Interactive PDF design for ipads – further notes

To upload to portable device use Google drive, drop box or itunes.

The above discoveries relate to interactive pdfs opened on the ipad using different apps:

iBooks –  hyperlinks work, video and buttons don’t, form fields gone.

Adobe Reader – choose doc mode (top right – single page or continuous)

– Blue highlighting of links but all work, swipe to go back and forward, doesn’t support video (check updated versions), buttons don’t work.

PDF Expert app – slight cropping, links don’t have blue if set in preferences, video works, buttons don’t work.  Page forward and backward buttons work. Form fields will work but will submit whole page (unless single page view).

Trouble shooting issues:

Blown out file sizes

Export to interactive pdf – JPEG Quality – Medium, Resolution 72, Compression (JPEG lossy) Experiment with alternate resolutions as don’t want to compromise quality.

Acrobat – pdf optimiser settings (File/Save As/Optimized PDF. “Audit Space Usage” to see what’s taking up space.)

Form fields Tools/Content/Add or Edit Interactive Object/Select Object – Can limit characters in this field.

Control alignment of text.

“Combo box” (a drop box which allows you to choose for a list or add in custom text) doesn’t allow custom text from InDesign (bug) but can be fixed in Acrobat  – click on it, go Options/allow user to enter custom text.

Can also edit area for links.

Cleaning up unwanted bookmarks etc.

Adding bookmarks

Create in InDesign

Bookmarks under Bookmarks panel

Bookmarks get automatically created when doing a table of contents

Nest by dragging on top of each other.

Export to PDF

Info sourced from “Creating Interactive PDF Magazines” by Mike Rankin.


Adobe InDesign and DPS

Adobe Creative Cloud site –

Adobe Digital Publishing Suite Single Edition

Workflow based in Adobe InDesign (CS5, 5.5 or 6)

–          layouts

–          interactivity

–          preview and create .folio file

Import into DPS App Builder

Generate final DPS App File

Submit to Apple App Store

*need CS6 Adaptative Design Tools option to create compatibility between different portable devices

* CS6 Folio Overlays panel – can create hyperlinks, slideshows, audio and video, panoramas, and pan and zoom to page layouts.

Single Edition also automatically scales content so it can be read appropriately on all display types.

Do need a MAC to run the DPS App builder and submit to the App store.

Single Edition content can be viewed on iPad 1, iPad2 or new iPad. Professional Edition and Enterprise Edition can be viewed on iPads, Android tablet devices and desktops.

To preview on ipad need Adobe Content Viewer (free app).

Each .folio file corresponds to a different issue of the magazine or newspaper

inDesign experiments:

Animation panel

Fly-ins etc.

Can be tested in browser

Timing panel – on page click versus on page load?

Smoke effect – longer in original state?

Felix animation test – crashed computer – file size?

Importing flash files? E.g. walk sequences and more challenging animation


Can link to URL  http:// or rtmp:// for video clip located on a flash media serve or flash streaming service

Found that Youtube clips don’t appear to be compatible

– download using converter first?

H.264 files – best video format for digital publishing output

Compatible with InDesign 5 and 5.5, Adobe Flash Player, embedded into Acrobat 9 and X, and Reader 9 & X. Supported on iPad, iPhone and iP dt Touch, and viwable on both Mac and Windows. These are the video formats used on youTube, Vimeo etc.

Can create these files using Adobe Media Encoder 5 or 5.5

(CS5 or CS5.5)

Quicktime 7 Pro or Quicktime X.

File extensions for H.264 files can be seen as MP4, F4V, MOVand M4V

While these files are supported in Flash player, they aren’t exclusively Flash files (which means Apple products which don’t support Flash files will still play them).

These file types can work in interactive PDFs and SWF files created in InDesign.

Audio files can be imported in MP3 format

Liz Castro, author of EPUB: Straight to the Point, did some testing of different formats on Apple’s iOS devices. She found that the format which worked the best is “H.264 video compression, AAC compressed audio, all contained in an MPEG4 container, with a .m4v extension. While there is not much difference between .mp4 and .m4v, the latter is specifically for Apple and works in both iPad and iPhone.” (In addition to her original eBook, she has also has available on her website a small eBook about creating files with video and audio for playing on iOS devices and the Nook.) As shown below, I found that MP4 seemed to work just fine.

Issues: put in URL for Youtube clip but doesn’t seem to acknowledge that it’s a Flash compliant file. (According to all internet commentaries, YouTube works with H.264 files. Will convert to MP4 and try again).

Object states in InDesign

Bob Bringhurst, has written a nice overview about Multi-state objects here.

InDesign CS5 introduces a new kind of page item designed for creating slide shows in a SWF file. A multi-state object changes its content when a button is clicked in a SWF file. To create a multi-state object, place a bunch of images in your document and align them in a stack. Select them all, and then click the New button in the Object States panel to create a multi-state object. Then use the Buttons panel—which has been enhanced in InDesign CS5—to create navigate arrows that jump to the next or previous state in the multi-state object.

InDesign Interactive Features (basic trials)

I had a play with InDesign to see the extent of its interactive features in Adobe CS6. Below I tested ‘object states’ creating buttons (arrows) which can lead from one object to another – sort of like a slideshow of images. (Only the last image in the object state can be seen in the screen shot below).


After that I trialled the animation options to see what could be done. I saw there was an option to draw a frame and import an .swf from Flash, however there were also ways of designing animation within InDesign itself. This could potentially be a nice shortcut for me.

I created a full page of Felix’s and trialled different pre-set animation techniques on each one (e.g. fade out/in, rotate, bounce, travel horizontally etc.) They all worked quite well, although were a bit limited as you couldn’t control the easing in and out much.



I didn’t trial all the other features (buttons etc.) but have watched tutorials and done some basic research to see their functionality. The question will be is the animation within InDesign enough for what I’m going to be doing or will it be worth creating animations in Flash and importing them into InDesign?