Adobe Indesign makes it possible to add interactivity to your PDF documents through the addition of hyperlinks. This straight-forward process is the last stage when creating interactive documents in Indesign. Such a document is created in the same way that a regular print document or PDF is created in Indesign. The hyperlink could be added as part of a header or footer. For example, to create a link to your company's website create first a text box with the Type tool, as follows. Choose the Type tool and click and drag to create a text box, whereupon the cursor will flash at the start of the text box. Type in your company's website address - this can include the www or not, as you wish.
Next we highlight the text and go to the top Window drop-down menu to choose Interactive and Hyperlinks. A panel will open which can be docked along with the other panels on the right-hand side of the Indesign interface. The panel will be easier accessed in future. Next open the panel options fly-out button on the top right of the panel to select New Hyperlink from URL, if you have typed the whole URL including the www. If not, that's ok - simply choose the New Hyperlink option, then type in the URL. This creates a new hyperlink in the panel. You may later double-click on it to check that the URL details are correct.
In earlier versions of Indesign make sure that in the dialog box's section named Appearance you choose Type and change this to Invisible Rectangle. Otherwise the link will show an ugly black rectangle around it. In versions after CS5 this step is not necessary. But in the CC version an equally ugly Hyperlink Style has been added by default - this will make the text blue in colour with an ugly blue underline. Whilst this may be useful in legal documents, it is not particularly aesthetically pleasing, and you may wish to replace this with your own style. To do this first close the Hyperlinks dialog box, and open the Character Styles panel from the Window drop-down menu and choose Styles. Format some text, perhaps just a bold style will suffice, and save this as a Character Style. Reopen the Hyperlinks dialog box and see the new style in the drop-down list.
Note that various types of hyperlinks are possible: we can link to websites, or to other pages in a document. We could also link to chapter headings in a long document, or even email addresses. In addition a hyperlink may be added to an image instead of to text.
The hyperlink only becomes active when we convert the document to a PDF format via the File drop-down menu and select Export. The Type is Adobe PDF (Interactive). In the Buttons & Media section make sure to check Include all, then hit OK twice. Our hyperlinks will become active links when the document opens in either Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader.
A useful feature of the automatically-generated Table of Contents is that the items in the TOC automatically become converted to active hyperlinks in the resulting PDF document.
Tom Gillan has been training Indesign to corporate clients in Sydney for seven years. You can learn more about Indesign at Design Workshop Sydney.