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Creating an Animated Bar Chart in InDesign

Editor’s Note: this post was excerpted from Diane’s handout from CreativePro Week 2018. This year, Diane will be speaking about Engaging Interactive Documents and Publish Online. There’s still time to register, or sign up for a Virtual Pass so you don’t miss out!

Any chart or graph that you use in your InDesign documents can be easily animated. You can make pie chart sections fade in or move in or out of the pie. Bar charts and line graphs can appear to grow or draw themselves. In any case, each section of the chart or graph must be a separate object.

Animating Bar Charts

Bar charts are easy to animate using a scaling trick. Select a bar, then use the Animation panel to set it to scale horizontally (in the example below) or vertically, from 0% to 100%, with the animation set to To Current Appearance.

The bars can be set to scale on page load, and play one after the other or set to play all at once. Alternatively, they can be set to play when triggered by a button.

For full step-by-step instructions and a live example of an animated bar chart, click here.

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  • Rance Shepstone says:

    Anyone know how to make this kind of animation work in a pdf?

  • Diane Burns says:

    Alas, most of InDesign’s interactive features are NOT supported by PDF.
    Only hyperlinks work across all platforms and PDF readers.
    This “trick” requires animation and that is definitely not supported in PDF.
    Can you use Publish Online for this? It works beautifully when published.
    See article: https://creativepro.com/using-adobe-publish-online.php

  • Ghini says:

    It should be possible in a pdf using an older tip from James Fritz on this site: https://creativepro.com/create-an-interactive-pdf-with-animations-in-1-step.php

  • Diane Burns says:

    James’ post is from 2011. It references SWF support which is no longer available. Animations are simply not supported in PDFs these days. Wish I had a better answer, but that is just the way it is. Publish Online or a plug-in like in5 is the way to go. You could also create a fixed-layout epub, but that is only supported well by Apple Books.

  • What a fun way to add interest to electronic newsletters and online documents. Great tutorial! I can’t wait to give it a try myself.

  • sioux says:

    Of coarse there is a way to animate objects in a pdf. But not with InDesign tools. You have to be a programmer and have to use Javascript in Acrobat.

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