I am using Adobe InDesign to create slides for an oral presentation at a conference (as a substitute for Microsoft PowerPoint). The end product that I want is a pdf file with my slides.

I am not able to (easily and elegantly) introduce basic animations such as object or text appearing or disappearing "on click" to build up a slide when I talk (basic function of Microsoft PowerPoint).

My current hack is to create several spreads for the same slide and to modify each spread so that object/text appears/disappears in the correct order. However, this is not a very elegant solution and this might cause issues if I want to add slide number.

Any advice on how to export a pdf with each stage of build would be greatly appreciated.

  • 1
    Hi Marca85, welcome to GD.SE! What kind of advice are you asking for? If you need "animations" in a PDF then have the pages in sequential order, like how a gif works. Is there a reason you need to present with a PDF instead of a presentation type file?
    – AndrewH
    Feb 28, 2017 at 20:00
  • Hi AndrewH. Thank you for your answer. I am not familiar with "presentation type file". What do you have in mind? The main reason for wanting a pdf is for the portability (for example to play them of another computer) and the convenience of sharing my presentation with others. Finally, I find the trick to "duplicate" spreads and change the content to create sequential spreads annoying when I want to add page number. Indeed, in this case, different stages of builds of the same slide will get a different page number... Any idea how to fix that?
    – Marca85
    Feb 28, 2017 at 20:14
  • 1
    You could view the PowerPoint presentation using the PowerPoint Viewer app. You could then save the presentation as a PDF if needed. You can present online if you have a Microsoft 365 account or upload your presentation to SlideShare. Or you could do an animation using Google Slides.
    – AndrewH
    Feb 28, 2017 at 20:34
  • If you did this in a page layout program like InDesign you will probably have to insert the page number manually. Are animations essential to the presentation if you're not able to use a PowerPoint type file for viewing?
    – AndrewH
    Feb 28, 2017 at 20:38
  • I thought that you were referring to some "fancy" presentation formats within InDesign that I didn't know about. I would like to use InDesign versus PowerPoint or Google Slide for the precision that Adobe InDesign offers. In particular, I like the grid that is very helpful to place and align objects and text boxes.
    – Marca85
    Feb 28, 2017 at 21:42

2 Answers 2


You can't set up animation effects in a pdf. Only basic interactive features are available such as page transitions or buttons...
You might consider exporting as swf, which would allow all kind of fancy animations.
See https://helpx.adobe.com/indesign/using/animation.html and https://helpx.adobe.com/indesign/using/interactive-web-documents-flash.html for complete documentation.


Assuming that you want use InD due its type and layout properties that you master and simply have got tired to fight with Microsoft's insubordinate stuff.

There's no need to input the whole PDF content from InD or other single source. In Acrobat you can insert multimedia parts to the wanted PDF pages. That multimedia can for example be a SWF file which is originally a PPT with animation effects. There exists PPT add-on software that save the presentation + all effects as SWF. One supplier for such software is iSpring. They have an attractive freebie that at least in my tests has produced a working SWF from my few page PPT with animations. Unfortunately I have not tested, does it also play well in PDF.

You can also embed into the PDF some sreen recording videos that are captured from running PPT presentation.

A big conference may not be the best place for free versions of commercial software. The supplier of the software surely reserves in the small print the right to show some commercials without asking.

You can use Open Office Impress. It's free and can be run as portable - no installation needed. Import your layouts from InD and use Impress to insert effected parts.

Impress can output the presentation as flash video without 3rd party add-ons.

Powerpoint can export for Impress and Impress can export for PPT.

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