A Step-by-step guide to create an Interactive eBook

Interactive eBooksA few months back, I had created an interactive eBook for iPad using different tools like Adobe InDesign, Adobe Edge Animate, Adobe Presenter, Adobe Captivate, Adobe Photoshop, and Digital Publishing Suite, and wish I could add a few more tools to this list… LOL

To be true, I had no experience whatsoever to create InDesign documents, Edge animations, and DPS folios when I started working on the eBook, but the videos available on Adobe TV and tutorials offered on Lynda.com came to rescue and really helped me complete my task. Now it’s my turn to give back and share my learnings with all of you 🙂

So here’s a step-by-step guide to create an interactive eBook. I’ve divided this guide in six steps to make it convenient for you to jump to the step you want to learn about.

Step 1: Setting up the InDesign document

The first step to create an eBook is to create the artwork that you will be using for background design, animations, interactions, etc. and set up the InDesign document. You need to add the tentative number of pages in your eBook and create Master layouts with common imagery for the eBook. Let’s look at this short demonstration on how to set up your InDesign file:

Step 2: Adding static content and placeholders

It’s always beneficial to finish the simple tasks first and then tackling the complex ones. So, get going with adding static images, text, and placeholders for animations, interactions, simulations, and videos. Here’s a short demonstration on how to do so:

Step 3: Adding animations

When you are creating an eBook for iPad, you have to make sure the animations are in HTML5 format. For creating such animations, you can use Adobe Edge Animate and publish an OAM file, which can further be embedded in the InDesign document. Let’s take a look at the procedure in this short demonstration:

Step 4: Adding simulations and interactions

Adobe Captivate 7 is a great tool to create simulations and interactive eLearning content. You can leverage this tool to make your eLearning truly interactive. Adobe Captivate 7 lets you publish your courses to HTML5 format, which can be embedded in the InDesign document as web content. Watch this short tutorial to follow along the procedure and learn about the best practices for creating interactions and simulations for eBooks:

Step 5: Adding videos

Videos can add life to your eBook. You can add demonstrations in the form of videos. Here’s a short tutorial on how to embed videos in an InDesign document:

Step 6: Creating and publishing an eBook folio

The final step to create an eBook is to build a DPS folio and preview/publish it on an iPad using Adobe Content Viewer. Watch this last video in the series to learn how to publish a folio using Folio Builder in InDesign:

Feeling inspired to create an interactive eBook? I would love to know your thoughts and ideas. Do leave a comment here to keep the conversation on…

Happy learning!

46 Responses

  1. Thank you for the informative explanation. Overall great presentation. However, a few places in the videos it was difficult to understand what was being said. It would make things clearer to have CC in addition to the audio.

  2. I see how you published it and was able to view it. How can someone else view it, and better yet how can someone else view it without the adobe viewer. An answer on the proper software or a tutorial would be great.

  3. Hi there, 4 questions. Firstly, would exporting your book as an ePub work as well? Secondly, are there any free alternatives to Adobe Captivate and Animate? Thirdly, can you import 3D models into InDesign? Lastly, is there a way to make books for multiple iPads and android tablets at once? Or do we have to redo the process depending on the book?

    Thank you so much. These tutorials were very helpful.

  4. Hi,

    I’m working on a InDesign document with size A4 and I want to place an animation on the frontpage and export the document as an e-pub. When I try to create an article I get this error message:”The page size aspect ratio must match the folio aspect ratio.”
    I’ve also tried to create a new document in InDesign in another size and place the animation here, same problem. What to do?

  5. Hi Dr. Pooja! I have one question, is there a way for me to upload my ebook to my personal webpage without using Adobe Content Viewer? Like a HTML for example. Thank you so much! These videos really helped me!

  6. so do I need any coding skills in addition to what you have shown in the videos? I have absolutely no knowledge of coding… will I be able to create an ebook without it? And just to clarify… the resulting ebook can be uploaded to itunes for approval to sell?

  7. I am representing a publishing company which I have already created the ebooks on an indesign and export it to an epub format.I want to get it animated,can I import indesign or epub format inside the adobe captivate for animation?

  8. Hi Pooja,

    The biggest question I have is what is the difference between publishing the ebook to DPS versus just exporting it to an epub file?

    Second, I created a print booklet using indesign, and now it needs to be converted to an interactive ebook. Do I need to recreate the booklet and adjust the set-up for Digital Publishing?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Lynn,

      The major differences between DPS versus exporting to epub is,
      with DPS you will get broad interactivity (more user engaging content), mp4
      video support, high fidelity output. DPS provides you interactivity and rich
      media display, eschewing flexibility in display for immersive and engaging
      design.Whereas EPUB provides you limited interactivity, very less support for
      video (depends on device), and the layout depends on the device. DPS provides you the output as an app that you can upload to iTunes Store or Google Play.
      Yes, a print booklet created in Indesign needs to be converted for Digital Publishing, with the use of Folio Overlays Panel in Indesign. You can create a more reader engaging content with the help of overlays such as hyperlink, slideshow, image sequence, audio, video, panorama, web content, Pan & Zoom, scroll-able frame.

  9. Hi, i have written a book on current affairs of the world, and now wish to publish as ebook. just need to know what will be the best way to publish ebook which have lot of images and graphics. how file should be prepared to publish on iPad and Amazon Kindle? looking for some ideas to work on it.

  10. Hi Pooja thank you so much for your e-book guide. Very useful, interesting and inspiring : ). Is there any possibility to insert also learning objects? I was just wondering because I am collecting some ideas for an e-book

      • Hi Pooja, thanks a lot for the prompt reply ; )
        Actually I was planning to create an interactive course of Italian for Japanese people (and if the thing goes well… I really hope so…. others will follow like… Italian for French people…for Spanish) and my idea was not to present my course through a “standard”e-learning platform to practice grammar and learn the roles. I would like to
        present some situations of real life in Italy and explain how to use the
        language within that situation….. a possible learning object for example could be…I don’t know… a slide presenting a situation “at university” and introducing some people: a Japanese student and a professor plus a short text writing: how to greet your professor in the morning? – choose the best answer….And, at this point 3 option buttons would show up…. and one of them is the correct answer. I found some websites where you can register and create your own learning objects but I am not sure if you can save them in a format that in-design supports

  11. Hi i have an ask for you. Are you sure that it’s possible to create an interactive pdf and publish it on Ipad?? Some experts say to me that it’s necessary use an app. Are they joking with me??. Thank you so much.

  12. Dear Dr. Pooja, Thanks for the videos above. i have few queries regarding an eLearning course i’m working. I need to simulate filling up of forms which contain text & alpha numeric characters. These forms are available on a live website that end user fills up. We record information like name of person, residence, use drop down eto select certain preferences etc. While creating an eLearning course for my users, i want to provide them an experience by which they should be able to practice filling up this form on a module that is created with captivate on a dummy screen, rather than visiting the live website. Can you guide me regarding the same or let me know a video or some other source where this has been shared. Thanks in advance for the help

  13. We are revising a massive, multi-chapter handbook for field
    professionals (in early childhood special education) to use either
    online or print out, and we would appreciate your suggestions for the
    best software in which to create the document.

    handbook is not particularly complicated: One volume of approximately
    250 pages will be narrative text with pages that enable users to make
    notes online. A second volume will be a collection of pdfs and other
    files for use as reference. Both volumes will contain live links to a
    variety of web-based resources (resource centers, regulations, etc.) and
    will ideally link to an interactive glossary of terms and acronyms. In
    the future, we may want to add video and/or audio clips to the first
    volume. An additional challenge is that the document be accessible to
    the visually impaired–that is, compliant with Section 508 of the
    Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requiring that federal agencies make their
    electronic and information technology accessible to people with

    The handbook sections will be
    posted for access and download on two websites. Some users will access
    and use the document on their mobile devices; others will print and keep
    it in binders as a desk reference and training resource.

    text originates in Microsoft Word, and we originally planned to format
    the handbook in InDesign, save it as a pdf, create writable pages in
    Acrobat and add them to the pdf. But as we considered versatility and
    users’ growing preference to access information on all of their
    electronic devices, we wondered if a different program would be more
    appropriate. We also use Captivate extensively for our online course
    modules and considered creating the handbook in ebook format.

    we on the right track, and do you have other, better suggestions? Thank you!

  14. I’d like to know if AE character animated content can be added to an eBook? Also, for the extreme novice, which software should be learned prior to using InDesign?

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