Animation in InDesign

Category: InDesign Tutorials 2,670 0

This InDesign tutorial goes into one of the most interesting aspects of InDesign: the animation abilities. Not many people think of Adobe InDesign as the go-to program for animation, and that’s because it really isn’t, but it is useful for small jobs within your InDesign work. If you really want to get into animating, Adobe Flash is clearly the way to go, but this InDesign tutorial can show you a bit about InDesign’s useful animation capabilities on a smaller scale.

Guide to InDesign Animation

When you think of InDesign, you probably don’t think of animations. Most InDesign work has been static and non-moving, at least until CS5 came out. Now users have the option of creating interactive documents with sounds and moving text and graphics, just the thing that many projects need.

Motion presets are what do most of the animation in InDesign documents. To apply one to an object is extremely simple:

  • Select the object you want to move. Go to the Animation palette (found under Window > Interactive) and open it. Here you can choose one of the many presets and apply it to the object by a simple double click. A green path with appear, and this shows the path the animation will take.

1 - Animation in InDesign

2 - Animation in InDesign

  • If you want to edit the movement path, you can do this with the direct selection tool or the pen tool.
  • To see the effect as it will appear when the document is finished, use the Preview panel.
  • Perhaps you want to animate multiple objects. If you do, and you have a great many on the page, it becomes important to consider the timing and ordering of each object and it’s animation. This is what the Timing palette is for, and here you can edit and order all your animations to be just how you want them. Once they’re all ordered and timed, you can see the total effect in the Preview palette.

3 - Animation in InDesign


  • You can draw a path with the pen tool, and later convert it to a motion path just by using the Animation palette. Select both the path and the object, then click the Convert to Motion button.

4 - Animation in InDesign

  • Reverse the direction the animation goes along the path by going to the Object Menu, then Paths > Reverse.
  • If you want to add new presets, delete old ones, or manage the presets in any way, you can do this through the Manage Presets dialog box. Presets can be loaded to and from InDesign and Flash.

InDesign has many capabilities that most people don’t fully realize, and it’s InDesign tutorials like these that help to show people just what features they may be missing out on. If you’ve been searching for a way to create quick, simple animations in your InDesign documents without having to import or link from other programs, then hopefully I’ve given you all the information that you need.

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