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Creating Interactive PDFs from InDesign (1)

Digitip 080 – Adobe InDesign CS4, simple rollover effect

Simple rollover effect

The following tip demonstrations how to create a very simple roll-over effect in InDesign that carries through to export to Adobe PDF format.

So what is it we’re trying to achieve in this example? Well let’s assume we’re starting out with a standard InDesign page, a collage of images. Each image at the start has its blending mode set to “Luminosity“, which results generates the appearance of the images being ‘sepia’-tone images.

Blending mode...

Creating a button

Step one in creating simple rollover effect involves converting the graphic into a Button. Display the Buttons panel (Window > Interactive > Buttons) and select the graphic with the Selection Tool.

Create Button

To turn the selected graphic frame into a Button choose Object > Interactive > Convert to Button, alternatively click the Normal state in the State Appearance section of the Buttons panel, or click the Convert to Button ‘button’ at the bottom of the panel.

Button - Normal State

The [Normal] state is now active and has adopted the original look of the image, which contains the “Luminosity” blending mode. Had you started out with a normally placed image, you could at this stage, change the appearance of the [Normal] state.

Rollover State

To add a [Rollover] state, click the [Rollover] state in the Buttons panel.


The [Rollover] state is now active, and the button should still be selected. To change the appearance of the state, make the required changes in the Effects panel. Change the blending mode to Normal.

Change state appearance

We’re now ready to test this rollover effect in the interactive PDF.

Creating the PDF

Choose a File > Adobe PDF Presets and select a PDF setting from the list of settings. Alternatively choose File > Export and set Format to PDF.

PDF export settings

In the General section of the Export Adobe PDF dialog ensure the Interactive Element option is enabled for inclusion. Next click Export and generate the PDF.

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  1. Jackson Foster Jackson Foster
    March 11, 2011    

    I need to figure out how to do this with lines of text. I’ve created a short ”table of contents”, and want each to highlight to a different color on rollover. Is this possible thanks!

  2. Rusty Rusty
    February 8, 2010    

    Did you ever have problems w. issue as described on this thread: Interactive buttons misinterpreted as form fields by Acrobat

    I am battling it myself; once I add 5th button I notice this
    supposedly helpful message pops up in Acrobat. Very annoying and,, Un-accesptable.
    Please advise if you know the answer


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