Scrollable frames in Digital Publishing Suite is one of my favorite features. In addition to being able to stuff two pounds of potatoes into a one pound sack, it adds to the interactivity giving the user a more engaging experience. Of course like everything else in InDesign and DPS, they’re not without their limitations. I’ve put together a list of quick tips to help you use them successfully.
- Add a text frame inset on the bottom and top of any autofit frame to avoid having descenders and ascenders cut off. I’ve found 5-8 pixel is usually enough.
- Set the pasteboard height in your InDesign preferences large enough to handle the content. If you have anchored objects in the scrollable content that goes beyond the pasteboard limit, their position in the frame will be moved to keep them on the pasteboard. Changing the pasteboard size after the fact, won’t fix that. Additionally, autofit text frames will not autofit beyond the limit of the pasteboard. Again, changing the pasteboard after the fact won’t correct this.
- Before pasting your content into a scrollable frame, group it with a no fill/no stroke rectangle. This will allow you to add additional objects to the the group by dragging them in via the layers panel. For instance, if you only paste a text frame into a scrollable frame and later wish to add a button or picture, you’ll have to start from scratch. If you have a group it’s a snap to position the object properly and drag it in.
- Take advantage of the story editor. There’s usually no need to expand the scrollable frame to make edits with this often overlooked feature of InDesign.
- The entire scrollable frame is live at all times. Be careful if you use pull out scrollable content from the side of your article if the reader is going to be swiping horizontally to another article. The same holds for pull out content from the top or bottom with a multi page article that will swipe vertically. Consider using a multi state object (MSO) instead.
- Be aware of the drawback in pasting buttons into a scrollable frame. Under some circumstances button actions could be lost.
- Know the limitations of embedding interactivity. You can have a scrollable frame inside another scrollable frame, but if you try to put that into a state of an MSO the second scrollable frame will be disabled.
As I said initially, this post is not intended to be a deep dive into any one feature but just a few quick tips based on questions I see on a pretty frequent basis. Is there something I haven’t covered? Do you have a favorite tip you’d like to share? Please add it in the comments section.
Thanks Bob, excellent tips.
Thank you! Glad to know you liked them.
Technique that I use: keep your content source on the pasteboard and use the Paste & Link command to create a linked frame to put into the scrolling frame. Now you have a link from the original on the pasteboard that’s easy to edit. The source and linked frames can have different geometry — the source is easy to edit and the linked frame’s geometry is presented in the scrolling frame. Great combo!
Great tip, Colin! Thanks.