Button creation has been a feature of InDesign for some time but it used to be done via the clumsy Button tool. Thankfully this was replaced in CS4 with the Button panel which makes button creation and configuration simple and straightforward. Remember that Acrobat also has button functions which are different to those in InDesign. Both applications have unique and complimentary functions so it’s worth considering them both in your interactive workflow.
Any InDesign frame (including a table) can become a button. In this case, I’m converting two shapes into navigation buttons for use in a PDF. Select the desired frame and bring up the Buttons panel (once again I’m using the Interactive For PDF workspace).
On the lower right corner of the panel there is a small, button-like icon. Clicking it will convert the selected frame into a button and activate the other options on the button panel.
It’s good practice to name the button otherwise InDesign will give it a sequential number. This is particularly important if you plan to use Acrobat to do further work on your file. You can then assign a trigger event from the drop down menu. The default On Release is usually fine for most purposes (it actives AFTER the user clicks their mouse) but you can fine tune this if you need to. The On Focus/On Blur options refer to button activation by users using the Tab key instead of the mouse.
Next you need an action for the button to carry out. The available list gets longer in each version of InDesign and Adobe make some actions specific to certain file formats. i.e. anything involving animation or multi-state objects can only be included in SWF files, so make sure you are clear what your output file format is.
In this case, the right arrow will navigate to the next page of the document so I’m using Go To Next Page.
After that you can assign a zoom to the button, options range from the default Inherit Zoom (i.e. keep the current zoom value) to various fitting options based on window sizes. This is helpful if you want to show the user a particular magnification or just to fit the page within the open window.
To make sure the end user knows they can click your button you need to let them know it’s there. Most often this is done with a highlight. To create a highlight, you need to give the button a rollover state (similar to some web buttons). Click the rollover item in the appearance section.
You can now assign new characteristics to the rollover state. The easiest way to do this is to assign it a new colour. In InDesign CS4 you would have needed the swatches panel for this but, if you are using CS5, you can go to the control pane and make a choice in the new Fill and Stroke dropdowns. In this case, I’m using a green fill. InDesign immediately changes the object fill to Green.
The only step left, is to return the button to it’s home state by selecting Normal from the list.
You have now completed the button configuration. Close the button panel and zoom in on your object. You should see the transparent button icon floating on top. If you select it, you’ll see a dashed frame edge.
InDesign can set up interactivity but can display very little so there’s no way to accurately preview the button behaviour. It is possible to use the new interactivity preview button (lower left of button panel) but this is primarily intended for Flash export and may not display all the settings you have configured for PDF use.
In the next part, I’ll discuss how to export your document to an Interactive PDF.