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Movies and sounds

  1. InDesign User Guide
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    9. Interactivity
      1. Hyperlinks
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      4. Buttons
      5. Forms
      6. Animation
      7. Cross-references
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      9. Page transitions
      10. Movies and sounds
    10. Graphics
      1. Understand paths and shapes
      2. Draw with the Pencil tool
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      4. Apply line (stroke) settings 
      5. Compound paths and shapes
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    1. Place, export, and publish
      1. Publish online
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      3. Copy, insert graphics
      4. Export content for EPUB
      5. Adobe PDF options
      6. Export content to HTML
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      10. DPS and AEM Mobile overview
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    4. Preference folder read-only issue
    5. Troubleshoot file issues
    6. Unable to export InDesign file to PDF
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Add movies and sound files to documents

Movies and sound clips you add to a document can be played when the document is exported to Adobe PDF or when you export the document to XML and repurpose the tags.

You can import video files in H.264-encoded files (such as MP4). You can import audio files in MP3 format. Media file types such as QuickTime (.MOV), AVI, and MPEG are supported in exported interactive PDF files. We recommend that you use file formats such as  MP4 and MP3 to take full advantage of the rich media support offered in Acrobat 9 and Adobe Reader 9 or later.

Keep track of the media files you add to an InDesign document during the production cycle. If you move a linked media clip after adding it to the document, use the Links panel to relink it. If you send the InDesign document to another person, include any media files you add.

InDesign is not supporting the playback option for embedded YouTube videos because the YouTube URLs are changed to secure links (https), and therefore, the embedded YouTube video links (http) will not work.

Add a movie or a sound file

  1. Choose File > Place, and then double-click the movie or sound file. Click where you want the movie to appear. (If you drag to create the media frame, the movie boundary may appear cropped or skewed.)

    When you place a movie or sound file, a media object appears in a frame. This media object links to the media file. You can resize the media object to determine the size of the play area.

    If the center point of the movie appears outside the page, the movie is not exported.

  2. Use the Media panel (choose Window > Interactive > Media) to preview a media file and to change settings.

  3. Export the document to Adobe PDF.

    If you export to Adobe PDF, choose the Adobe PDF (Interactive) option, not Adobe PDF (Print). See Create interactive documents for PDF.

Change movie settings

Use the Media panel to change movie settings.

  1. Select the movie object in the document.

  2. In the Media panel, do any of the following:

    Media panel
    Change movie settings

    *The Controller option is available only for InDesign version 14.0.3 or before.

    Play On Page Load

    Play the movie when someone turns to the page on which the movie is located. If other page items are set to play on page load, use the Timing panel to determine the order.


    Play the movie repeatedly

    The Loop option does not function when document is exported to Adobe PDF.


    Specify the type of image that you want to appear in the play area. See Poster options.


    If the movie file is an H.264-encoded file, you can specify prefabricated controller skins that let users pause, start, and stop the movie using a variety of methods. If you select Show Controller On Rollover, the controls appear when the mouse pointer hovers over the media object. Use the Preview panel to preview the selected controller skin.

    If the movie file is a legacy file (such as .AVI or .MPEG), you can choose None or Show Controller, which displays a basic controller that lets users pause, start, and stop the movie. Use the Preview panel to test the controller options.

    Navigation Points

    To create a navigation point, advance the video to a specific frame, and then click the plus sign icon. Navigation points are useful when you want to play a video at a different starting point other than the default one. When you create a button that plays a video, you can use the Play From Navigation Point option to play the video starting at any navigation point you add.

    Navigation Points was removed from version 15.0, it is restored from version 16.0. 

    Set up navigation points on media file
    Set up navigation points on media file

Change sound settings

Use the Media panel to change sound settings.

  1. Select the sound object in the document.

  2. In the Media panel, do any of the following:

    Change settings
    Change sound settings

    Play On Page Load

    Play the sound file when someone turns to the page on which the sound object is located. If other page items are set to play on page load, use the Timing panel to determine the order.

    Stop On Page Turn

    Stop playing the MP3 sound file when someone turns to a different page. If the audio file is a non-MP3 file, this option is dimmed.


    Play the MP3 sound repeatedly. If the source file is a non-MP3 file, this option is dimmed.


    Specify the type of image that you want to appear in the play area. See Poster options.

Poster options

A poster is the image that represents a media clip. Each movie or sound can appear with or without a poster. If the poster in InDesign is larger than the movie, the poster is clipped to the size of the movie in the exported PDF. Specify any of the following types of poster images in the Media panel:


Shows no poster for the movie or sound clip. This option is useful if you want the movie or sound clip to not be visible on the page. For example, you may want the media to be played only when you turn the page, or you may want a more complex design beneath the movie to show instead of the poster.


Displays a generic movie or sound poster that isn’t based on the contents of the file.

To use a different standard poster, save an image as StandardMoviePoster.jpg or StandardSoundPoster.jpg, and replace the existing file of the same name. This file is located in the Presets/Multimedia folder in the application folder.

From Current Frame

Select this option to use the current frame displayed in the preview area of the Media panel. To select a different frame, advanced the preview slider and click the icon to the right of the Poster menu. This option is not available with legacy movie formats such as AVI and MPEG.

Choose Image

Lets you select an image to use as the poster. Double-click the image you want to use. You can select bitmap graphics, not vector graphics, for posters.

From Video

This option is selected for converted CS4 documents that have media clips set to a specific frame.

Change media settings for interactive PDF files

  1. Choose PDF Options from the Media panel menu.

    Media panel menu
    Media panel menu

  2. Specify the following options, and click OK.

    Media settings
    PDF Options


    Type a description that appears if the media file cannot be played in Acrobat. This description also acts as alternative text for visually impaired users.

    Play Video In Floating Window

    Play the movie in a separate window. If you select this option, specify the size ratio and position on the screen. Increasing the size of the floating window may reduce image quality. The floating window scale is based on the size of the original movie, not the size of the scaled movie in the document layout. This option is not available for audio files.

Place a video from a URL

Available only in InDesign version 14.0 or below

Place a video file from a valid URL to play the streaming video in the exported PDF. The video must be a valid H.264-encoded file such as MP4 or MOV. Ensure that you prefix the URL with http://.

This feature was removed from version 15.0, it is restored from version 15.1. 

  1. Create a document or open any InDesign document. 

  2. Create a graphic frame or select the video object you want to replace. 

  3. Click Windows > Interactive > Media to open the media panel. 

  4. Click the Place icon.  Place Video from URL dialog appears

    Place video from URL dialog
    Place video from URL dialog

  5. Add an URL containing mp4 or MOV video and click OK

Resize movie objects, posters, or frames

When you add a movie to the InDesign document, the movie object and poster appear in a frame. When you export to PDF, the movie object’s boundary determines the size of the movie in the PDF document, not the frame size or poster size.

For best results, keep the poster size and dimension the same as the movie. If you apply a clipping path or resize the image, the exported PDF document may not include these changes.

Movies are displayed in the topmost layer of the PDF document. If you overlay a movie with another object in InDesign, that object appears beneath the movie in the exported PDF.


If you want the PDF document to include a play area with feathering or other effects that may not export well when applied to a poster, consider using a placed image for the play area, and then place a movie (without a poster) on top of the placed image.

Resizing movie object
Resizing movie object

A. Poster B. Movie object C. Frame 

  1. Do any of the following:
    • To resize the movie object, poster, and frame, use the Scale tool  and drag one of the corner handles (hold down Shift to maintain proportions).

    • To resize only the frame, use the Selection tool  to drag a corner handle.

    • To resize the poster or media object, use the Direct Selection tool  to select the poster. Switch to the Selection tool, and then drag a corner handle.

    You can also use the Fitting commands (Object > Fitting) to resize a poster within a frame.

The MP3 audio format works best in InDesign for exporting interactive documents. While video formats such as MOV, AVI, and MPG can be exported to PDF.

Use Adobe Media Encoder to convert video files to MP4 format. Adobe Media Encoder does not convert audio file formats to MP3, but you can use an application such as Apple iTunes to do so.

  1. Open Adobe Media Encoder, add the video files you want to convert.

    For more information, see Adobe Media Encoder Help.

  2. Do any of the following actions:

Changes to export of video and audio in interactive PDF

If you publish your media content as interactive PDF, your video and audio file's media controls won't work, because Flash Player has reached the end of life on December 31st, 2020. For more information, see the Adobe Flash Player EOL General Information Page. 

The absence of Flash Player doesn't affect your ability to publish your documents or export content for EPUB.

To publish your documents online, see Publish your document online.

To export content for EPUB, see Export content for EPUB.


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