How to Create Bookmarks in a PDF (Acrobat) File

by Elizabeth Mott

PDF files serve as product user guides, interactive forms, product brochures, books and magazines, enabling you to view content without using the application that created it. When Adobe Systems introduced the Portable Document Format in 1992, the tools you use to edit and view PDF files hadn't yet reached the market. Today, using Adobe Acrobat Standard or Pro, you can create and edit one-click bookmarks that guide the reader of a PDF to a specific page, image, text passage or document magnification.

Full-Page Bookmark Destination

Open your PDF file in Adobe Acrobat Standard or Pro. Use the navigation buttons or arrow keys to navigate to your desired destination page, or type a number in the Page Navigation toolbar and press "Enter."

Click on the unlabeled Bookmarks panel button in the task pane, or choose "View | Show/Hide | Navigation Panes | Bookmarks," to open the Bookmarks panel. Press "Ctrl-0" or open the "View" menu, locate its "Zoom" submenu and choose "Zoom to Page Level" to fit your page in the document pane.

Click on the unlabeled New Bookmark button in the Bookmarks panel, or open the panel's options menu and choose "New Bookmark." You also can click on the "Add Bookmark" item in the Content section of the Tools pane. Type a descriptive name and press "Enter." If your document already contains bookmarks, Adobe Acrobat adds the new one to the end of the list or immediately below a selected bookmark. When you click on this bookmark, Adobe Acrobat navigates to the page and presents it sized to fill the document pane.

Zoomed or Specific Destination

Open your PDF file in Adobe Acrobat Standard or Pro. Navigate to the target page for your bookmark with the toolbar buttons, scroll bars or arrow keys, or type a number in the Page Navigation toolbar and press "Enter."

Click on the arrow-headed "Select" tool in the Acrobat toolbar. To select an image, click on it, or click and drag around it. To select part of an image, click and drag around the part you want to feature. To select a range of text, click and drag through it.

Click on the unlabeled New Bookmark button in the Bookmarks panel, or open the panel's options menu and choose "New Bookmark." You also can click on the "Add Bookmark" item in the Content section of the Tools pane. Type a name to identify your bookmark and press "Enter" to create it. Adobe Acrobat adds your bookmark to the end of the list, or immediately below another bookmark if you've selected one. When you use this bookmark, Acrobat navigates to the page you chose, and zooms in on the image or text you selected.

Tips

  • Click and drag one bookmark's icon below another to position it as an indented, nested bookmark. You can use this procedure to build a bookmark hierarchy without changing the destination of any of your bookmarks. To remove the hierarchy, drag the nested bookmark to another position in the list. If you delete a top-level bookmark, you delete its nested bookmarks as well. To delete only the main bookmark, move the subsidiary bookmarks to the main level in the list first.
  • To change a bookmark's destination, click on it in the Bookmarks panel and navigate to the page you want it to display. Use the "+" and "-" buttons to zoom in or out to the desired page magnification. Open the options menu in the Bookmarks panel, or right-click on the bookmark, and choose "Set Destination." Click on the "Yes" button in the confirmation dialog box to complete the process.
  • Turn long bookmarks into wrapped multi-line entries to avoid widening the Bookmarks panel just to display all the text. Right-click on the bookmark, or open the options menu in the Bookmarks panel, and choose "Wrap Long Bookmarks."
  • If you convert a Microsoft Word document to a PDF in Acrobat, you can specify that some or all of the Word file's headings, styles or bookmarks automatically become PDF bookmarks through the conversion process.

Warning

  • If you set a zoomed-in bookmark destination while your chosen page occupies less than half of the height of the document display area, the bookmark navigates to the following page.

About the Author

Elizabeth Mott has been a writer since 1983. Mott has extensive experience writing advertising copy for everything from kitchen appliances and financial services to education and tourism. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English from Indiana State University.

Photo Credits

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