With each new release of Adobe Creative Suite there are features so fantastic that they warrant special mention on the Adobe Education Technologies blog. For this article I would like to focus on Adobe InDesign CS4 and its ability to quickly create and export interactive Flash (SWF) files.
In case you aren’t familiar with Adobe InDesign, it is the leading page layout application enabling creative freedom along with precise control over graphics, typography, color, transparency, effects, and placed images. Though Adobe InDesign provides direct-to-print capabilities, many have used it to create PDF files which capture all design elements and can be shared and viewed with the free Adobe Reader. What has been missing was an easy way to create rich interactive content that could be viewed with the Adobe Flash Player. Click this link to view an example of what we can now build with Adobe InDesign CS4 (at 2MB it takes a few seconds to load, but is worth the wait – move your cursor over one of the page corners, click, and drag to turn the page):
Let’s examine how to create this Flash file!
First, we would build our document (a brochure, newsletter, magazine, etc.). In the example above I am using a multi-page document intended for print which I also wanted to provide as a lightweight preview on my web site. If you are creating a document solely for viewing on the web, then I would recommend a page size and orientation better suited for viewing with a monitor.
Next, I created navigation graphics in Adobe InDesign (red triangles) and placed them at the bottom middle of each spread. If you are using master pages, it would be quicker to add them there. I then converted these graphics into buttons by right-clicking (Windows) or Ctrl-clicking (Mac) to bring up the context menu and chose Interactive > Convert to Button.
I can now use the Buttons panel to define what action I want the buttons to perform. I selected Go to Previous Page for the left-facing triangle and Go To Next Page for the right-facing triangle.
If I want an image or a selection of text to take the viewer to a URL, to create an email, or to jump elsewhere in the file, I can use the Hyperlinks panel. I set text in the caption on page 8 to go to a URL.
I added a little pizzazz by applying Page Turn transitions to all pages in the document. Notice that there are many more page transitions to choose from and these can be used for both PDF and Flash (SWF) export.
Lastly, I chose File > Export and selected SWF from the list of output options. A dialog box will open allowing me to define the size and quality of the Flash file along with other settings.