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Create an interactive magazine with sidebar and page navigation in Adobe InDesign

Updated: Nov 12, 2021



In this lesson, we will create a digital magazine for a fictional automobile publication, which will also include an interactive sidebar menu and page navigation.

For this, we'll use various interactive panels, but mainly Buttons and Forms as well as Animation to build both the sidebar panel and adding page navigation to the document.

As always, you can download the tutorial content here and follow along in the lesson.

Note that the techniques in this lesson will work for Publish Online as well as EPub (Fixed Layout) platforms, however it will not work for Interactive PDF.

Before we get started, this project was created on a iPad Pro (12.9) page size (2732 px by 2048 px). Also, create an eight column grid with gutter width of 72 pixels.

This can be achieved by clicking on the A-Parent page, going to Layout > Create Guides and then setting the number of columns to eight and the gutter to 72.

OK, we're all set. Let's get started!


Creating an Interactive Sidebar

  • Create two icons that will become the Open and Close buttons to trigger the interactive sidebar panel. In this lesson, I created a hamburger icon using the Rectangle Frame tool and a separate icon with an X for close.

  • Create a separate background rectangle for each and place the icons on top of the backgrounds. (Tip: To round two of the corners of the background like you see in this tutorial, click the frame once with the Selection Tool, then click on the yellow diamond in the upper right corner of the frame. While holding Shift, pull in the top right corner to about 26 px. Repeat the same step for the bottom right).

  • Group the hamburger icon with its background. Group the close X with its background.

  • In the Layers panel, rename each group to: Open Menu Button and Close Menu Button, respectively.

  • In the Layers panel, make sure the Open Menu Button group is above the Close Menu Button group.

  • Align together and move both so that the left side are to the edge of the page.

  • With the Rectangle Frame Tool, draw out another rectangle that spans from the left edge of the page to the second column guide. Then with the Selection Tool, move it off to the left so the right side of the rectangle is snapped to the left edge of the page.

Before we go any further, this is how your sidebar menu design should look like to this point.


  • Add four separate images within the rectangle. These will become the buttons to navigate to other pages in the digital magazine.

  • Group the rectangle with the four images in the menu and rename the layer to Main Menu Group.

Now that the sidebar menu has been added to the layout, it's time to create the interactivity. Before moving on to this next step, ensure that the sidebar menu looks like this:


Next we will add the interactivity to the Main Menu Group with a Fly in from Left Animation. However, you will create a custom motion path to have more control on how the animation appears in the layout. For this you will need to use the Pen Tool as well.

Adding Animation to the Sidebar Menu

  • With the Pen Tool, create a point in the centre point of the Main Menu Group.

  • Create a second point on the first guide.

  • Open the Animation Panel and with both the Path and Main Menu Group selected, click the Convert to Motion Path icon in the bottom right corner of the panel window.

  • Leave the Event set to On Page Load initially.

  • Set the animation Duration to 0.25 seconds.

  • Set the Opacity dropdown to None.

Creating Button Actions to Open and Close Sidebar Menu

  • Open the Layers Panel and click on the Open Menu Button blue indicator to select the button icon on the page.

  • In the Buttons and Forms Panel, convert the object into a Button.

  • In the Action, select "Animation" from the dropdown.

  • In the Options dropdown, choose "Play".

  • Open the Layers Panel and click on the Close Menu Button blue indicator to select the button icon on the page.

  • In the Buttons and Forms Panel, convert the object into a Button.

  • In the Action, select "Animation" from the dropdown.

  • In the Options dropdown, choose "Reverse".

  • Click on the Main Menu Group and go back to Animation. Ensure that the "On Page Load" option in the Event dropdown is unchecked. You should only have the "On Release" option selected in the dropdown.

Awesome! You set up the open and close function to the Main Menu Group but there's just one last step. We'll use the Show/Hide Buttons and Forms Action to have the open and close icons appear and disappear when the menu is opened and closed.

  • From the Layers Panel, select the Open Menu Button blue indicator to select the button icon on the page.

  • In the Buttons and Forms Panel, add a secondary Action of Show/Hide Buttons and Forms.

  • In the Visibility section, Show the Close Menu Button and Hide the Open Menu Button

  • From the Layers Panel, select the Close Menu Button blue indicator to select the button icon on the page.

  • In the Buttons and Forms Panel, add a secondary Action of Show/Hide Buttons and Forms.

  • In the Visibility section, Show the Open Menu Button and Hide the Close Menu Button

Here is a look at how the sidebar will function after following all the steps above:


Follow along in the video tutorial to learn how to set up page navigation from the sidebar menu.

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