I am trying to export a .PDF from Adobe InDesign which contains some animated layers in it.

But when I export it as interactive .PDF, the animations are not playing in the .PDF File. It only shows a flat design of the animated .PDF without playing any animations.

When I export it as a .SWF file, the animations play. I need the animations to play when I export it as a .PDF from InDesign.

Is there any other way to create a animated .PDF...? Or please help me out to export a, animated .PDF from an InDesign file.

Here am attaching the dropbox link for the sample files. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/utjbtbgrcjc463e/AADIgUJAgm_NU8szuhromVpIa?dl=0

Thanks in advance.


3 Answers 3


PDF is traditionally not a standard format for animations. The best you can do is save it as an "interactive" PDF (or whatever Adobe is calling it) and embed flash movies inside the PDF.

And the way to do this is select the Adobe PDF (interactive) option from InDesign's Export options.

When you move the PDF, include the animation file and keep the path and file names intact. The animation file does not import into the PDF, it is "linked" to it.

  • 1
    But I just tested this now and apparently it doesn't work as advertised. So that would mean you'll just have to build your interactive PDF after the fact - by embedding your flash animations (SWF) inside the PDF.
    – bemdesign
    Dec 22, 2014 at 10:55
  • when i embed flash files inside PDF, it works fine only in Adobe readers or only in Adobe products. But its not running good in other PDF readers. so without embedding flash files is there any method...? Dec 22, 2014 at 14:27
  • 1
    Agreed with BemDesign, and furthermore by embedding Flash files in a PDF you completely lose the very advantages a PDF provides you with in the first place.
    – Raydot
    Dec 22, 2014 at 19:09
  • @KeithTucker - nope. If you want Flash animation in your PDF, these animations can only be viewed by Adobe's products. PDF is an open standard, while Flash (SWF) is not.
    – bemdesign
    Dec 23, 2014 at 13:11

There is a manual solution that can help with the SWF-PDF problem mentioned by bemfesign.

In order to get the SWFs to play in your PDF you have to export each individual page out as a single SWF and then place it back into InDesign.

You should place them on their own SWF layer. After the SWF’s are placed back in the layout you just have to turn the original design layers off and keep the SWF layer on. Now you can export your presentation to PDF and view the animations.

Exporting each page of a 20 page presentation can be really tedious, so you can use a script for it. One option would be Layout Zone script. The SWF Presenter script automatically exports each page to a swf and places them back into your layout on a new layer.

  • i came acrros the link which you have mentione as manual solution. The SWF Presenter Script is used for automating the SWF to play when the file is opened. Dec 22, 2014 at 15:10

InDesign creates Flash when saving "interactive PDF".

There are some possibilities to do animations within PDF, without Flash. It requires a little bit of (Acrobat) JavaScript programming, and it has to be done in Acrobat.

The methods used for the animations are setTimeOut() / clearTimeOut() and setInterval() / clearInterval() .

setInterval() executes a JavaScript function every specified interval. There are a few code samples in the Acrobat JavaScript documentation (which is part of the Acrobat SDK, downloadable from the Adobe website).

The Flash example could be easily emulated with Acrobat JavaScript.

However, in order to work, you still need a PDF viewer which is smart enough to deal with those Objects. There are a few beyond Adobe Acrobat/Reader on computers, but so far, I am not aware of any one running on tablets.

  • I checked it out, but can u post me a simple sample animated PDF with Javascript. Dec 23, 2014 at 6:46

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