How We Did It: Part 5 – The Ultimate Tourney Guide

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This article is Part 5 of 5. Please start with Part 1 if you have not done so already.

In Part 4 of this series, I discussed how we used a button to alert users if they needed to update their viewer to Adobe Acrobat 9 or Adobe Reader 9. In this final article on the topic of the "Ultimate Tourney Guide" project, I’ll move away from a strictly “developer” focus and talk about something the typical knowledge worker can do to make their documents stand out.

Acrobat Buttons, Button States and Button Icons:
A button can have a label, an icon, or both. You can change how the button appears in each mouse state (Up, Down, and Rollover). For example, you could create a button that has a “Home” label until the mouse is moved over the button, when it might have a “Click to return to Home page” label. You actually don’t need any developer skills to create roll over buttons, the Acrobat user interface is enough. You can read about how to go about making buttons change appearance in the Acrobat 9 online help.

For stylistic reasons, we chose to use bitmaps for our button icons in the Ultimate Tourney Guide but I like to use vector art for my own projects. Vectors tend to scale better when you can’t anticipate the zoom level that the PDF file will be viewed. Roll your mouse over the embedded PDF file below to see the buttons in action.

Simple But Cool:
The secret to making these buttons work well with the reflections and the background image is to create them in Adobe PhotoShop using a transparent background and save them as PDF files from there. Alternatively, you can use whatever image editing software you like, save the file as a .png and then drag the .png file onto the Acrobat icon to convert it to a PDF file to retain the transparency. In the example above, the button’s “Up” state is one bitmap and we used a different bitmap for both the “Down” and “Rollover” states. Then we added a “Go to a page view” action to the “Mouse Up” event. In the embedded PDF file below, I have used vector artwork (created in Adobe Illustrator) as my button faces and have 3 separate PDF files set for each of the individual button states. Roll over and click on the orb to see the state changes.

Conclusion:
That’s how we did it! Now it’s time to return to your regularly scheduled blogging.

Note: As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, this technique requires no developer skills, so – for all you JavaScript developers out there, if this post left you feeling like you want a little more, here’s another great article about using buttons in Acrobat by Thom Parker: Automatically Add Buttons to a PDF.