InDesign 101

Interactive EPUB

InDesign 101: Getting Started with InDesign

Reasons for using Adobe InDesign

  1. Better text handling (i.e. story editor, column settings, column splitting/spanning)
  2. TOC and indexing (i.e. automated tools to control a table of contents, indexes, hyperlinks, bookmarks, etc.)
  3. Master Pages (i.e. multi-page layouts)
  4. Round-trip editing between Photoshop and Illustrator
  5. Generally used for:
  • Editorial design
  • Book design
  • Multiple page brochures
  • Annual reports
  • Interactive PDF documents

Resources for help


Templates - Templates shipped with InDesign until InDesign CS4.  InDesign Secrets has made the templates available here.

Creating A New Document - Making a Tri-Fold Brochure (Click Here for Assets)

Step 1: When you open InDesign you will see a What's New dialog box. (Note: The Welcome Screen was removed beginning with InDesign CC.)


  • A variety of preferences can be set before you create your document by first opening the Preferences dialog box, this can be accessed on the Application bar and pointing  to (Mac) InDesign --> Preferences or (Win) Edit --> Preferences and then choosing which category you wish to make changes to.
  • The default unit of measure in InDesign is the pica, so let's begin by changing the units of measure to inches, a measurement most people are familiar with. You will notice you have the option for the traditional fractional ruler or a decimal ruler.
  • To change these values go to (Mac) InDesign --> Preferences --> Units & Increments (Win) Edit --> Preferences --> Units & Increments. Under Ruler Units change the horizontal and vertical values to Inches.


Step 2: The origin of the ruler can be set to spread, page or spine.


  • By selecting spread, the ruler will start from the left hand side of the document and span across the spread of the document.
  • By selecting page, the ruler will start at the left hand side and stop when it gets to the end of the page and it will start at zero again.
  • The spine preset is useful when you are using facing pages and of course have a spine. The ruler will start its zero point from the spine and work to the edge of the document.


Step 3: Another dialog box will appear. Now before you format the document it will save time to have a rough idea of the kind of document you want to set (do a sketch for a rough mockup). I will be creating a tri-fold single-page brochure. My Intent is Print, Number of Pages 2 with Facing Pages Unchecked and Primary Text Frame Unchecked.


Step 4: The Page Size drop down menu has a selection of popular presets; in my case I will use Tabloid (11x17), with an orientation of landscape. Since this is a tri-fold, my pages will be divided into 3-columns. under the Columns section I will set the Number to 3 and leave the Gutter and Margins set to their defaults. Compare your New Document dialog box to the following image before clicking OK.


Setting Margins using InDesignBefore the margins are defined, it is important to understand their function. Visually margins cage the content and support the structure of a layout. They provide a resting place for the reader's eyes as well as supporting the tone of design. Also there are some common practical functions to consider:・ How much room is needed for holding the print, so the reader doesn't obscure any content?・ How is the print going to be finished? ring bound, stapled etc・ Are there any safe zones set by the print house? One example would be a street poster/advertisement where the print is held in a large frame, requiring oversized margins.・ When designing training manuals and text books should room be left for notes to be made? By appreciating the affect your margins have on printing and finishing, you will instantly become your printer's best friend.




Methods of Importing Type

Here are some common methods of placing type within InDesign.

  1. Direct input. Select the Type Tool, draw a text box, select your typeface, size, color etc. and start typing.
  2. Copy and paste. Content can be copied and pasted from a variety of sources (PDFs, text documents and the internet, etc.)
  3. Import a word processor file (Word, OpenOffice, Excel, etc). A file can be added using the Place option (File --> Place)


Step 1 We will begin by importing the course descriptions onto the second page of your document. Go to File --> Place and navigate to where the AVCourseDescriptions file is located. Select it but don't click the Open button just yet.


Step 2 Check Show Import Options, once the box is checked, then click Open. The Microsoft Word Import Options dialog box will appear.


Step 3 The Import Options dialog box is divided into three sections, Including, Formatting. The Include box is pretty self-explanatory and here you can choose to omit or include various formatting.

  • The Word document we are importing is set up in a table, therefore, we are going to choose Remove Styles and Formatting from Text and Tables and from the Convert Tables To drop down menu: Unformatted Tabbed Text. Compare your dialog box to the following figure and click OK.


Step 4 Once you have clicked OK your cursor will be loaded with the text from the document. Note: If you change your mind, press the Esc key.

  • Click once at the location within the InDesign document where you would like to place the content. If you click your loaded cursor on a column structure, the width of the text frame will mimic the width of the column. Note: Make sure that your guides are turned on View --> Grids and Guides --> Show Guides.
  • Click the + and this will load your cursor again, click at the top left corner of the second column.


Formatting Text with the Character Panel

(Reset your workspace to Typography)


Step 1 First, let's format out first course. I've chosen the Aparajita Font size 14, bolding the Title of the course and setting a Skew of 10 degrees to the prerequisite.

Step 2 Select the Title of the course, or place the insertion point in it. Choose New Character Style from the Character Styles panel menu. For Style Name, type CourseTitle. Note: When you select the Basic Character Formats category the Basic Character Formats will match those of the selected text.


  • Click on the General category to add a keyboard shortcut, position the insertion point in the Shortcut box, and make sure Num Lock is turned on. Then hold down any combination of Shift, Alt, and Ctrl (Win), or Shift, Option, and Command (Mac), and press a number on the numeric keypad. You cannot use letters or non-keypad numbers for defining style shortcuts. If your keyboard does not have a Num Lock key, you cannot add keyboard shortcuts to styles. Enter Option/Alt 1 and click OK.

Step 3 Select the Description of the course, or place the insertion point in it. Choose New Character Style from the Character Styles panel menu. For Style Name, type CourseDescription. For Based On select CourseTitle, click on Basic Character Formats select the Font Style menu and choose Regular. For Shortcut, enter Option/Alt 2 and click OK.

Step 4 Create a Character Style for the prerequisite and name it PreReq with the shortcut Option/Alt 3.

Quick Skills Check - Layout & Place More Text

Resize your Text Frames to improve your layout and create more textboxes as needed, you will also Place some additional text to provide some background information on these programs.

Importing Graphics

InDesign can handle a variety of graphics including jpg, eps, pdf, tiff, psd and most Adobe formats to name a few. InDesign doesn't actually place the graphic into the document. Instead it makes a link to the original file and generates a preview within the document. As InDesign is a layout and typesetting program you need to edit and prepare your files within another program, for example Photoshop or Illustrator. Note: If you place an Illustrator or Photoshop document you can update the saved file in the Links panel without having to replace the file.


Step 1 Create a frame that is half the width (2.6111") of the center column with the Rectangle Frame Tool, select the Frame with the Selection Tool and choose File --> Place and select the DSC_0155.jpg image and click Open. Note: The image is too large for the Frame. Right-click the Frame --> Fitting --> Fill Frame Proportionally to fit the image to the frame without distortion.


Step 2 Duplicate the frame to create a total of 4 frames, place the following images: DSC_0024.jpg, DSC_0184.jpg, and DSC_0204.jpg. Note: You will need to reset the Fitting.

TIP: Duplicate a Frame1. Edit → Duplicate2. Edit → Copy → Edit → Paste3. Click/Drag press Alt/Option before releasing

Step 3 You may need to adjust the location of the images within the frame, hover over the frame and drag the content grabber, this will move the imported content without moving the frame (that is, to pan content behind its frame).

Create a new color swatch1. Choose New Color Swatch in the Swatches panel menu.2. For Color Type, choose the method you’ll use to print document colors on a printing press, usually Process.3. Do one of the following:• Click Add to add the swatch and define another one.• Click Done when finished.• Click OK to add the swatch and exit the dialog box.

Step 4 Add a stroke to a frame, select the frame and on the Options panel set the Stroke Weight to 4 pts and the Stroke Color to Dark Blue.

TIP: Object StylesObject stylesheets format the appearance of objects — that is, shapes and frames. They allow you to control a lot of miscellaneous effects, such drop shadows, text wrap, and more. (All Styles panels can be found under Window → Styles)


Quick Skills Check - Complete the front page of the brochure by placing more text  & graphics

Sample Front





Time Permitting: Adding Interactivity to a PDF Generate QR code1. From the menu, choose Object > Generate QR Code.2. In the Content tab, select any one of the following data types in the Type drop-down list: Web Hyperlink, Plain Text, Text Message, Email, Business Card.3. Based on the selected type, one or more fields are displayed to provide the content for which you want to generate the QR code.
4. The Color tab shows Swatch List. If you want to apply a specific color to the QR code, switch to the Color tab and select a specific color. By default, the generated QR code is Black with transparent background.
5. Click OK.

  • Adding buttons
  • Bookmarks
  • Hyperlinks
  • Page Transitions
  • Exporting an Interactive PDF











Resources for help


Feature: Color Workflows Re-Imagined

Create Color themes that complement the assets in your layout with a single click. The new Color Theme tool uses the Adobe Color technology to allow users to extract a color theme from any image, object or selected area in an InDesign layout and begin using it right away. Save color themes to the Adobe Color service for use in other Adobe desktop and mobile apps.


  1. Open PlayOnEPUB.indd
  2. Show the Pages panel and navigate to the second to last spread (pp 11-12, titled “The Rundown”).
    Hide the Pages panel afterward.
  3. Activate the Color Theme tool, hidden under the Eyedropper tool.
  4. Hover the cursor over the image on the right (the sound board’s patch panel) and click to show how the Color Theme tool extracts a color theme and presents it in a floating panel. Note how the page is designed using colors from the theme captured from that image.
  5. Show the Layers panel.
  6. Hide the Soundboard color layer and show the Electric guitar color layer. Note that the layer’s theme colors (and similarly named swatches in the Swatch panel) were extracted from the image on the right.
  7. Repeat the above step for the Hollow body guitar color layer and the Acoustic guitar color layer.
    TIP: If the Cool Theme tool is not extracting colors hold the ALT/OPTION key while clicking.
  8. Click the button with the triangle in the floating panel to show alternate themes (e.g. Colorful, Bright, Dark, Deep, and Muted).

  9. Hover the cursor over the middle button to show the tooltip: Add this theme to swatches… Click the button and note that clicking the button saves the current theme to the Swatches panel.

  10. Expand the Swatches panel and note the named color theme(s) saved to the bottom of the Swatches panel.
  11. Hover the cursor over the rightmost button in the color theme popup to show the tooltip: Add this theme to Adobe Color. Click to add the theme (not Muted or Bright - those were loaded during setup).
  12. Show the Adobe Color Themes panel (Window > Color > Adobe Color Themes).
  13. Note how color themes from the Adobe Color community are shown under the Explore tab.
  14. Color themes can also be created directly in this panel under the Create tab.
  15. Click My Themes and note that the Adobe Color Web Service presents the newly-added color theme along with any previously-synced themes; the Web service lets you share synced color themes among your Adobe desktop and mobile applications. This is your Creative Profile in action - keeping all your creative resources close at hand within the Adobe applications.
  16. Hover the mouse pointer over the theme names to show a tool tip with the full name.
  17. Click Actions under one of the swatches to display a menu of options including View Online, which opens the theme on the Adobe Color web site.


Animation and interactivity in fixed layout EPUB

InDesign CC users can now create highly designed, interactive, Fixed Layout EPUB ebooks. Create interactive elements, and preview audio, video, animation – any interactivity you can place in the file – right inside InDesign.


  1. Open the PlayOn.EPUB file on your iPad using iBooks.
  2. Navigate through the EPUB showing the animations, interactive elements (slideshow, buttons, videos), and ToC/Index and other hyperlinks. Show the iBooks ToC at the top of the screen (populated using Bookmarks).
  3. Now let’s see how this file was created. Open the InDe- sign PlayOnEPUB.indd file. Navigate to pages 7-8.
  4. Click the EPUB Interactivity Preview panel (Window
  5. Interactive > EPUB Interactivity Preview) and explain that we’ll see some animations and interactive features working in the new EPUB Interactivity Preview window before we look at how they are set up.
  6. Click the play button (triangle in the bottom left corner) to show the preview of that page. You must click the Play button each time you go to a new page or make a change on a page so the preview can refresh (it doesn’t refresh automatically). Note that the text slides in, the buttons fade up, and the sheet music is animated.
  7. Click the Trill button to hear the violin music Mari can make. Note that the button and related action to play the sound were all created natively within InDesign and can be exported to the fixed layout EPUB.
  8. Next let’s go through creating the animations and interactive elements used in this EPUB. Collapse the preview window and activate the Selection tool.
  9. Let’s start at the beginning — navigate to the cover spread and open the Animation panel (Window > Interactive > Animation).
  10. Select the PlayOn logo and note the settings in the Animation panel — the logo is set to Fade In. Click to display all the presets provided. Look familiar? They are similar to SWF animations. See the butterfly mimic the action of each preset you select.
  11. Open the Timing panel (Window > Interactive > Timing) and note the number of elements on this page that have animations. In this and on many of the pages, the animations are all set to Play Together. The link and unlink buttons at the bottom indicate that relationship as well as when they appear - in this case On Page Load.
  12. Many other objects move or have actions associated with them throughout this EPUB, but we’ll go through one of each variety of animation and interactivity.
  13. On the second spread (ToC), select the ToC text frame on the left side of the layout and note the bright green arrow indicating that the text is animated along a path.
  14. Show the Animation panel and note the settings: the text is animated using a Fly-in from Left preset that runs when the page loads.
  15. Click on the green animation path on the left of the ToC. Note how you can move the destination of the ToC text by moving the arrow - they are connected. Undo move.
  16. Next let’s look at the slideshow below the ToC (created using multiple images set as Object States, then controlled using the arrow buttons). Click to select the arrow on the right side of the slideshow image (you should see a narrow vertical rectangle selected) and point out that Slideshow appears in the Timing panel.
  17. Click on the slideshow itself and the Timing panel will show that the slideshow is a multi-state object with Next State and Previous State actions grouped beneath it. The slideshow also has an animation to slide up from the bottom.
  18. Next show the Hyperlinks panel (Window > Interactive>Hyperlinks) and display the links at the bottom of the panel.
  19. Activate the Type tool and click to insert the cursor into the blue underlined text; note that the corresponding link is highlighted in the Hyperlinks panel.
  20. Hover the mouse pointer over several items in the Name column to show a tool tip indicating the link destination. Note that you can link to other pages as well as Web URLs.
  21. Open the EPUB Interactivity Preview panel and click the Play button to test everything out on this spread.
  22. Click the arrows on the slide show to display several slide images.
  23. Click one of the text hyperlinks to show that it opens the destination in a web browser.
  24. Close the EPUB Interactivity Preview panel.
  25. Navigate to the next spread introducing the Vimes. Click the sound wave image at the top of the page and note in the Animation panel that it is animated with a custom move right preset that is set to run for 45 seconds and set to loop.
  26. There is also a movie on this and other pages that will play (open the Media panel to see that each has a poster from the currently selected frame).
  27. There are instrument buttons on the right that are set to interact with multistate objects of the images and text, similar to the earlier slideshow. Double click on the large circle button over the pickups and open the Buttons panel. To view the action to view the Gibson image.
  28. Move on to the Mari spread and click the Trill button and note that it uses a fade in animation.
  29. With the Trill button selected, show the Button panel and note that it is set to play excerpt_2.mp3 on release and has a rollover state defined.
  30. The next spread Wild Leaves has many of the same animation types and interactive elements - each treated slightly differently. Last page includes an Index, which, like the ToC isn’t a new feature in InDesign, but can be included in EPUB.
  31. Last part of this demo is to export the InDesign file as a Fixed Layout EPUB. Select File > Export:
    • Set Destination (desktop folder)
    • Set format to EPUB (Fixed Layout)
  32. Click SaveAs and rename the file _Demo.
  33. The Options dialog appears:
    • Set the cover page: click the folder icon and navigate to the demo assets folder; select cover-11x8.5in.jpg.
    • Set Navigation TOC to Bookmarks
    • Set Spread Control to Convert Spread to Landscape Page (Note how this file was set-up with facing portrait pages)
  34. Click OK; the EPUB is exported (click OK if you see an error message).
  35. The EPUB opens in iBooks:

• Move the mouse near the right and left edges to reveal the page controls; click to switch pages.

• Hover the mouse over the top left side of the window to reveal the navigation icons; click the middle icon to show the TOC generated from bookmarks created within InDesign.

• Click through with the right arrow until you reach the last page to show the index. Click a page number to show hyperlinked pages within the EPUB.


Instructions for PlayonEPUB


Cover Page

Create the following animations (Open the Animation panel)

  1. Overlay Top Left – Fly In From Left on Page Load
  2. Overlay Right - Fly In From Right on Page Load
  3. Play-On graphic - Fade-In on Page Load
  4. Musicians and their Instruments text  - Fade-In on Page Load

Set the following Timing (Open the Timing panel):

  1. Select ALL the actions.
  2. Click the Play Together button.


Spread 3-4

Create the following animations (Open the Animation panel)

  1. ToC – Fly In From Left on Page Load
  2. Overlay Right Top - Fly In From Right on Page Load
  3. Overlay Right Bottom - Fly In From Bottom on Page Load
  4. Overlay Left - Fly In From Left on Page Load


Create the following slideshow

  1. Place the images slideshow 1 thru 10, on top of each other in the blank area below the ToC.
    If necessary, use the Align panel to stack images on top of each other
  2. Draw a narrow frame on each side of the stacked images.
  3. Draw a square, Stroke White 2 pt, and rotate it, use the Direct Selection tool to delete one corner anchor point to make an arrow.
  4. Select the arrow and Cut the instance (Command+C) and then select the narrow shape and choose Paste Into, paste the arrow again into the other arrow and choose the arrow that is facing the wrong way and select Object>Transform>Flip Horizontal.
  5. Open the Object States panel and with all the images selected (click and drag around the images with the Selection tool) click the Create new state button.
  6. Open the Buttons panel, select the right-arrow and click Convert to Button, Name the button Forward and choose the Action Go to Next State, create a Rollover state and change the color of the arrow to Gray 80%.
  7. Repeat these steps for the left arrow naming in Backward.
  8. Add animations to the slideshow and its components: Slideshow - Fly In From Bottom on Page Load, Forward – Fade-In on Page Load, Backward - Fade-In on Page Load


Set the following Timing (Open the Timing panel):

  1. Select the ToC, Overlays and Type, then click the Play Together button.
  2. Select Previous and Next, then click the Play Together button.
  3. Slideshow should not be linked to any other animation.


Set the following Hyperlinks (Open the Hyperlinks panel)

  1. Classical violinist -
  2. Electronic pop band -
  3. Psych-folk band -


Spread 7-8

The animations have been set for you; let’s add sound to the Pizzicato, Trill and Glissando buttons.

Make a button play sound

  1. Place excerpt_1, excerpt_2 and excerpt 3 stacked on the bottom right page.
    Note: Sounds need to be placed into the document before they will be able to apply to a button.
  2. Open the Buttons panel and select Pizzicato.
  3. From the Actions menu select Sound.
  4. Choose excerpt_1.mp3.
  5. Repeat these steps for Trill > excerpt_2.mp3 and Glissando > excerpt3.mp3.


Generate an Index

  1. For standard words or phrases, press Shift+Alt+Ctrl+[ (Win) or Shift+Option+Command+[ (Mac).
  2. For proper names that you want indexed by the last name, press Shift+Alt+Ctrl+] (Win) or Shift+Option+Command+] (Mac).
  3. An index marker using the default settings is added at the beginning of the selection or to the beginning of each item selected.
  4. Open the Index panel, choose Generate Index in the Index panel menu then place the index in the location where you want it.

QR Bar Code Creator:

  1. Object / Generate QR Code:
    • type: hyperlink;
    • url:
    • color: “Lime Green”
  2. Change color of image box to “Hyperlink”
  3. Rotate 45 degrees
  4. Scale and position


Publish your EPUB

  1. Last part of this demo is to export the InDesign file as a Fixed Layout EPUB. Select File > Export:
    • Set Destination (desktop folder)
    • Set format to EPUB (Fixed Layout)
  2. Click SaveAs and rename the file _Demo.
  3. The Options dialog appears:
    • Set Export Range: All Pages
    • Set the cover page: click the folder icon and navigate to the demo assets folder; select cover-11x8.5in.jpg.
    • Set Navigation TOC to Bookmarks
    • Set Spread Control to Convert Spread to Landscape Page (Note how this file was set-up with facing portrait pages)
  4. Click OK; the EPUB is exported (click OK if you see an error message).
  5. The EPUB opens in iBooks:
    • Move the mouse near the right and left edges to reveal the page controls; click to switch pages.
    • Hover the mouse over the top left side of the window to reveal the navigation icons; click the middle icon to show the TOC generated from bookmarks created within InDesign.
    •Click through with the right arrow until you reach the last page to show the index. Click a page number to show hyperlinked pages within the EPUB.



Digital Publishing with InDesign CC: Slideshows (create a button for each image in the stack)


Interesting note on placing movie and sound files is that in order for the Trill and other buttons to play the violin sounds, the music sound files need to be placed on the page. However, those icons showed up in the screen refresh when the page loaded. So a simple fix is to place these three sound file icons in the lower right corner of the page and put a simple white frame on top of them - all hidden underneath everything else on the page. The white frame makes them seem invisible when the page draws in on iBooks.



Color themes can be added to the swatches panel as a set of five colors (a color group).


You can also sync color themes to the

Adobe Color Web service to make them instantly available for use in other Adobe desktop and mobile apps including Photoshop, Illustrator, Line and Sketch.


Note: If the Adobe Color Themes panel does not update after adding a theme, click Create and click back on My Themes to force a refresh.



You can click to sample all colors (notice the highlight outline that indicates what you are selecting color from (hover over the table to select colors from the whole table) or drag a rectangle over any combination of content to sample colors from the selected area.



The Color Theme tool generates a total of 5 themes–a base theme consisting of 5 color swatches and 4 alternate themes–and presents them in a small floating panel. Colors from a theme can then be directly applied to page elements.

Interactive InDesign Files







Click here to download zip file.

Interactive InDesign




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