Excerpted from Adobe Acrobat 5 Master Class
PDF as a Presentation Tool
Sandee Cohen and Pattie Belle Hastings
Using Acrobat to create interactive presentations allows you to use professional
layout and graphic applications for the design process. This session covers the process
from authoring application to Acrobat interactive enhancements for live or electronic
delivery techniques. Techniques will be demonstrated using both Acrobat 5 &
Acrobat 6 Professional.
Topics will include:
Advantages and disadvantages of using
Acrobat over other presentation
This presentation will cover
tools and techniques in both
Adobe Acrobat 5 & Acrobat 6
PDF Presentations
Presentation design including layout
grid, color, copy writing, typography
and visuals
Preflighting presentations - checklists
and back-up plans
Everything you wanted to know about
Acrobat full-sceen mode... appearance,
transitions, timing, pitfalls, etc.
I use Acrobat to make my presentations instead of Microsoft PowerPoint?”
Creating self-running PDF
to our graphic design background. We have, however, noticed countless ques-
Handling multiple documents in
full screen
Embedding page transitions and
controlling their timing
Using sound, movies, and the
comment tools for added oomph
InDesign/Acrobat integration for
creating PDF presentations
We can hear some of you asking, “Hey, with all those interactive buttons, can
It’s never occurred to us to use PowerPoint for presentations— most likely, due
tions and threads in pdf discussions about how to convert PowerPoint presentations into pdf documents. We also see a trend—graphic designers who
want to use their professional layout tools as the basis for creating dynamic
presentations. This is all possible using Acrobat and pdf.
Presented by Sandee Cohen & Pattie Belle Hastings
Adobe Acrobat 5 Master Class
10.1 Creating Dynamic Presentations
with Adobe Acrobat
With Acrobat’s full screen feature, any pdf can instantly become a presentation. Think about it.
You don’t have to do anything to the document other than go into full screen mode or specify that
the document opens in full screen mode. Presto—instant presentation. If the presenter knows the
keyboard commands for the hand, zoom, scroll, page forward, and page backward tools, this
instant presentation can appear seamless and very professional.
Before we go any further, let us state unequiv-
documents need to be converted to html files
ocally that we have nothing against Microsoft
before they can be viewed on the web, whereas
PowerPoint. PowerPoint is a terrific program
pdf files do not.
for salesmen and other non-designers to use
Acrobat is the perfect convergence of con-
to organize their thoughts and create internal
tent and media created from other applications,
slide presentations. Unfortunately, many peo-
such as Illustrator, Photoshop, Premiere, Final
ple feel that the same slides they present to their
Cut Pro, Flash, QuarkXPress, PageMaker, In-
colleagues are suitable to present to potential
Design, Microsoft Word, Excel, and even
clients and the general public. Would you use
PowerPoint. In other words, Acrobat plays
Microsoft Word to create an important annual
well with others.
report or brochure? Of course not. Yet that’s
It’s easy to re-purpose existing print con-
exactly what you do when you use Power-
tent into a quality presentation without limi-
Point for a public presentation.
tations on typography, layout, and color. For
There are many reasons to use Acrobat
instead of PowerPoint. For example, you can’t
quality typography in a pdf document. The
transparency features in Photoshop, Illustra-
on other people’s machines with the same
effects that you created. (Although there is a
You don’t have to worry about the viewer
tor, or InDesign also translate into pdf docuAcrobat’s value-added interactive features,
such as rollover buttons, links, movies, and
sound, are easy to learn and implement. If
having the same fonts as you. Although Power-
created with the proper settings, pdf file sizes
Point 2002 has the ability to embed the fonts
are usually much smaller than PowerPoint
used in the document, we’ve seen presentations
files. Of course, this doesn’t mean that any
in the past ruined by missing or substituted
pdf document automatically makes a good
fonts. pdf documents are inherently cross-plat-
presentation—but more on that later.
form and can easily be posted on websites and
viewed through web browsers. PowerPoint
The combination of
vector graphics and
sound effects make
the presentation look
like a Flash movie.
phy in Adobe InDesign, you get the same
PowerPoint. So your presentation may not play
distributed than the Acrobat Reader.)
Although simulated
here in print, the transitions from one page
to another create a
dramatic opening for
the presentation.
example, if you use the high-quality typogra-
rely on someone having the same version of
free PowerPoint player, it is much less widely
Glenn Page is the
principle director of
GPMC, a marketing
and sales consulting
firm. GPMC creates
interactive marketing
presentations for its
clients that can be
sent by e-mail or
downloaded from a
website. Using PDF as
the platform, these
iBrochures are excellent presentations that
go far beyond the typical slide show. These
are just a few frames
from the opening of
the company’s own
interactive sales piece.
Let’s say you’ve traveled across the country and the laptop you were going to use for a
Notice the effective
use of contrasting
Adobe Acrobat 5 Master Class
presentation has a problem. (This actually
Layout Grid
tion, we open one of these templates and
presentation room. However, that is rarely pos-
happened to Pattie Belle and Bjørn in Bergen,
Just as any print document is designed on a
bring in the content.
sible. Allow us to offer some gross generaliza-
Norway.) If you have posted your pdf presenta-
grid of some sort, your slide designs should
tion on the web, you can use anyone else’s
machine (Windows or Mac) to present the
incorporate a basic underlying grid for the
placement of text, images, media, logos, etc.
Just as you start with an underlying grid for
Our fail-safe recommendations are 36-
document. You can even download the Reader
software to the backup computer. (Pattie Belle
The goal is to present a clear, easy-to-read,
structure, you should also create a simple color
point or larger type for headings and titles, and
and memorable message. The layout should
palette before you begin creating your slides.
24-point type for body text. Pattie Belle often
and Bjørn recommend e-mailing the presen-
direct the audience to the key points, while at
Contrast and legibility are the key concerns
uses 14- to 18-point type for body text. She’s
tations to yourself before leaving the office, so
the same time present information in a visu-
when it comes to using color in presentations.
lucky—she speaks in front of various audiences
you have the option to download your pdf
ally interesting format.
All projectors are not created equal and color
several times a week, week in and week out. This
tions that should keep the back of the room
from getting out their binoculars.
variation from your monitor to the actual pro-
allows her to test her documents on a variety
speakers around the country and around the
for the presentation. Create master slides (mas-
jection scenario can be quite dramatic. In some
of projectors, and in a wide range of spaces.
world, we’ve experienced and seen quite a few
ter pages if you use QuarkXpress or InDesign)
instances, color variation can even destroy the
Don’t get crazy with your font selection.
problems while on the road. See the Planning
for the presentation using the same grid, fonts,
legibility of the presentation. The only way to
Create a style sheet for your font choices, sizes,
for the Worst-Case Scenario section, later in
colors, graphics, and object placement. To cre-
have absolute control over this is to provide
and colors. Pick two families that complement
this chapter.
ate continuity, rhythm, and flow, use different
the projector yourself —not always feasible.
each other, such as a serif and san-serif, and use
layout variations (but the same underlying
Play it safe and stick to a simple, high contrast
one for the headings and titles and one for the
grid) for slide variety.
color palette. This should improve as the base-
body text and captions. Italics and all-caps may
line for projector technology improves.
be harder to read than plain text, so use them
file from anywhere in the world.) As frequent
Though we do promote pdf for presentations, there are some disadvantages. pdf is a
final format. Even with the Touchup tools, you
Define the overall visual theme and style
Design a system of page layouts based on
will want to edit a presentation back in the
the use of your grid and the repeating elements
original authoring application. Acrobat is not
of the presentation. The unexpected changes
template-driven like PowerPoint. You can’t
in layout will help to keep audience attention
just grab style #42 and throw in the text.
(Fortunately, this also means that your pres-
during the presentation. Don’t get too elabo-
entation is less likely to look the same as the
of your information with too much visual
fellow who just preceded you onstage.)
competition. Don’t be afraid of white space.
Acrobat doesn’t have the single focus on
rate. You may end up destroying the reception
This is the term for the amount of slide (or
presentation that PowerPoint does. Acrobat
page) that is not covered by image and text.
doesn’t have as many slide show effects as
PowerPoint. (But then again, we think people
White space provides a visual pause, or rest,
have a tendency to over-use and misuse the
transitions and special effects in PowerPoint.)
for the viewer’s eyes.
The size of your slides should be in close
ratio with your screen for best results. Power-
Keep the number of words per slide and per
sentence to a minimum to get the message
across. Slides are meant to be visual aids for
sparingly. If you are using bullet points, try to
tighten the language to simple phrases rather
than long sentences. This helps the audience
focus on the key concepts of the presentation.
the audience, not a script for the presenter. Use
short sentences. Use numbered lists or bulleted
Visuals can enhance slides and increase audi-
lists. Use charts, graphs, and illustrations.
ence retention of key points. Use photographs,
On the other hand, it is possible to have
illustrations, charts, graphs, symbols, and icons
too little copy in the slide. A slide with just
to illustrate your content. Media elements, such
three bullet points that is projected for more
as movies, sound, and animation can also act
than ten minutes of discussion is great way to
as information enhancements. Rollover text
put your audience to sleep.
buttons and show/hide fields can be used to
enhance the visual aspects of the presentation.
Point creates slides that are 10x8 inches, but
Presentation Typography
we usually base our slide size on a standard
Design your presentation with the authoring
video size of 640x480 pixels. We round this
When it comes to slide typography, the num-
application of your choice. Pattie Belle and
figure off to 9x6 inches if we’re working in an
Bjørn mainly use QuarkXpress and Illustra-
application that does not support pixel meas-
tor, although they agree with Sandee that the
projected in front of an audience, you want to
urement. Create a bank of your own “slide
future will include InDesign. Here are a few
err on the larger size. How can you tell what
templates” for future use. We keep blank doc-
presentation design fundamentals to keep in
will be legible to an audience from looking at
A presentation can also be greatly enhanced
uments of these sizes with basic grid format-
mind during the pre-pdf process.
your monitor? Well, you can’t. In an ideal sce-
by hyperlinks, cross-document references, and
ting in all our favorite application formats. If
nario, you would be able to test your presen-
web links. The success of these techniques
we have to throw together a quick presenta-
tation using the actual projector setup in the
depends upon the presentation scenario, web
ber one concern is readability. Let’s start with
point size. If your presentation is going to be
For example, if your slide has a question that
you are discussing, the answer can be revealed
with rollover text.
Adobe Acrobat 5 Master Class
access, document library, dependent applica-
and layout for consistency. Electronic style sheets
tions, etc. This method is probably the easiest
can help avoid errors. Also, use the book feature
way to customize a presentation on the fly.
to coordinate styles and colors across multiple
Perhaps you realize that your audience
expects more details on a key subject. A few
Adobe Acrobat 5 Master Class
10.2 Full Screen Mode
documents. Proof for bad line breaks and stray
single words.
hyperlinks to the appropriate website can
instantly provide the added material. Instead
During PDF Creation
What’s the most important part of an Acrobat presentation? The opening. You don’t want the first
of creating a one-size-fits-all presentation,
Do the following during the process of distill-
thing that your audience sees to be you resizing a document window; moving the title bar up to the
build a library of interconnected pdf files
ing the document, or saving as a pdf file. Dou-
top of the screen; madly clicking to close palettes and tool bars; and then zooming in and out to
that can be customized on the fly to fit the
ble check the page-size specifications in the
the correct magnification. This is the electronic equivalent of watching the Three Stooges trying to
audience. Remember, in most presentation
Document Setup dialog boxes. Even if you are
get their act together.
settings, your audience does not know what
going to present the document on your own
you plan to present. They never need to know
machine, make sure all the fonts are embedded.
Full Screen mode, you’ll still need to set the full
you changed the content at the last moment.
You never know when you’ll have to work on
Back in Chapter 3, we looked at the Document
screen behavior. Choose Edit>Preferences>
someone else’s computer.
Open Options. These options control how the
General and then click the Full Screen category.
document appears when it is first opened. The
The Full Screen Preferences will appear.
“The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Gang
aft agley” (Robert Burns). “Be prepared!” (Boy
Scout motto). “Anything that can go wrong,
will go wrong.” (Murphy’s Law).
After PDF Creation
Set the following options in Acrobat. Specify
appropriate open and full screen options (covered in the next section). Test your page tran-
Obviously, things went wrong long before
sitions and timing. Test all sounds, movies, and
computers and electronic presentations. That’s
links. This is especially important if you have
why you need to consider every possible sce-
moved the files from one computer to another.
nario for what might go wrong and how you
Memorize the keyboard commands for all
can fix it. You wouldn’t believe the number of
navigation tools.
backup operating system and application disks
we take on the road for our speaking and training assignments. Here are the preflight checklists we use as we create pdf presentations.
Worst-Case Scenario Back-up Plan
Your file gets corrupted. Your hard disk fails.
Your computer is stolen. Take the following
steps and you’ll be able to work on anyone
Author Application Checklist
else’s computer. Burn a cross-platform cd and
Make sure you do the following while in your
pack it separately from your laptop. Upload
authoring application. Spell-check and proof-
your presentation to a website or e-mail the
read the document. Remember, Acrobat’s
pdf to yourself at an address you can access
Spelling command only works on comments
from any computer.
and forms, not the text from the authoring
application. But don’t rely on spell check for
everything. It can’t find errors if they are “reel”
words. Check the spelling of proper nouns,
names, and terms not included in the appli-
Open in Full Screen Mode in the Document
Open dialog box is an important setting for
The full screen navigation options are very
The Full Screen mode hides everything that
helpful if you want to create a self-running
isn’t part of the presentation. The document
kiosk-style presentation. These options control
opens with none of the following elements vis-
how you can move from one page to another.
ible: menus, tool bars, palettes, document
If you have memorized the shortcuts for the
window, computer desktop, icons, other appli-
navigation commands under the Document
cations, operating system controls. Further-
menu, or you use navigational elements con-
more, if the document window does not fit
tained within the document, you probably
exactly inside the computer screen, a back-
won’t need to set these options.
ground color will appear around the document.
Advance every [number] seconds sets the
In the Full Screen mode, no one ever needs to
presentation to run automatically with a spe-
know you are working in Acrobat. After you
cific time interval between each page. Even if
choose Open in Full Screen Mode, the docu-
this setting is turned on, you can still use man-
ment doesn’t automatically change into the
ual clicks and keyboard shortcuts to override
Full Screen mode. You have to close the docu-
it and move through the document.
ment and then open it to see the Full Screen
Advance On Any Click allows you to move
setting, or you can choose View>Full Screen.
through the presentation by pressing the mouse
You can’t count on the fact that someone
button. This is very useful for kiosk displays in
will stay in the Full Screen mode. Anyone who
which you don’t want the user to use the key-
knows the keyboard command for View>Full
Screen (Ctrl-L for Windows or Command-L
board to close the document or quit the pro-
for Macintosh) can switch to the normal view.
cation’s dictionary. Check the links for placed
Loop After Last Page turns the presentation
into a never-ending document. Unless you want
images, charts, graphs, and illustrations. Check
to mesmerize a seated audience, this option is
colors, typefaces, capitalization, punctuation,
Once you have set a document to open in the
better left for kiosk displays.
Adobe Acrobat 5 Master Class
Escape Key Exits designates the Escape key
Choose File >Document Properties >
Open Options to set
the Window Options
to Open In Full
Screen Mode. Use
the Full Screen Preferences to set the
behavior for the full
screen mode.
The setting for No Transition and Replace
view. The Escape key function used to stop a
may appear identical, but there is a difference.
movie supercedes this command, so if a movie
No Transition lets one page replace another
is running you’ll have to hit the Escape key
without any control over the visual display.
twice to exit Full Screen.
This may cause some page elements to flicker
When you set a document to run in the
or redraw poorly. If that happens, choose the
full screen mode, you may frighten inexperi-
Replace transition, which forces a better page
enced users who may think your presentation
has taken over their computer. They may not
The five basic transition appearances
(from left to right):
Blinds, Box, Dissolve,
Split, and Wipe.
uses an assortment of the listed transitions.
to exit from the Full Screen mode to the normal
The options in the Mouse Cursor menu
know that they can press the Escape key; close
let you set what should happen to the mouse
the file; or quit Acrobat to get back to their
cursor. Always Visible keeps the mouse cursor
computer. For those users, you might consider
visible throughout the presentation. Use this
creating a button that executes the menu item
setting especially if you want your user to click
View>Full Screen. Give the button a name such
buttons or other onscreen elements. Hidden
as “Back to the Computer Screen” to let users
After Delay hides the mouse cursor a few sec-
know that they can escape from the full screen.
onds after the Full Screen mode begins. However, if the user clicks or moves the mouse, the
cursor reappears. This is an excellent choice to
These options offer refinements relating to how
keep the screen uncluttered without immobi-
the Full Screen mode should be displayed. It is
lizing the user from using the mouse. Always
important to remember that all of these options
Hidden hides the mouse cursor immediately
are not contained within your document. This
after moving into the Full Screen mode. It
means that you cannot rely on the same settings
does not reappear even if the mouse is clicked
when your presentation is shown on another
or moved.
Transitions are the graphic devices that
Choose File>Document Options >Open
Options. Set the Window Options to Open
in Full Screen. Save
the changes.
If the pdf document does not completely
fill the screen, you’ll need some sort of fill
replace one page with another. Acrobat offers
around the document. The Background Color
19 transition choices in the Default Transition
option lets you choose the color for that fill.
menu. These choices can be grouped into five
The default setting is black which means that
categories: Blinds, Box, Dissolve/Glitter, Split,
most people will have a black color surround-
and Wipe. The option for Random Transition
ing their document. Sandee routinely changes
her background color to match one of the high-
Adobe Acrobat 5 Master Class
To test the settings, close the document
light colors in her presentations such as the red
and then reopen it. Watch the document run
in the text.
at least twice to make sure the advance, loop,
10.3 Embedding Page Transitions
and full screen settings work correctly.
The following steps can be used to set a document to automatically advance from one page
to another with a transition.
Sandee discovered this technique recently when
she had to quickly present 30 different pdf doc-
The major limitation associated with using page transitions is that they are controlled by the pref-
Set the Open Options
uments as a single presentation. The Full Screen
erences on each user’s machine. Fortunately, there are several ways to embed the instructions for
Choose File>Document Properties>Open
mode can also be used to string separate single-
page transitions within the document. This makes it possible to create sophisticated page transi-
Options. Choose Open in Full Screen from the
page documents into what looks like one pres-
tions that play anywhere, without relying on the user’s preference settings.
Window Options. Set the Magnification to Fit
entation. Open all the documents in Acrobat.
in Window to see the entire presentation. Set
Set the the Full Screen Appearance as desired.
we’ll explain it all after you’ve followed the
the Page Layout to Single Page to see one page
Switch to the Full Screen mode. The first doc-
Back in the days of Acrobat 3, the Acrobat cd
steps and seen it work.
at a time. Click ok and then save the changes
ument appears. Use the keyboard shortcut
contained a folder of transition eps files. You
to the file.
to close the document. The next document
imported an eps into the page layout. When
appears in the Full Screen mode with the
the document was distilled, the transition was
Choose Tools>JavaScript>Console. The Java-
transition you selected. Close each document
embedded as part of the page. These transitions
Script Console dialog box appears. Don’t worry
to continue through the presentation.
overruled the preference settings and allowed
about any text that may be in the console area.
different transitions for each page. If you have
The main concern should be the new text
you enter.
Set the Document to Repeat
Choose Edit>Preferences>General. Then click
the Full Screen category. The Full Screen Pref-
Transitions set in the Preferences are differ-
erences appear. To create a self-running docu-
ent on each machine. You also can’t set different
access to an Acrobat 3 cd, you can still use
ment, choose Advance Every [number] seconds.
transitions for each page in the Preferences. The
those files.
Set the time to reflect the length of time you
next section shows how to create transitions
Type the JavaScript
Click inside the white area of the console, and
the page. To create a document that runs con-
tinuously, choose Loop After Last Page.
These days there are easier ways to embed page
lowing code as one line, exactly as written.
(Watch for the spaces after the colons and
transitions. The JavaScript Console lets you
type in commands (calls) that control page
feel it would take a moderate reader to read
that can play anywhere.
Set the Transition
In the Full Screen Preferences, choose one of
transitions. Using the JavaScript
console, you can set different
the transitions in the Default Transition menu.
The JavaScript from this section is included on the Acrobat
Master Class cd. You can
copy and paste it from our
text file into the JavaScript
Close the preferences.
Set the Advance
Every [number] settings for the amount
of time you’d like
between the pages.
Open the JavaScript Console
Set the Default Transition for the document.
Close the document
and then reopen it to
test the settings.
make sure you’re on a new line. Enter the fol-
this.setPageTransitions({nStart: 0,
aTrans: [-1, "BoxIn", 1], nEnd: 1});
transitions for the various pages.
Press the enter key on the numeric key pad to
You can also set the length of
send the code from the console into the docu-
time each transition runs. More
ment. If you’ve entered the text correctly, you
importantly, these transitions
will see the word “undefined” appear in the
work in the normal and full
console text area. If you’re on a keyboard that
screen modes. This method of embedding
doesn’t have a numeric keypad, hold the Alt
transitions also works when the document is
key (w) or Control key (m) when you press
viewed in Reader 4.
Enter (Return) to execute the script.
Is this easy? We asked the most code-phobic
member of our team (Sandee) to try it. Here
are the steps she took to add the Box In tran-
Save the file, close the document, and then
Save and Test
sition for the first two pages of a document.
reopen it. Use any of the navigation controls
Don’t try to understand the code, right now;
to move between pages. The first two pages
Adobe Acrobat 5 Master Class
this.setPageTransitions({nStart: 0,
will appear with the Box In transition. The
aTrans: [-1, "BoxIn", 1], nEnd: 1});
other pages will appear with whatever transiPDFMARK
If you still have your
CD from Acrobat 3,
look for the Trans
(W) or Transitions
(M) folder in the
Utility folder. Place
the EPS files onto
the page in the
authoring application. Then distill the
file. The transitions
are embedded in the
file. This is how the
code looks in a text
editor, such as
tion has been set in the Full Screen Prefer-
This is the name of the transition as it appears
ences. If you want to modify your embedded
in the preferences. Type the name of all tran-
page transition, you must enter the new call
sitions without any spaces.
this.setPageTransitions({nStart: 0,
in the console and then press the Enter key to
aTrans: [-1, "BoxIn", 1], nEnd: 1});
send it to the document.
This number sets the duration of the transition.
The 1 here stands for one second.
this.setPageTransitions({nStart: 0,
Here’s a breakdown of the JavaScript code in
the previous exercise.
this.setPageTransitions({nStart: 0,
aTrans: [-1, "BoxIn", 1], nEnd: 1});
This phrase says the script is to set the page
This is quite an easy
method, even if you
are not familiar with
JavaScript. Go to
Console and type
the script into the
console. Hit Enter
on your numeric
keypad and the
word “undefined”
want the transition applied to. If you want only
one page to have the transition, you can delete
this part of the code.
will appear. You can
test your results by
moving from page
to page. You must
save the document
for the transitions to
be permanent.
this.setPageTransitions({nStart: 0,
Applying a Transition to All the Pages
aTrans: [-1, "BoxIn", 1], nEnd: 1});
nStart specifies the page of the document for
If you want to apply a transition to all the
pages in a document, use this code. (Here, we
the transition. Acrobat starts numbering
changed the transition to Dissolve.)
pages with 0.
this.setPageTransitions({nStart: 0,
[-1, "Dissolve", 1]});
aTrans: [-1, "BoxIn", 1], nEnd: 1});
These products provide an interface for
setting page transitions. They can all be
purchased from the
Planet PDF ePublish
store at www.epublishstore.com.
aTrans: [-1, "BoxIn", 1], nEnd: 1});
The nEnd number stands for the last page you
Actino Software’s Presentation Tool (W),
$75, lets you set the
duration and page
advance, in addition
to the transition.
Kas Thomas’ TransitionAny (W) $50, does
page transitions only.
ARTS PDF Tools (W/M)
$149, does page transitions and a whole
lot more.
aTrans sets the definition array for the transi-
Deleting the Embedded Code
What if you want to get back to a normal doc-
this.setPageTransitions({nStart: 0,
ument without embedded transitions? You’ll
aTrans: [-1, "BoxIn", 1], nEnd: 1});
The information in the square brackets is an
have to send a command to delete the embedded transitions. (Clearing the JavaScript Con-
array, and sets the definition of the transition.
sole won’t work.) Here’s the code to delete the
The first number controls how long (in sec-
transitions from the first two pages.
onds) the page is displayed. The value of -1
this.setPageTransitions({nStart: 0,
turns off automatic page advancing.
nEnd: 1});
Choose Tools >
JavaScript >Console.
The JavaScript Console dialog box will
Type the text for the
code and then press
the Enter key on the
keypad. The word
“undefined” appears.
Save the document
and test the transition in the Full
Screen mode.
Adobe Acrobat 5 Master Class
10.4 Transition Magic
When we first saw Glenn Page’s pdf presentations we were blown away! They were unique—
they looked more like Flash movies than Acrobat files. When we found out how he created them,
we were even more amazed. The first thing you’ll notice when you view his documents is that
they seem to be self-running presentations. Then, they stop and let the user interact with the elements. Certainly, that can’t be possible—but there it is. Here’s a little background on Maestro
Page, and some of the secrets behind the curtain.
Glenn Page calls himself a corporate consult-
impressed with Acrobat’s ability to transform
ant, but that hardly does justice to his talents
print-based documents into multimedia expe-
as a designer, copywriter, salesman, voice-over
riences. He also realized that interactive, pdf
brochures (Glenn calls them iBrochures) are
announcer, and pdf-magician.
much more than ordinary slide presentations.
Glenn is the principle director of gpmCommunications, a corporate sales and marketing firm.
Several years back, Glenn felt he had reached
a creative dead-end with print documents and
They give the viewer a range of options for
navigating through the document. The more
time a viewer spends playing with one of
Glenn’s iBrochures, the more likely they are to
call or e-mail for more information.
decided to make the move to digital marketing.
He had been working in QuarkXPress and
Glenn uses his own small studio with profes-
InDesign and was looking at the possibilities
sional audio equipment and software. This is
of multimedia and interactive presentations
very important, as he makes ample use of
using Macromedia Director. Then
one of his client requested a pdf
Samples of Glenn Page’s pdf
presentations can be found on
the Acrobat Master Class cd.
You can find more information about Glenn’s work at
proof of a project.
While researching the features of Acrobat, Glenn came
across information on interactive
pdf files in Ted Padova’s pdf
Bible. His interest was piqued. Unlike Director,
Acrobat and pdf allowed him to use his famil-
sounds and voice-over narration.
His Acrobat files start in InDesign with a
page size of approximately 9x6 inches. This
allows them to fit neatly into most computer
screens, with just a little background color.
The iBrochure presentations are designed
to be downloaded from a company’s website
or sent as an e-mail attachment. The animation
for the iBrochures comes not from movie
iar print software and still create animated,
objects, but through the clever use of page
interactive projects. He also had much better
transitions. This helps keep the size of the
control of text. Acrobat was the multimedia
iBrochure to a minimum.
application he had been looking for.
Glenn’s first project was an interactive
portfolio for himself. He was immediately
For the page transitions, Glenn used bbedit to open the eps files from the Acrobat 3
cd. He then changed the timing of the transi-
GPMC iBrochures are
designed with all the
care of print documents. This type of
control is not possible
with other presentation applications.
Adobe Acrobat 5 Master Class
tions—faster or slower —to suit his needs. The
visuals create a countdown effect: 05 04 03 02
and 02. It then stops on the page that contains
the viewer to control page navigation. To do
timing of these transitions is actually the most
01. On the fifth page, the presentation stops. A
the number 01.
critical aspect. The transitions can’t be too long
button lets the viewer move to the next page.
this, you’ll need to add a custom navigation
button. (Glenn Page’s presentations are much
or too short. Glenn spends a lot of time testing
On the last page, the viewer clicks a button
choose Document>Set Page Action. Click the
more complex than this simplistic example,
the transitions.
which exits the full screen mode.
Page Open event and click the Add button. In
but the principle is the same.)
Move to the first page (numbered 05) and
He then imports these eps files onto their
the Add an Action dialog box, set the Action
own layer on the appropriate pages in InDesign.
He can also put one transition on a master page
to apply it to all the pages in the document. He
Set the Page Transitions
On page five, (numbered 01), use the Form
Type to Execute Menu Item. Then click the Edit
tool to draw a button. Name the button, and
Our first step adds the code to the JavaScript
Menu Item button. Choose the Document>
set the action to Execute the menu item to go
Console. Choose Tools>JavaScript>Console.
Next Page menu command. Click ok and Set
then converted the InDesign documents to a
Click in the Console field and enter the follow-
Action to close the Add an Action dialog box.
to Document>Next Page.
On the last page, (labeled ab), use the Form
pdf document using Distiller. Although InDe-
ing code.
Move to the next page (numbered 04) and
tool to draw a button. Name the button and set
sign has an Export as pdf feature, that feature
repeat this step. Then move to the next page
the action to execute the menu item View>Full
does not recognize the eps transition files.
[-1, "WipeRight", 1]});
and repeat the step. Continue until you get to
Screen. If the document is in Full Screen, the
This code set applies the Wipe Right transition
the fifth page, (numbered 01). Then stop. Don’t
command exits the mode.
to all the pages with a one-second transition
apply a page action to that page. That’s where
time. We set the timing for all the pages so we
we want the presentation to pause for the
could control the appearance for the entire
viewer’s input.
As a last step, choose File>Document Proper-
Glenn uses the eps page transition files from
the Acrobat 3 cd. However, you can achieve
the same effect by embedding page transitions
When you set Page Actions to advance from
Don’t set the timing too fast. At first we
Set the Open Options
ties>Open Options. Set the Window Options
one page to another, you may find it difficult to
to Open in Full Screen. Set the Magnification to
using the JavaScript Console. The following
tried a tenth of a second and found that Acro-
the size that is appropriate for your document.
steps show how to use page transitions and
go back and edit the pages. As soon as you go
bat couldn’t combine the page transition with
We chose Fit in Window. We also chose the
page actions to create a custom
to the page, the Page Action takes you to the
the page actions at that speed. The presentation
Page Layout as Single Page. This forces us to
self-running presentation. The
next page. Set the View to Continuous-Facing.
just jumped to page five without any transitions
remember to reset the document from Con-
benefit of using the embedded
This stops the Page Actions, so you can edit
at all.
pages. You may have to increase the magnifi-
tinuous-Facing to Single Page.
Look on the cd for before
and after versions of the
Autorun document featured
in these steps. You can open
the after version to see the
finished effect. Then open
the before version to follow
along with the steps.
transitions is that they override
Don’t forget to save your work. The code
cation so the odd-numbered pages touch the
Save your work and close the document.
any transitions set on the user’s
isn’t embedded in the document until it is
Reopen the file and test all the transitions
left-side of the document window. That’s how
Acrobat recognizes that you’re working on a
and buttons.
The presentation opens in
the Full Screen mode. When the
specific page.
Set the Page Actions
Now you’ll need to set the page actions for the
pages are automatically displayed with custom
first four pages. This moves the presentation
transitions that wipe from left to right. The
automatically through the numbers 05, 04, 03,
At this point, we want the presentation to stop
document opens, the first five
Create the Buttons
moving from page to page, in order to allow
Choose Tools>JavaScript >Console. The
JavaScript Console dialog box will appear.
Type the code in the
Console and press the
Enter key.
On page five, use the
Form tool to create a
button with the Document>Next Page
Move to the first page
and choose Document>Set Page
Action. Choose Page
Open and click the
Add button. For
Action Type, choose
Execute Menu Item
and then choose Document >Next Page.
Repeat for pages two,
three, and four.
On the last page, use
the Form tool to create a button with the
View>Full Screen
Choose File>Document
Options. Set the Window Options to Open
in Full Screen. Set the
Magnification as
desired. Set the Page
Layout to Single Page.
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