Adding bookmarks and hyperlinks

Learn how to add bookmarks and hyperlinks for better navigation and interaction with your PDF files.

Adding interactive elements to your PDF improves the end user experience especially for long documents. By designing a PDF differently for a digital life rather than just for print, you can significantly improve the readability. Adding bookmarks and hyperlinks allows readers to easily navigate through pages and get a quick glance at the content they’re most interested in. This is particularly useful for long documents like this one. The most efficient method to automatically generate interactive elements is from applications like Word or InDesign. In this Word file, you’ll need to use the Acrobat ribbon to make the resulting PDF automatically contain bookmarks and hyperlinks. This Acrobat add-on is automatically installed in your Microsoft apps when you install Acrobat. And if you don’t see the Acrobat ribbon, be sure to contact your IT department. First, you need to make sure that the boxes for create bookmarks and links are checked in the preferences dialogue. Then, underneath the Bookmarks tab, you can see and set specifically which word headings and other elements will convert to bookmarks in your PDF.
Now that the preferences are set, we’ll create the PDF. By creating bookmark navigation, you’re building a master table of contents for your PDF. And when you create a PDF from Word using the Acrobat ribbon, all these bookmarks and front matter TOC entries and cross references are automatically built for you. The resulting PDF is fully hyper linked and bookmarked which you can see by clicking on any TOC entry. And if we open the Bookmark’s navigation pane, you can see all the hierarchical navigation for the headings and subheadings. A key advantage of bookmarks is hidden in their properties. They can do things like change the document view, load another PDF file, access the internet, or even play video. In this case, I’ve got some updated policies in the file that I want to draw attention to. These updates are highlighted in blue in the text but it isn’t obvious when you first open the file. So we’re going to color the bookmarks where the policies are updated. To do this, just select the bookmarks, hold down the Control key on Windows or Command Key on Mac to select multiple noncontiguous bookmarks, right-click to select properties. And under the Appearance tab, you can set the style and color. We’ll make these blue just like the text and bold & italic. And underneath the Actions tab is where you can do things like open another file, execute menu items and set the view.
Notice now how the sections have been updated and are called out with blue bookmarks, just like the text. You can also manually edit a bookmark. Maybe you want to earmark something for reference. To do this, simply select the text and use the keyboard shortcut Control + B on Windows or Command + B on the Mac.
You can also set the hierarchy of this by dragging it underneath the bookmark above.
To set the view, open up the properties and select the Actions tab. I’ll edit the existing view so that it zooms into just the paragraph when I click on the bookmark.
Notice now, when I click on the bookmark, it automatically zooms into the text. As mentioned earlier, the TOC entries are automatically hyperlinked but now I’m going to add a link to the internal HR website from this text on the front cover. To do this, open the Edit tool and select the Link tool. I’m going to add a link to the internal HR website. I’ll draw the bounding box. The color link is already blue and it’s set to open a webpage. When I select Next, I can enter the URL and now readers can go directly to the website for additional HR materials, right from this PDF file.
The final thing we need to do is make sure the readers can see the bookmarks whenever the file is opened. You can set this underneath the document properties which you open using the keyboard shortcut Control + D on windows or command + D on the Mac.
Select the Initial View tab, and under Navigation Tab, select bookmarks and page, and then under magnification, select fit page.
When you save and close the file, upon reopening, the bookmarks panel is automatically displayed. Next time you’re creating a PDF file that’s primarily intended for a digital life, remember to provide your readers with bookmarks and hyperlinks to improve the readability. -