Increase engagement with your digital documents by adding interactive features like navigation, video, links, and forms.

A digital newsletter with the headline “Birding Weekly,” displayed on a tablet

Have you ever wanted to create a more engaging experience for the readers of your newsletter? Or design an interactive e-book or magazine for viewing on different devices? If so, let’s explore the typical workflow for creating an interactive document to get you started.

Set your document up right

In InDesign, you can create many kinds of interactive document types, including e-magazines, or “e-zines,” fixed-layout and reflowable EPUBs, and interactive flyers and brochures originally intended for print. The first step is creating the appropriate setup for your project. 

  • Consider where users will be viewing your document. In the New Document dialog box, choose the Web or Mobile category to work in pixels.
  • Explore Adobe Stock templates to get a jump start on your design, or start from scratch using one of the many preset sizes available.
  • Choose the correct document size for your project. If you’re unsure, you can change it later.
Using the New Document dialog box to set up a new document

Set up your layout

Before you begin adding design content, take a moment to set a few key layout features to help you work smarter.

  • To add automatic page numbers, section headers, or other consistently placed content, use master pages. A master page is like a document template — any object placed on a master page automatically appears on pages that are based on it.
  • Need to resize or adjust the pages in your document? Visually adjust your pages using the Page tool and Liquid Layout rules. Or have InDesign adjust the page elements in your document layout automatically using the Adjust Layout feature.

Adding document navigation

The most effective navigation is easy to use. Links, bookmarks, and buttons are great ways to make your document more user-friendly.

  • Create buttons that perform actions like opening another file or playing a video in the Buttons and Forms panel.
  • Add hyperlinks in the Hyperlinks panel so readers can jump to other locations in the same document, other documents, or a website.
  • Make bookmarks in the Bookmarks panel that jump to a text anchor in your document, or to specific pages in PDFs you export from InDesign.

Adding interactivity and multimedia

To take the user experience to the next level, you can add interactive elements like animations, videos, and sound.

  • Animation effects let you bring objects in your documents to life in a variety of ways. For example, you can animate a logo to appear on the page using the Animation panel.
  • Place movies (H.264-encoded formats like MP4) and sounds (MP3 files) in your document by choosing File > Place, and even control multimedia in the Media panel.

Share it with the world

Exporting the document in the right format is a must. While you can export in a number of formats, not all formats support all interactivity. Where the document will be viewed partly determines the file type to choose. Here we focus on two options: PDF and Publish Online.

  • The Export dialog offers two options for PDF: print and interactive. The Adobe PDF (Print) format includes minimal interactivity and is intended for printing, while Adobe PDF (Interactive) includes most kinds of interactivity and is intended for onscreen viewing.
  • Choose File > Publish Online to publish any InDesign document to the web and share it on social networks, over email, or as a standalone URL. The online document supports all of your InDesign document’s interactivity.

With InDesign, you can add interactive elements to your documents no matter what type of project you start with. With the right mix of content and interactivity, you can create engaging experiences for all.

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