6 Replies Latest reply on Aug 28, 2011 1:20 PM by em2744

    inDesign to Flash, with intent to compile as an App

    em2744 Level 1

      I found the answers by creating and testing a very simple example in inDesign. It took a few hours to  figure out my answers so thought I would post here for others who may be beginners. If any more advanced person knows of issues to add or correct, it is much appreciated.


      This all applies to inDesign CS5 files exported as FLA files and opened in Flash CS5.5.


      My  goal was to create a simple but interactive magazines  in inDesign, and  bring them into Flash, to compile as an App as described in many of the  Adobe.tv videos.


      Here is what I found:


      1. The page transitions do not port to flash. You  have to code new page transitions, one for each frame, manually with  your own code, as the inDesign pages are each put on a separate page  when brought into Flash.


      2. Video and Sound is not ported into Flash in the FLA file. This is documented by Adobe. You have to re-add it once in Flash.


      3. Simple  animations made on the inDesign page, do port into Flash as separate  movie clips and play automatically, when the playhead goes to the frame,  where the movieclip lives.


      4. Page spreads from inDesign, are saved as Flash "movieclips" on each page frame, in Flash. They are named Spread_1,Spread_2, etc. You will see them play automatically, if you code the frames, using something like gottoAndStop(). I put my simple code for this below.


      It  seems that this would be good to let people know in inDesign, so they  do not spend a lot of time creatng effects, choosing page transitions, or working with video and  sound that they will lose if their goal is to port it to Flash and save as an Air app. All  the video's on the subject, (and I have watched them all), show inDesign  files porting into Flash, and then they just add some more animation in  Flash and compile and it all works. It is not that simple. You have to  basically build again all the page transitions. And the page curl does  not port.


      I thought other beginners with these goals,  might find this helpful. I was able to successfully compile the file for  an Air App, though  I found some differences in how it works, if  compiled for Air vs compiled for SWF. I have created another post,  asking about these issues.

      I found the answers by creating and testing a very simple example in inDesign.


      Here is the code I had to put on each frame, in flash, that held each page from inDesign. You have to change the name of the function, on each frame to be unique. Removing the listener is important or it can cause errors and make the app not respond to an event. This allowed me to click in each frame, anywhere to advance to the next page. There is not transition. I have to still program that into each frame.Hope this helps other beginners.


      --code placed on each frame, (which have become the pages from inDesign)---


      import flash.events.MouseEvent;




      stage.addEventListener(MouseEvent.CLICK, moveme);


      function moveme(e:MouseEvent):void{




              stage.removeEventListener(MouseEvent.CLICK, moveme);



        • 1. Re: inDesign to Flash, with intent to compile as an App
          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

          I don't work in Flash at all, but as far as I know there's no secret about page transitions being .SWF only.

          • 2. Re: inDesign to Flash, with intent to compile as an App
            Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            Thanks for the posting.


            While they're pretty terse, the InDesign Help files are pretty clear about whether things can be exported or not.


            For example:


            "Movies and sound clips you add to a document can be played when the document is exported to Adobe PDF or SWF, or when you export the document to XML and repurpose the tags." (Doesn't mention FLA files.)




            "Page transitions display a decorative effect such as a dissolve or wipe when you’re turning pages in a document that is exported to SWF or PDF format. You can apply different transitions to different pages, or you can apply a single transition to all the pages. Page transitions are especially useful when you create a slideshow in PDF or SWF format." (Doesn't mention FLA files.)




            "Animation effects let you make objects move in your exported SWF files. For example, you can apply a motion preset to an image that makes it appear to fly in from the left side of the screen while shrinking and spinning. Use the following tools and panels to animate documents." (Doesn't mention FLA files.)




            "When you export your InDesign document to FLA file format, you can open the file in Adobe Flash® CS5 Professional to edit the contents. Exporting to FLA in InDesign CS5 format replaces XFL export in InDesign CS4. Use the Flash authoring environment to edit or add video, audio, animation, and complex interactivity." (The last sentence says you should do those things in Flash Professional.)

            • 3. Re: inDesign to Flash, with intent to compile as an App
              John Hawkinson Level 5

              I don't really know anything about this (and I avoid Flash as much as possible;a lot fewer ads that way!), but is there a technical reason for this behavior? Or a market reason? Just curious...

              • 4. Re: inDesign to Flash, with intent to compile as an App
                Petteri_Paananen Level 4

                Why dont you use exported Swf as content in your AIR app? I have created many magazine type AIR apps that way. You just have to create simple loader in Flash, that loader loads your exported SWF to the stage. Then you simply compile the whole thing to AIR app... Takes few minutes and all the interactive features you have added in indesign work seamlessly...

                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: inDesign to Flash, with intent to compile as an App
                  em2744 Level 1

                  This is very helpful. I am new to Flash, and ActionScript, but have a background in JavaScript and other scripting languages. I saw the mention of loaders, when working with video files. Can you provide any links or more information about the steps to do this?


                  I have gotten pretty far with actionscript now, so that I see what is possible, and it is pretty powerful. But it will take more time to do  what I would want to do. So your solution sounds great.


                  Thanks very much,


                  • 6. Re: inDesign to Flash, with intent to compile as an App
                    em2744 Level 1


                    Thanks for the pointers. Yes, it does seem to be by what is omitted  in documentation is how one has to learn what is not possible. But when all the docuements and video say, create in inDesign and import to flash to "add" more behavior, that implies you can add more to your file, not that what you created will be dismantled. It seems it would be very helpful to outline in inDesign, what will happen when you load your file into Flash, so that as designers, you don't waste your time thinking the interface will behave in the wonderfiul way it does in inDesign. You are not just adding behaviors, you are rebuilding the file, and pretty much just using inDesign for layout, (which is great), and for simple animations that are not interactive. All interactivity you add in inDesign has to be re-created in Flash.

                    Please believe I am a great fan of Adobe, and their products. I think this added documentation would add to the strength of what CS offers.


                    Or, even better, if the FLA would have the capacity to import the transitions and interactivity from inDesign into Flash!