Changing Layer Visibility in an Interactive PDF

Here’s a tutorial on how to change layer visibility in an interactive PDF file.

Show/hide buttons can let you show and hide objects which have themselves been turned into buttons. But, in InDesign, show/hide buttons cannot control the visibility of layers. I think it’s because of the way buttons are handled in a PDF file. They are treated as a separate “layer” above the “content” of the PDF file. (The Preview panel in InDesign CS5 is mostly accurate in previewing SWF output, not PDF, because it uses InDesign’s new Flash capabilities.)

However, you can change the layer visibility of a PDF file, you just can’t do it in InDesign alone. You also have to make use of the layer controls in Acrobat. So here’s a simple example which has three layers—a yellow background, text, and a graphic. We’d like to turn the background on and off with a button.

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