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Interactive PDF with InDesign

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  • Interactive PDF with InDesign

    Hi all,

    I have designed an interactive PDF in InDesign and I am now trying to figure out the best way to distribute it.

    My project includes both animations and buttons and I want to share it through an email - preferably without having to attach it. I have done extensive reading on the subject, but I am entirely confused. As I understand it, I have to export my file as a .SWF file to ensure the animations will play. However, I don't want to run the risk of people not being able to open the document due to not having flash installed. Additionally, I am struggling to find a way to actually share the .SWF file in an email.

    My knowledge of HTML is limited at best so my questions are; is there any way to host my project on an HTML site and then link to this in my email? Alternatively, is there a better format I can use when exporting the PDF which means I can avoid the flash issue entirely?

    Bonus question: What is an .EXE file and can I avoid Flash by converting my .SWF into an .EXE file?

  • #2
    Or even better, how do I convert it into an HTML5 file?


    • #3
      Hi 692_Ane, welcome to GDF.

      We ask all new members to read very important links here and here. These explain the rules, how the forum runs and a few inside jokes. No, you haven't done anything wrong, we ask every new member to read them. Your first few posts will be moderated, so don't panic if they don't show up immediately. Enjoy your stay.


      Once you convert it to swf, it's no longer an interactive PDF. Email clients do not support reading PDFs inline and there is a spotty support for interactive elements in PDFs view with web browsers.

      You can link to your PDF if you upload your PDF to a publicly accessible server.

      If you go the .swf route, you'd insert it into an html page on a publicly accessible server and link to that, as there isn't support for it to be inline in an email either, as you are probably aware, there's also limited support for .swf on mobile, so this option probably isn't the best solution if oyu want to reach the most people.

      Design is not decoration.


      • #4
        I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but you're already too far down the wrong road. The possibilities for which you're hoping are actually impossibilities.

        HTML email is actually a unique endeavor that's tricky, even when you know how to do it. Anything beyond basic HTML4 with inline CSS won't render reliably in email clients.

        Flash content won't be supported. In fact your hope of deploying Flash content to a range of recipients outside your sphere of control by any means should probably just be abandoned at this point.

        You should probably also forget converting your Flash file to an executable (.exe). Pretty much every anti-virus monitor will block user access to an executable that wasn't installed on the computer via a certified installer's routine (like when you install an application).

        Email deployment of PDF is by attachment only. To put it simply, "interactive PDF" is a format whose usefulness came and went before the concept could mature into something solid; particularly in the context of InDesign's SWF-integration capability. Adobe would actually be doing their users a service by removing it now. There are some form-field applications and distribution scenarios in which it ('interactive' PDF) is still a viable fit, but not many.

        You could host your content on a web server and email a link to it, but Flash support will still be a crap shoot. HTML5 would be the way to go; for the moment.
        I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.


        • #5
          Ah, okay, thanks for all the feedback!

          Let me backtrack for a second - is there any way I can export my InDesign project in a way that includes the animations and the working buttons and then distribute it through email?

          Alternatively, how can I make it into an HTML5 and where could I potentially host that?

          Thanks for all the help so far!


          • #6
            Okay, guys, thanks for all the feedback! It was super helpful in the sense that I now have a better idea of the limitations of PFD/SWF etc.

            I did manage to find a solution to my problem, and I figured I might as well share it here even though it turned out to be embarrassingly simple.
            In the end, I used InDesign's publish online option which did everything I wanted. My project is now hosted online with all animations and buttons working like a charm!






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