Skip to content

InDesign: Making Motion Paths for Animation

InDesign started as a traditional desktop publishing tool, but with the introduction of new technologies and formats, InDesign had to adapt itself to the new demands of users. One of the improvements they had to incorporate was adding animation for interactive PDF or fixed-layout EPUB.

Animation effects let you make objects move in your exported files. For example, you can apply a motion preset to an image or text that appears and disappears or moves in from the left side to the right side of the screen.

You can use the following tools and panels to animate your documents.

gpi-indesign animation-home

How to Make a Motion Path

Place the object you want to animate in your document.

  • In the animation panel, select Window > Interactive > Animation.
  • Choose a motion preset from the preset menu.
  • Specify motion preset options.
  • You can edit the motion path using the pen tool and direct selection tool. Make sure the object you want to use for the motion path is on top of the other object in the stacking order.
  • Use the timing panel to determine the order of the animation effects.
  • Use the preview panel to preview the animation in InDesign.
Convert Selected Objects to a Motion Path

You can also create animation by selecting an object and a path and converting it to a motion path. If you selected two closed paths, such as two rectangles, the path on top becomes the motion path.

  • Select the object you want to animate and the path you want to use as the motion path.
  • You cannot convert more than two selected objects.
  • In the animation panel, click the Convert To Motion Path button.
  • Then, change the settings in the animation panel.
Using the Timing Panel to Change the Animation Order

You can use the timing panel to change the order of when animated objects play. The timing panel lists the animations on the current spread based on the page event assigned to each animation.

Animated objects are listed in the order they were created. Animations listed for the page load event occur sequentially by default. Animations listed for the page click event are played in sequence each time the page is clicked.

You can change the animation order, have objects play at the same time or delay animation.

You can find the panel under: Window > Interactive > Timing to display the Timing panel.


The option to add animations works for any InDesign document, but it is always better to use the web or mobile profile when creating a new document. This will help you in a couple of ways. Basically, these profiles provide common web and mobile page sizes. Also, these profiles set the default unit of measurement to pixels and the default color mode to RGB. If you have never worked in the animation panel, you may think the animation possibilities are quite limited. But, I assure you that you can creatively solve a lot of things and get really amazing results.