Digital Publishing Suite Feature Summary

The set of tools you use alongside InDesign CS5 to create digital magazines for the iPad and other mobile devices is called the Digital Publishing Suite. While you can use InDesign CS5 to create eBooks and interactive PDF and SWF files, the Digital Publishing Suite requires additional steps and applications to make your digital content commercially available on mobile devices.

Design, bundle, and view.

Designing InDesign Documents

Each issue you publish consists of one or more articles, called stacks. A stack can be an ad or an article.

The iPad screen is 1024 x 768 pixels. For each article, create a horizontal and vertical document. For best results, make the horizontal document 1024×768 pixels and the vertical document 768×1024 pixels.

When you bundle the documents, the non-interactive page items are flattened into a single image file, and interactive items appear on top of the flattened image as overlays.

Overlay Creator

Add interactive objects such as video, audio, 360-degree views, panoramas, hyperlinks, image pans, and slideshows.

Content Bundler

The Content Bundler exports a .folio file (previously called a .issue file) that can be uploaded to the iPad or, in the future, to another mobile device.

In order to communicate with InDesign, the Content Bundler requires an InDesign plugin file to be installed.

Adobe Content Viewer

The Adobe Content Viewer displays the .folio files on the iPad. Add the Adobe Content Viewer to iTunes, and then add the .folio file you created to the Content Viewer.

Each publication requires its own custom Viewer. Publishers can create single-folio Viewers in which the .folio file and Viewer are combined into a single app or multiple-folio Viewers with a library that allows customers to purchase and download issues as they become available.

Adobe Content Viewer displayed on iPad

Interactive Overlay Types

At this time, the following interactive overlays are available.

360 Viewer – The 360 Viewer displays a sequence of images, allowing you to rotate an object 360 degrees on the mobile device. The image files should have the same root name with ascending suffixes, such as Tower001.jpg, Tower002.jpg, and so on. While the 360 Viewer is designed primarily for rotating objects, you can use it as a way of progressing through any sequence of images.

Hyperlinks – Create hyperlinks that jump to a URL or another article. The URL can be displayed within the Viewer or in Safari. Use http://<URL>, navto://<filename>, or mailto:<address> formats.

Panoramas – A panorama overlay gives the impression that you’re viewing a setting from within a sphere. For example, a courtyard panorama can let you pan left and right a full 360 degrees, tilt up to see the cloudless Seattle sky, and zoom in on autumn trees.

Video – The video must be an MP4 file with h.264 encoding, compatible with Apple iTunes. Use the Play Inline setting to determine whether the video is played within its bounding area on the page or in full-screen mode.

Audio – Place an MP3 file in your document. You can also add a set of images to create a controller skin that acts as a status bar with play and pause controls.

Pan and Zoom – Display a large image in a small area and allow the user to pan and zoom the image within that area. For example, you may want users to be able to pan an 1024-by-1024 pixel image within a 200-by-200 pixel view area.

Slideshows – Combine a collection of slideshow images into a multi-state object. Then create interactive buttons that navigate through the slideshow images. Use thumbnail images to jumping to a specific slide, or use navigation buttons to move forward and backward through the slides.

Web View – Display the contents of a web page within a view area. You can specify a URL or a local HTML file.

Scrollable Frames – Similar to Pan and Zoom, only the intent is to allow only horizontal or vertical scrolling. For example, you may want to display a frame that contains only the first few steps in a set of instructions and let users scroll down to view additional steps.

Additional Features

Single-Orientation Stacks – You can create .folio files that either horizontal- or vertical-only.

HTML Stacks – Instead of using InDesign documents to create articles, use HTML files.

Desktop Viewer – Use the Desktop Viewer to preview your folio content without having to load it onto the iPad.

Smooth Scrolling Stacks – You can create a single long page in which users scroll smoothly rather than snapping to each page.

Learn More

You can download the Digital Publishing Suite on Adobe Labs, or you can join the Digital Magazine Publishing prerelease program to obtain more frequent updates of the tools and participate in a more advanced user forum.

Go here to learn about pricing.

58 Responses to Digital Publishing Suite Feature Summary

  1. chuthin t. says:

    I’m currently in the prerelease program but I couldn’t find any link to download Desktop Viewer. Could you tell me how? Another question is the “file.folio,” What is it? Is it different from “file.issue” that content bundler generates?

    Thank you


    • Bob Bringhurst says:

      Chuthin – The Desktop Viewer isn’t quite available yet. It’ll be available for download in the next release, which should be in a few days. Also, “.issue” will be renamed “.folio” in the next release. When you double-click either a .folio file or a .issue file, the content is displayed in the Desktop Viewer.

  2. Lou M. says:

    ? We are thinking about a rather large magazine project for the iPad with a Seattle-based client. Is there someone at Adobe in Seattle we could meet with to discuss the logistics
    regarding your technology in terms of the digital publishing offerings you have? feel free to email me at We would be willing to come to Adobe to discuss our project and see how we may collaborate with Adobe to realize this vision for our client.

    • Bob Bringhurst says:

      I’m not sure who the best contact is. I think you should join the prerelease program and ask this question in the prerelease user forum.

  3. Sam Mead says:

    Beyong the zooming and panning module, does the view have the capability to zoom anywhere on the screen by spreading your fingers or pinching to zoom out?

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  5. Anna says:

    Great article. I’d like to create a 360 image rotation of a specific product that can be opened on an iPad. Instead of using multiple .jpgs, is there a different file type I can use? I am currently able to create 360 image rotations by embedding a .U3D file into a PDF… but those documents can only be opened using Flash.

    Thank you!

    • Bob Bringhurst says:

      The Overlay Creator requires either .jpg or .png files for the 360 image rotations. You’d want to find a way to export your .U3D file into a set of images.

  6. Larry says:

    I am in the pre-release program and am having trouble with using multiple 360s in the same stack… of six 360s in a row, the first five don’t work… and the last one has combined all the images from all of the 360s together, even though the image sets each have their own folder in the file set inside the stack folder. The Labs version worked great, but this seems to be a bug. Any thoughts? Thanks,


    • Bob Bringhurst says:

      Yes, this is a known bug. You cannot include multiple overlays of the same type in a stack. This applies to 360s, panoramas, web views with local files, and image pans. The program team has already fixed this bug, but it won’t be available until the next drop in a few weeks. As a workaround, you can use the old Overlay Creator method to place SWF files.

  7. Katherine says:

    I am trying to create an ebook in PDF format that scrolls horizontally rather than vertically, will this suite do that?

    • Bob Bringhurst says:

      Possibly. You swipe left and right to scroll between articles and up and down to scroll through pages within an article. You would have to select an option that “flattens” your article so that each page essentially appears as a different article. Go out and look at some of the sample magazines on the iPad and you’ll get a better sense of design possibilities.

  8. Gavin Brammall says:

    Hello I’m trying to get the desktop version of the content viewer can’t seem to find it, anyone got a url for the download?

    many thanks

    • Bob Bringhurst says:

      It’s available only to prerelease customers. It’s in the Downloads section of the Digital Magazine Publishing prerelease site.

  9. Gavin Brammall says:

    Hello Bob, is it bundled up with the digital publishing suite download? i’m in the prerelease trial but can only find the ipad version.

  10. Bob Bringhurst says:

    It’s in the Downloads section of the prerelease site, not to be confused with the site. It’s included in the file.

  11. Gavin Brammall says:

    Hi Bob, thanks, i’ve been trying to find that for ages, you’ve saved what’s left of my hair

    thanks again

  12. Claire says:

    Hello, I’m a member of the prerelease program and I cannot find the downloads prerelease site. Can you help me? I am desperate for the desktop viewer.

    • Bob Bringhurst says:

      On the Digital Publishing Suite prerelease site, click Downloads on the left side of the window, and then click [Drop 8].

  13. Gavin Brammall says:

    Hello i’m in the prerelease programme, i’m having trouble with a spread, the spread has a four pictures, when tapped you go to a how to guide relating to each picture. i’ve set these us as a multi state object.

    i’ve set the buttons for the go to actions to be over the pictures, and set them so that when they are selected the other 3 buttons are un operational until the main page button is selected thus making them actionable again.

    this works fine in the preview but once bundled the problem begins, the main page is fine you can select an image and go to the how to guide and navigate back to the main page but the other buttons that are supposed to be inoperable are still there so if you tap in there area you go to another article.

    what am i doing wrong? is it a bundler issue or a bungler issue?

  14. Bob Bringhurst says:

    Don’t rely on the native Preview window to preview DPS content. Buttons can have only one action, and the only actions that work with slideshows are Go To State, Go To Next State, and Go To Previous State. If I understand your example properly, you want to make the [Normal] appearance invisible and the [Click] appearance should display the button.

    Let’s take this discussion over to the prerelease forum so that we can attach files and let others chime in.

  15. antony says:

    I’ve applied to join the Digital Magazine Publishing prerelease but heard nothing back from Adobe. How long does it take?

  16. Leo Brom says:

    Hello Bob
    you mentioned at the additional features:
    “Desktop Viewer – Use the Desktop Viewer to preview your folio content without having to load it onto the iPad.”
    Can you tell me please where I can find this viewer? I don’t mean the app Digital Content Preview Tool for iPad

  17. KateCPS says:

    Hi!I am trying to find out how to create a SMS/MMS data push or iphone app in Indesign, I have searched all the manuals and the net but havent been able to find any info to help. Really, I need an idiots guide to help me all the way through it as its new to me (the data push and app – not indesign), Can you point me in the right direction?

  18. Scott Millar says:

    Hello Bob.

    As an intro to a magazine, I am creating a full page video but would prefer not to have any controls show on screen. I have seen this done but can’t seem to get it to work. I have unclicked ‘show controller’ in the Overlay Creator but this only seems to affect the top controls. How do I remove them?

    Also, is there a list of scripts that can control other content similarly to the sideshow scripts as referenced in the digitalpublishing_userguide.pdf.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks Scott

  19. Peter says:

    I´ve added video, Audio, Slide shows and buttons (Go to next page, go to previous page one action) everything works except the buttons in the preview all is fine then test on the iPad and the buttons do nothing can anybody help?


    • Bob Bringhurst says:

      Yes. If you haven’t already done so, join the Digital Publishing Suite prerelease forum at Then download the user guide and read through it so that you can understand how the tools work.

  20. Matthew Aldao says:

    Is there any way to get the Content Viewer for Desktop without joining the prerelease program? Because I’ve applied but I had no response yet, and I could really use the Viewer in my desktop, basically beacuse I don’t have an Ipad to view my publications yet.

    • Bob Bringhurst says:

      The prerelease program will end within a few days. You’ll soon be able to experiment with the tools using InDesign CS5 or CS5.5.

  21. Duncan says:

    Hi, i saw a really cool way of swiping through a selection of images, similar to the slideshow overlay. But instead of fading out to the next image on the swipe you actually moved the image out left or right and the next image was pulled into the window. Is there a setting for this? or is it something special someone has done with a long image and panned it?

  22. JJ Semple says:

    Repeat Matthew’s question which was never fully answered: “Is there any way to get the Content Viewer for Desktop without joining the prerelease program? Because I’ve applied but I had no response yet, and I could really use the Viewer in my desktop, basically because I don’t have an iPad to view my publications yet.”

    Is Content Viewer available to inDesign 5.5 users? I just purchased the new 5.5 release and would like to use Content Viewer to preview. If it isn’t available, it’s a tremendous oversight on Adobe’s part — not letting customers use it with inDesign 5.5. Adobe Digital Editions is really obsolete, a useless embarrassment for viewing ePub content.

  23. JJ Semple says:

    Thanks, Bob. I looked at it. I see two downloads, one for CS5 and another for CS5.5. Do I have to download and install both, first CS5, then CS5.5? The process isn’t clearly stated. Or can I just download and install CS5.5?

    • Bob says:

      You can download the tools for either CS5 or CS5.5, or both. The feature set is identical, at least in terms of creating folios.

  24. JJ Semple says:

    Please, someone comment on my last question. Thanks…

  25. JJ Semple says:

    Now really, how much effort would have taken to answer my question, rather than sending me to some dopey forum where questions don’t always get answered?

    • Bob Bringhurst says:

      But I did answer your question: “You can download the tools for either CS5 or CS5.5, or both…” And then I mentioned that you may want to go to the forum for these questions because I’m basically the only person who monitors these comments, whereas multiple experts subscribe to and monitor the user forums.

  26. Elly says:

    I just upgrated from Pagemaker 7 to CS5.5 and I am missing the templates that show up when I opened Pagemaker. I cannot find any templates, on which I relied a lot as I make lots of flyers.
    Thank you in advance for your help, (which I obviously desperately need)

  27. Elly says:

    Hello Bob,
    Thanks for your quick answer, unfortunately there was nothing I could use from that link, except some of the templates that you have to buy. After spending a bundle on the CS5.5 I can not even begin to bring this up with my boss. I really thought I was upgrading from Pagemaker, especially when my printer recommended it also. Is there anyway to get my hands on the CS4 flyer templates?

  28. Ilhan Yusuf says:

    Hi Bob,

    I’m working on a landscape-view only folio and things are going well except that I need to make some of the pages smooth-scrolling and much taller than the recommended 2000px.

    I’ve seen magazines, like Martha Stewart Living, that have pages much taller than 2000. How is it done?



  29. Adam Thomas says:

    Is the pre-release program still open for Digital Magazine Publishing? I am a Woodwing customer and would like to get technical details about the DPS distribution and iOS viewer application to understand the impact to our in flight project.

  30. Lance says:

    Hi Yall,

    I have 5 images as part of my article. On click I want to see a fullscreen version (same scenario as a Quicktime video zoom). click again and it goes away to view the article view.

    I have tried a combination of Button and Object States and can’t the object state image to not appear or disappear.

    Any ideas, this seems like any easy task.