxes) of SmartMouth, our auto-lipsyncing tool for Flash, will be donated to the California State Parks Foundation. For example, if you buy 1 seat of SmartMouth at $49.99, and suppose Paypal takes $1.99 for processing, we’ll donate $24 of the remaining $48 (and still pay the taxes on $48), and so on.


Page 1 of 41234