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

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

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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How to Create an Animated Web Banner with InDesign & in5

The banner above this text was made with Adobe InDesign.

Yes, InDesign. The page layout tool.

InDesign Hidden Gems

While InDesign is known for print layout, it also has extensive interactive capabilities, including:

  • An Easy-to-use Animation Panel
  • A Timing Panel to create sequenced animation
  • The ability to create different Object States that change with interaction
  • Interactive actions for Buttons and Form Elements

Just because InDesign was originally conceived as a page layout tool, doesn’t mean you have to create things that look like books.

In this article, I’ll show you how use InDesign’s interactive features and the in5 HTML5 export to create a web banner.

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How to Create a Simple Entry Password for Your App with in5

Easy way to lock an app image

This tutorial will show you how to add a simple password to your app or Web App created with InDesign and in5 (InDesign to HTML5).

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How to Create a Multi-Issue Standalone App with Baker Framework

The Baker Framework is pre-built, open source library for Xcode. The framework allows you to easily convert HTML and publish it to native iOS (iPad and iPhone) devices as a standalone app or as Apple Newsstand issues.

To build an app with Baker, you essentially drop your HTML into the books directory within the Baker project, update a few variables in Xcode, and you’re ready to publish.

It’s well-documented that you can create multi-issue app to work with Apple’s Newsstand app (i.e., publishing a new issue each month). What is less well known, however, is that you can publish a multi-issue standalone app.

bakershelf

To create this “catalog” page, all you have to do is drop multiple folders in the books directory.

bakerfiles

You now have a multi-issue app!