You might already know there are two kinds of eBooks: Fixed Format and Reflowable. Fixed format suits grand layouts with images, whereas reflowable ebooks suits 90% of text-based books.  There are also two types of interactive ebooks:  ePub and PDF.

Today I set about making an Interactive ePub from a plain fixed format, directly in InDesign. While there are many more elements to discover, I think I’ve got the hang of animations and buttons.

There is a handy Adobe InDesign tutorial to learn how to add animations, slide shows, and buttons to an ePub. I noticed that their “workspace” is designated as ePub, whereas my CC 2017 version says “Interactive”. This workspace helps to bring up the right menus on the side.

I find it fun to put some animated graphics on pages that were blank, or where I wanted to illustrate the words.

interactive ebook examples

The words fly down, one line at a time.

 

How to make a Fixed Format, Interactive ePub from InDesign

Fixed Format means that readers’ devices show pages one at a time, but they still have the ability to rotate their view or hit A+ to see smaller text. For author-publishers, the fixed format ePub means their lovely typesetting including different fonts, drop caps and image placements, can stay in one place.

The creation of animations means that you can add a compressed video (.gif) or create a ‘slide show’ from the placed pictures (it’s called multi-state objects). You can even replace one image with another, by using Timing. To do this, set the timing of the second image about 3 seconds after “on Page Load” and tick “appear and disappear image” on the first image. A whole host of animations are available to play around with.

To preview interactivity in an EPUB document, click Window > Interactive > EPUB Interactivity Preview.

An Adobe tutorial about Fixed Format layouts.

To make the final ePub from Adobe InDesign, all you do is just:

  1. Export — select ePub (Interactive), select ALL pages.
  2. Check your Viewing options (I use iBooks, but you can also use Adobe Digital Editions).
  3. In the Meta Data tab, fill out your book details and author name.
  4. Hit Export.

Wallah! Your ePub should arrive eventually in your ebook viewer. Check all the timing mistakes you made!

You can also make an interactive PDF, but alas I have not yet had time to do this. So, you can view Adobe CC’s 7 minute tutorial on how to make an Interactive PDF.

And if you want to do a whole host of interactive features with InDesign, then Lynda provide a 1hour 40 minute course for learning Fixed Layout ePub Interactivity (free trial but then subscription).

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