Creating a PDF document with clickable links to chapters on contents page?
March 14, 2006 8:14 AM   Subscribe

Creating a PDF document with clickable links to chapters on contents page?

I'd like to be able to create a PDF document (Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional) that contains multiple chapters. What do I have to do so that someone looking at the contents page can click on the chapter title and be taken directly to the first page of that chapter? What can be done so that the reader can instantly be "taken back" to the contents page, regardless of where they are in the document or how they got there?
posted by UnclePlayground to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Simple: Use the button tool to create buttons from selected text on your toc that link to the appropriate pages, and create a button on all pages (using the duplicate function after creating it with the button tool) that links to the toc. If the toc is page one, readers can also use the "back to 1st page" button on the reader window.
posted by dpcoffin at 8:31 AM on March 14, 2006

If your Word document is properly set up with a linked table of contents and/or cross-references, if you use Adobe's Create PDF method instead of printing to Acrobat, you should end up with hyperlinks in your PDF. Also, it's possible to use the Bookmarks pane to insert bookmarks in PDFs. It's a little complicated, but the Help files are pretty helpful (Help -> How To -> More Topics -> Create a Link/Bookmark).

dpcoffin's button tool idea will work to get readers back to the TOC.
posted by acridrabbit at 9:30 AM on March 14, 2006

Word document? What Word document? The one PDF of multiple chapters description sounds more like FrameMaker or InDesign is the tool to use.

Also, printing with Distiller is the preferred method, at least up to Acro 6. If you check the Generate Acrobat Data box on the Print window, it will create links from the TOC of most documents. Make sure it's printing to a .ps file, not a .prn (you can edit the .prn to .ps in that Print window.)

Acrobat (and Reader) has a Back button that can take you back to the TOC, or you can use the Bookmarks (which you get when you specify Generate Acrobat Data while printing - generating a PDF without bookmarks is doing it half-assed.)

However, to make links between different PDFs is less automatic.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:39 AM on March 14, 2006

Response by poster: InDesign CS2, to be exact. Thanks for the astute observation, Kirth.

And I'm actually liking the "Button Tool" solution that dpcoffin came up with. Didn't know Acro had that.
posted by UnclePlayground at 12:21 PM on March 14, 2006

With the Acrobat button tool, any rectangular selection on a page can be made into a link to any other page in the pdf, to a specific view of any page, to another file/pdf, to a url...

You can also create similar buttons in InDesign that will show up active in a pdf export, but you usually have to tinker with them in Acrobat afterwards to get exactly what you want, so I prefer to just do all the button-making in Acro, after creating in IDCS2 the graphics, or text-color/font/whatever, that I’m using to alert the reader to the existence of the button.

Here’s a page with a link to a sample pdf (11MB, sorry) that’s full of such button-links, including several that are duplicated across multiple pages, one of which always goes back to the “contents” page.

For $25, you can watch some excellent video tutorials on all this at, in their Acrobat and InDesign courses. You’ll have access to their complete library of tutorial videos for a month; best deal around, imo, if you’ve got a hi-speed hookup, and a lot of software learning to do in a hurry.
posted by dpcoffin at 2:02 PM on March 14, 2006

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