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About Hyperlinks in SWFs exported from InDesign

This post is basically about the combination of two new features in Adobe InDesign CS4, and something of which I was not aware of:

Redesigned Hyperlinks panel – You can now use the redesigned Hyperlinks panel to create hyperlinks that navigate to external URLs, link to specific files, launch an e-mail client, or jump to a page or section of a page within the same or even a different document. Users can now also verify hyperlinks directly in InDesign CS4 with no need to export the document to a PDF or SWF file for testing.

Export to Flash (SWF) – You can create dynamic content without having to work in the authoring environment of Adobe Flash by simply exporting SWF files directly from within InDesign, complete with page transitions, interactive buttons, rollovers, and hyperlinks.

I have been exporting SWFs from InDesign, complete with all those cool features mentioned above, including hyperlinks since CS4 came out. But, guess what, I had never actually clicked on one of those hyperlinks I created, until Gerard told me that they had to think of a workaround, because those hyperlinks, according to him, did not work in the exported SWF file. So I checked, and guess what, my hyperlinks did not work either. So I had to agree with Gerard that this must have been a bug and that we’d patiently have to wait for a fix.

I was so wrong… And thanks to Michael Ninness (Adobe InDesign Product Manager) for clearing this up.

Basically, when testing the SWFs on my machine, I was being blocked by a Flash security setting (which is really important to protect my machine from harmful files). The fact is that hyperlinks in the SWF work fine when the SWF exported from InDesign is deployed to a web server. But because I was trying to access the hyperlinks in the SWF while it was running from my local machine it simply did not work, and others may have gotten a Flash Player security warning dialog.
To check hyperlinks in your SWF locally simply click the "Settings" button in that dialog which will take you to a web page on Adobe.com where you can add your computer (or a specific folder) as a trusted location. Once you've done that, the hyperlinks in your local SWFs will run fine.
If you don’t get the warning message (which was my case) simply open the contextual menu [ctrl+click] and choose Settings… and click on the “advanced” button.

Adobe Flash Player Settings

You’ll be taken to a page on Adobe.com called “Flash Player Help”. In the left menu choose “Settings Manager” and choose “Global Security Settings panel” to add your hard disk or a specific folder which you authorize to run your Flash files (a good idea would be to set up a specific folder authorized to run your SWFs for testing purposes).

Global Security Settings panel

But again, to clarify, your users will not see this issue if accessing the SWF when it is deployed to a web server.


Die Lösung hätte ich im März sehr gut gebrauchen können. Da bin ich nämlich genau auf dieses Problem gestoßen als ich mein ACE-Prep-Guide-Buch als SWF exportieren wollte.

Auch das Forum Hilfdirselbst.ch wusste damals keine Lösung wie du hier sehen kannst.

Vielen Dank für das posten der Lösung!

I needed this information in March. I run in exact the same problem as I tried to export my ACE-Prep-Gruide-Book to SWF.

Thanks for posting the solution!


I've been through this too, Rufus. And I may add that this "issue" is not exclusive to InDesign SWFs, by the way. When I try to test my files exported from Adobe Flash I receive the same warnings. The links only work after I publish then (which I think is a good thing, anyway).
Certainly adding a specific folder as a trusted location is a better (and faster)option. I'll give it a try, thanks!

Hi, good post. I have been woondering about this issue,so thanks for posting. I’ll definitely be coming back to your site.

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