For most designers, Adobe InDesign is the go-to tool for creating more complex documents with a lot of text formatting and advanced design elements. It is easy to understand why when you take a look at some of the benefits. InDesign produces high-quality content for both print and digital media. It saves time, speeding up the workflow with features like layouts, parent pages, and style groups. And with all the complex design and layout features available, the decision makes itself. 

But is it enough to have a highly qualitative InDesign file if it’s difficult to add interactivity to it, to share it, and impossible to track? There is a missing piece here that can solve these problems if we only know where to look for it. I am talking about flipbooks and the option to create an InDesign flipbook. For all the reasons mentioned above, Adobe InDesign is the perfect tool to start your interactive flipbook project. 

What is an InDesign flipbook?

An InDesign flipbook is a PDF document converted into an HTML5 publication. This format allows for interactions, tracking, and easy sharing regardless of the file’s size. With flipbooks, you get to enhance your InDesign creations from a flat document to a highly interactive asset.

Keep reading to discover what this process looks like, what InDesign settings to be aware of, and how to engage with your audience properly.

Different interactions to add to your InDesign flipbook

Before we talk about creating an InDesign document, you have to decide on what interactions you’ll include. Let’s go through the different interactive elements available. Based on this information, you’ll be able to design your InDesign publication strategically. Platforms like Flipsnack offer an online Design Studio packed with interactions. The best part is you can easily add any of them with a drag and drop. A couple of benefits of using interactions in your documents are prolonged engagement, increased sales, brand recognition, and so much more. 

The most obvious interaction of an InDesign flipbook is the flip-effect itself. That page-flip rendering in the digital format. It instantly transforms any static PDF (the former InDesign file) into an interactive reading experience. 

Flipsnack can automatically detect your existing PDF links. However, adding hyperlinks over any text from Flipsnack’s Design Studio is much easier. We recommend you add all the interactions at once, making sure you don’t leave anything out. Once a mouse hovers over that hyperlink, it will be highlighted, and the reader can click on it to access more information.

The go-to page button is another useful link option to include in your PDF to help readers navigate seamlessly through your document. Add them over your table of contents, and then users will be able to click that link, and it will jump over to that specific section. 

Indesign flipbooks with hyperLinks added

Insert videos to enhance the multimedia experience

It is widely known that videos made it to the top three most engaging elements you can add to publications. It captivates the readers more than any other interactive content due to how well the information can be presented in this format. You can use this interaction to present webinars, tutorials, customer testimonials, and even short ads that include top-notch storytelling.

Here is where we insert videos to create an even more dynamic experience for your readers. There are multiple ways in which to incorporate videos into a flipbook: 

  • A video button with these fields available: URL, size, and tooltip (or the message displayed when hovering)
  • A video widget: it displays the actual video in an embed, with fields like URL (the source can be YouTube, Vimeo, or your own URL) and the message you want to be displayed
  • An audio file: here is where you can upload your MP3 audio and change the message it displays.

Place any type of video interaction either in the space you left for it (more on this design tip later) or beside a paragraph. Use this immersive element to captivate readers into the story you’re telling. This principle applies regardless of the type of InDesign flipbook you’re looking to create.

Create engaging photo slideshows within the flipbook

Be it a digital magazine, a product catalog, or an internal newsletter, a photo slideshow is a great addition. This interactive element allows up to 10 images to be added in the same space that previously could only fit one flat image in PDFs. Slideshows are a universal solution for many documents, such as travel brochures, property presentations, or retail catalogs showcasing product variations. They are a great way to add a level of complexity to your designs without learning complicated coding.

Once added to your InDesign flip book, reorganize the image order, set it on autoplay, or edit the images to fit the slideshow. Offer your readers the same amount of visual context but with a fraction of design space. 

Introduce other interactions like product tags, lead forms

There are other ways to add interactivity to your InDesign flipbook: through (product) tags and captions. These elements are clickable buttons that contain all sorts of information. The fields you can fill for tags are adding text and a URL. Place it over a text from your presentation and redirect readers to your website, where they can learn more about that topic. These tags have a glowing effect to catch the attention of the reader. 

Product tags can be used for e-commerce purposes because they include fields like product title, description, price, product URL, and button text. Plus, you can add up to three product images to this interaction. Once clicked by an interested buyer, they will see all this product information, with the possibility to go to your website and order the product.

Indesign flipbook with tags and captions

Lead forms are a great way to collect information about your audience. You control where you add this lead form (on what page) and if you make it mandatory for the reader to fill it out. Personalize the fields of required information and gather all this data in one place in your Flipsnack account. We will get into more detail about the benefits of this interaction and why you should start using it if you haven’t done that already.

Embed any interactive content you want

Besides all the interactivity we mentioned so far, another option allows you to embed any interactive content. The only information you need to have is the iframe code of your map, virtual tour, quiz or survey. 

Indesign flipbook embed interaction exemplified

This way, you transfer the interactive content you already have and probably host it on your website directly to your InDesign flipbook. There are no compromises necessary when it comes to offering the best reading experience for your audience. It may seem difficult at first, but once you give it a try, you’ll see it’s just as easy as copying and pasting. 

Create the InDesign document strategically

We first had to go through a list of the most used interactions to see how to prepare our document’s layout in InDesign. Let’s cover some best practices and general how-tos when it comes to building the document’s layout with intentionality.

1. Create the document

Depending on the type of document you want to create, there will be different necessary settings to lay out at the beginning of this process. We have an entire article on how to create a catalog in InDesign, so make sure you check it out as it goes into more detail. 

From the get-go, pick the document’s intent: either print or for web, define margin sizes, and be mindful of slug and bleed settings if you’re interested in printing. Another important setting is the facing pages box that you must tick for documents that are structured in spreads (magazines, catalogs, etc.).

2. Choose the right layout

The document’s layout is the most important step in ensuring a smooth upload process to Flipsnack’s platform and enhancing the file. What I mean by that is creating a standard layout with different placeholders, depending on what type of document you make. It can be a catalog, magazine, brochure, internal newsletter, or any other publication. 

Design each page intentionally, planning most of the interactions from the get-go. It is very useful to insert placeholders in your design for interactions that take up a bit of space. So, if you want to include a video in the bottom left corner, leave an empty space there. 

Take a look at how our professional designer applied this helpful tip when creating his design. If you want, you can even add a text box with the interaction you have in mind. The placeholder image with the text will help you visualize where the interactions fit better. 

Indesign file with placeholder for interactivity

Later on, in Flipsnack’s Design Studio, you can easily drag and drop that video without making any changes to your previous InDesign file. The main idea here is to create a standard template, which you then edit in Flipsnack with the desired interactivity, extra text layers, images, and more. Think about any outside elements you will add to your design from point zero.

3. Structure information using elements

You are probably more familiar with InDesign elements than I am, so we won’t spend much time discussing this step. It’s important to start the creative process with a (pre)set of paragraph styles, so when you actually copy and paste the text, it’s easily formatted the right way. 

A useful designer’s tip is to switch to a fast display setting if you are working on large files. Sometimes, InDesign tends to run a bit slower if you continue working in a high-quality setting. 

4. Design the front and back cover

Again, depending on the design, you’ll want to consider certain elements. However, others remain the same, such as the brand logo, name, and style of the front cover. The same style will help your audience recognize your brand, thus familiarizing themselves with your publications without even knowing it.

On the back cover, make sure you include (if applicable) contact information buttons that redirect the viewer to your social media accounts. And maybe leave room for a form if that is an interaction you’d be interested in. 

Convert PDF to flipbook InDesign

The question remains: can you create a flipbook with InDesign? Not without the right InDesign flipbook plugin. 

Flipsnack’s InDesign extension allows you to upload your document directly to our platform. Here’s a short rundown: you have two options available. Download the Flipsnack extension and use ZXPInstaller, or install the extension directly from Adobe Creative Cloud’s InDesign website. 

Once installed, a pop-up menu will appear. You simply have to log into your Flipsnack account or create a new one. Choose the document you want to export, but first, ensure you have properly saved it. Select the workspace to which you want the file to be exported, then you’ll find it in the My flipbooks section.

In just a few minutes and easy steps, your InDesign flipbook is ready to be enhanced. Or you can share the flipbook as is, with the flip interaction instantly visible.

How to make changes to the Adobe InDesign file

It is possible to make changes or update your InDesign file even after uploading it to Flipsnack. You can return to InDesign, make the necessary adjustments, and export the document. This way, you maintain the Flipsnack functionalities (meaning, the interactions) without having to re-add every interactive element. Remember that you have to republish the flipbook in order for those changes to be visible. 

Three key benefits of enhancing InDesign files with flipbooks

There are several benefits of flipbook interactions that are worth mentioning. We saw how these interactive elements impact the audience, but now, let’s flip the coin and see what they bring to the table for you as the designer or marketer. 

1. Easy to share

First, once you convert PDF to flipbook InDesign, that file is easy to share. No size restrictions or limitations, regardless of the platform used to send it. Forget about resizing your document or flattening your PDF before being able to reach your audience.

A flipbook link is automatically generated, ready for you to share with the intended audience. This link can be password-protected in the case of private documents or public if you want as many people to access it as possible. Plus, any changes you make to your InDesign flipbook are visible on the same link. All you need to do is republish that flipbook when you’re done. 

Indesign flipbook easy to share with Flipsnack

Sharing your flip book InDesign as a link makes it accessible on any device. The flipbook format will adapt to mobile devices, laptops, and tablets. This point brings us to the next benefit document creators enjoy with flipbooks: the ability to track the(ir) performance.

2. Easy to track

With Flipsnack’s built-in statistics, your documents have fewer chances of being lost or forgotten in some inbox. More than that, you actually get to see who accesses your flip book InDesign in case you’re sharing sensitive information. If your document has been compromised, you can check individual link statistics to see who is responsible. 

Once sent, track specific numbers that show you how people interact with the digital flip book. We’re talking user engagement, page views, and clicks on individual interactions you add to the InDesign flipbook. See all the lead form data collected in the same place and download it in CSV format on your computer.

Indesign flipbook easy to track with Flipsnack

After a considerable amount of people interact with the publication, check the statistics section from Flipsnack. Analyze that data, keep track of readers’ interest, and make audience-centered changes to the document. See if people are interested in videos, and make sure to add more of that type of content. All of these tweaks will contribute to increased time that people spend reading and flipping through your flipbook. 

3. Possibility to gather audience information

You can collect contact information from readers as a very useful addition to tracking your documents. This benefit is possible through the lead-form interaction we previously mentioned. Making your lead form interactive increases the chance of people actually filling out their information. You can rest assured that you’re on the right path to communicate with your audience effectively. 

Lead forms can be used in a number of ways: either as surveys or quizzes for company employees in different contexts. Use them as a tool to offer demos, consultations, or free trials. Adjust them for communication with new partners and target only interested parties with future offers or catalogs. There is no point in trying to reach out to the wrong audience.

Indesign flipbook with lead form added

Create gated content for which people must fill out the form before accessing. With their email addresses all gathered in the same space, it’s easy to filter them and create specific email lists for newsletters. See what fits with your marketing strategy, and occasionally check in with your audience for honest feedback. Therefore, we see that flipbooks serve as a valuable tool for collecting audience data, whoever they may be.


Here are some common questions regarding digital flipbooks made in InDesign:

What are the specific advantages of using InDesign over other software for creating flipbooks?

InDesign is preferred for creating flipbooks because it offers advanced text formatting and layout capabilities, making it ideal for complex documents. Its integration with Flipsnack enhances these capabilities by allowing easy conversion of detailed designs into interactive flipbooks, blending sophisticated design elements with multimedia interactivity.

Can InDesign flipbooks include features like search functions or indexes for easier navigation?

Yes, InDesign flipbooks can include search functions and indexes. When converting an InDesign file into a flipbook using platforms like Flipsnack, you can incorporate interactive elements that enhance navigation, such as hyperlinked tables of contents and searchable text, facilitating easier access to specific parts of the document.

How are updates to the content of a published InDesign flipbook handled?

Updating content in an InDesign flipbook is straightforward. You make the necessary changes to the InDesign file, re-export it to the flipbook format, and then upload the updated version within the same link. This process ensures that all interactive elements and layout adjustments are preserved in the new version of the flipbook, making content updates seamless and efficient.

Final thoughts on InDesign flipbooks

Considering the different interactions, creating the InDesign publication strategically, and the amazing benefits of InDesign flip books, it’s a strong case. The possibility of designing your complex document in Adobe and then enhancing it with many interactions is the definition of elevating your work. 

Start using interactive lead forms, sharing your InDesign flipbooks with just a click, and track your flipbook’s performance using one tool. Watch the engagement increase within your audience, and be able to make the right adjustments based on their interests. 

InDesign document to flipbook using Flipsnack banner

With all the changes digital marketing has been through in the past years, it’s crucial to keep up with the times. Make sure you explore and experiment with these flipbook features that help you and your business speak the language of digitization. To be honest, discovering the many options available to enhance your InDesign creations is a very exciting prospect, and it brings a fresh perspective to your familiar work. 

One Comment

  1. PlusHeat March 2, 2024 at 8:07 am - Reply

    It highlights the advantages of InDesign in producing high-quality content for both print and digital media, as well as its time-saving features.

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