You favorite editing software! Fixed Layout, Fluid and interactive PDF

What is an ePub?

The ePub format is currently the standard format used for the publication of digital books : in fact, ePub is the abbreviation of “electronic publication” or “electronic publication”.

An ePub is a ZIP file that is divided into three sections that interact, forming what is a digital book . What are these 3 sections? Here they are:

Mimetype , which is essentially a text file that informs the operating system of how the ebook is formatted;

META-INF , is the folder that contains the XML file, the metadata of the book that is information such as title, author, and everything that can be useful for the research and identification of the book.

OEBPS , is the folder in which the contents of the ePub reside and therefore of the book . It consists of subfolders, each of which works to define and construct the contents of the book.

These subfolders include the one that contains only the images in the book.

What are the differences between ePub and PDF?

Both the ePub format and the PDF format have their pros and cons.

PDF is currently the most widely used electronic document format in the world , and you can create a PDF file with various software beyond Adobe. Microsoft Word is an example. This format keeps the design of our layout, as for printing.

Books in ePub format instead adapt to the device on which you are reading , the characters can be changed, shrunk or enlarged. It also has metadata. Obviously, the ePub is much nicer, and allows you to interact with the PDF you’ll never have.

But let’s go now, to understand the differences between fluid layout and fixed layout.

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Fluid layout

the fluid layout (liquid layout) is so called because the content of the book is adapted to the device , and therefore it is always changeable, as for a responsive website .

With this, therefore, you will have a thousand thousand layouts, one per device. You can not even foresee one because the layouts can not be created depending on the device that will receive them. Going deep into the question we can declare that the layout does not exist in the fluid layout. Just for words but we understood each other. I think.

If, on the other hand, you try to view a PDF book from a smartphone, the same thing happens that happens in a non-responsive site: continuous zoommation and premature blindness.

With the fluid layout not only will not need to make an appointment with the ophthalmologist but even you can also enlarge the characters, change the character completely or you can enter notes, bookmarks.

For this reason, one of the main rules in creating fluid layouts is the essentiality . Create complex layouts with videos, photos and anything else that can really affect the quality of reading.

The fluid layout reasons according to hierarchies or according to the elements it first meets in the layout. It is advisable to use this type of layout for fiction books, books with lots of text and a limited number of images.

Fixed Layout

The fixed layout, (fixed layout), differently from the fluid one (uh, but really?). It is advisable when, for example, our intention is to make a photo album.

The cage of the fixed layout, when it will go on the devices, will not change . Remaining fixed on each device must avoid incurring some problems planning carefully and a lot of awareness of an elaborate, often checking the type of character that must be clear and legible not only for the monitors but also for mobile devices for which we are carrying out the project .

So realization and deep verification for every device on which our file will be reproduced.

But here arises a question: why choose a fixed layout if with fluid we have less problems in viewing and interaction with the user? Simple: in addition to having, as we have already said, full control of the design we can add animations and interactive elements that, for example, are perfect on the iPad.

For the user to be able to interact gives greater satisfaction and in any case you have the possibility to reach different audiences in different circumstances.

The elements that liven up and make the experience more interesting and satisfying, especially for an audience that is not used to reading and must be amazed: think of books for the little ones or the fishing or sewing course.

We can not say that a fixed layout is better than a fluid one or vice versa: essentially everyone serves a specific purpose.

Dynamic and interactive elements in PDFs

As we have already said, with InDesign we can insert dynamic and interactive elements into PDF documents, such as links to external web pages, but it is also possible to integrate audio / video files.


The Bookmark

It is one of the most useful functions because it allows a quick navigation inside the file, especially when the number is high. To create a bookmark:

1- Click on the Window menu> Interactivity> Bookmarks ; at this point the panel related to the function will be available;

2- Click on bookmark to insert a new one;

3-To set the point at which to insert the Bookmark, click on the text with the “Text” cursor. Alternatively, select all the text you are interested in.

REMEMBER that this will also become the bookmark label by default.

4- Finally click on “Create new bookmark” in the Bookmarks panel.


Movies or sound clips

1- Click on the File> Insert menu and select the document;

2- to set the position of the audio or video file, simply click on the point in the PDF where the clip should appear.

With this option it is also possible to change the dimensions that this file will occupy on the page: the file frame is adaptable. We must do, but be very careful not to extend the frame too far out of the page margins.

The software provides a function that allows you to preview the document with the changes: just go to Window> Interactivity> Media. Here you can also change document properties based on actual needs.


Hyperlinks in the PDF

To do this you must:

1- select the text or item;

2- right click and choose the Hyperlinks> New hyperlink;

3- Enter the address in the “URL” field and click OK.

4- As a last step, export the PDF as “Adobe PDF (interactive)”. At this point all the elements of the PDF document will be interactive.