How do I create a table of contents for a PDF file that is composed of a variety of different source documents?
December 20, 2007 11:37 AM   Subscribe

How do I create a table of contents for a PDF file that is composed of a variety of different source documents? Open source/free software or methods are best.

I am working on an accreditation for my university. I would like to be able to send in a large PDF to the accreditation agency so they can see how utterly awesome we are in one convenient package. To make this easy for them I desire to have a table of contents show up in the sidebar (on Mac Preview) or in the navigation pane on Adobe Reader.

I have been given a wide variety of documents to include. Some came as PDF (generated from Word or latex), some as Word documents, and some as latex source files. I can make all these into PDF, if they are not already, then using Preview on my Leopard-running Mac, I can drag and drop them into a single PDF very easily. But I don't see how I can manually add a table of contents.

Any hints? Like I said, I can't easily edit the source documents, since they are so varied. I have access to Mac, Windows, and Linux machines. I am comfortable with a command line. I do have Microsoft Office for Mac and for Windows. Is there a free tool that will do this? Do I already have such a tool and not know it?
posted by procrastination to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You can do this right in Acrobat/Reader. Assuming you have already converted your various documents and composed them in the order you would like in a single PDF file, it is simple. Browse to the page you want as a bookmark, open up the bookmark pane and hit Options > New Bookmark, name and rearrange as necessary. As you probably already know you can goto Document Properties and look for the Initial View tab, it will allow you to set the document up so whenever it is opened the initial vew is a correctly scaled document with the bookmark pane open. This can be nice, depending on the audience.
posted by prostyle at 11:44 AM on December 20, 2007

Ok, testing. Boomarks didn't work in Preview (they show up under the top title bar). Adobe Reader on Mac doesn't allow bookmark creation, as far as all the help pages show. I am installing an XP virtual machine and will try it on that.
posted by procrastination at 12:12 PM on December 20, 2007

You probably need the full version of Adobe Acrobat. You can download a free trial here. (Link is at the bottom of the page.)
posted by The Deej at 12:19 PM on December 20, 2007

Well, Acrobat does what I want, and 30 days is more than long enough for me.
posted by procrastination at 1:37 PM on December 20, 2007

One massive PDF file may be difficult for your reader to open handle. You could create bookmarks in a central index file that link to separate PDF files, and keep them all on a CD.
posted by yclipse at 1:55 PM on December 20, 2007

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