Use Page Transitions to Add Some Sizzle to Your PDF Presentations
Many of us send off presentations we create in InDesign as PDF files so they can be read by our colleagues, customers, or clients. But we can give them some extra sizzle by adding page transitions within InDesign CS4. Page transitions give visual sparkle by creating a “Powerpoint-like” effect when switching between pages. Page transitions have been available in Acrobat for many versions, but they always had to be added after creating the PDF file. In Acrobat 9 Pro, you must choose Advanced > Document Processing > Page Transitions. You also have no way to preview the appearance of the effects listed there.
Page transitions is one of the improved interactivity controls (along with hyperlinks and buttons) which can be used in either PDF files or SWF files generated in InDesign CS4. It’s easy to do, and, while you can’t actually preview the page transitions in InDesign, you get some Flash-based previews in its new dialogs and panels so you can get some idea of what each of the transitions look like before you actually create the PDF file. Here’s how to add page transitions to your PDF presentation:
1. In the Pages panel of InDesign CS4, select Page Transitions > Choose from the panel menu. (Alternatively, you can Control/right-click on a page icon in the panel.) The Page Transitions dialog appears.
Here you can preview a Flash-based animation of each effect. The bottom right choice (Page Turn) is only available for exported SWF files. (Two Acrobat choices have been dropped?Random and Replace.) By default, Apply to All Spreads is checked but you can uncheck it, and apply individual transitions to each spread if you like. (You can do this by Control/right-clicking in an individual spread in the Pages panel and using the Page Transitions panel.)
2. After choosing one of the radio button choices and clicking OK, the new Page Transitions panel appears. While that’s a little confusing, this panel is used to set the options for the particular transition you choose, or to edit a transition.
Here, as in Acrobat Pro, you can set the direction and speed of the transition. If you change your mind, you can return to this panel to edit a transition effect or to clear transitions from the panel menu.
3. Just as with transparency effects, you can use the Pages panel indicators to tell you whether a page transition has been applied to a spread. The checkerboard icon indicates spread transparency. The circled icon indicates a page transition.
4. There are just a couple more things to do: When you export your PDF file, you need to remember to check the Interactive Elements checkbox. Otherwise, they won’t be included.
5. Finally, you open the PDF you export, and use the arrow keys to move from page to page. But nothing happens! Page transitions in PDF files only appear when you’re in Full Screen mode. Choose View > Full Screen Mode (Cmd/Ctrl-L) in either Adobe Acrobat or Reader. Now using arrow keys will display your page transitions.
If you want to make sure your recipient sees the page transitions, choose File > Properties > Initial View in Acrobat, and check Open in Full Screen mode. Also, tell your recipient to press the Escape key to exit Full Screen mode so they don’t freak out when they can’t get their normal screen back! Sadly, these controls are not yet available in InDesign before you create the PDF file.