Hack 63 Add and Maintain PDF Bookmarks

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Bookmarks greatly improve document navigation. Adding them is pretty easy.

Ideally, your document's headings would have been turned into PDF bookmarks when it was created [Hack #32] . If you ended up with no bookmarks or the wrong bookmarks, you can add or change them using Acrobat. Here are a few tricks to speed things up.

5.14.1 Add Bookmarks

Create a bookmark to the current view using the Ctrl-B shortcut (Command-B on the Macintosh). Then, type a label into the new bookmark and press Enter. Note that current view means the current page, current viewing mode (e.g., Actual Size, Fit Width, or Fit Page), or current zoom. For example, if you want a bookmark to fill the page with a specific table, zoom in to that table before creating the bookmark. When quickly creating bookmarks to a document's headings, I simply use the Fit Page viewing mode.

Every bookmark needs a text label, and this label usually corresponds to a document heading. Instead of typing in the label, use the Text Select tool to select the heading text on the PDF page. When you create the bookmark (Ctrl-B or Command-B), the selected text appears in the label. Review this text for errors.

5.14.2 Move Bookmarks

New bookmarks don't always appear where you want them. Select a bookmark (use a right-click to keep from activating it), click, and drag it to where it belongs. A little cursor will appear, indicating where the bookmark would go if you dropped it. You can indent a bookmark by dragging it to the left (Acrobat 6, shown in Figure 5-11) or the right (Acrobat 5, shown in Figure 5-12) of the intended parent. The little cursor will jump, showing you where the bookmark would go.

Figure 5-11. In Acrobat 6, dragging a bookmark to the right makes it a sibling (shown on the left), while dragging a bookmark to the left makes it a child (shown on the right)

Figure 5-12. In Acrobat 5, dragging a bookmark to the left makes it a sibling (shown on the left), while dragging a bookmark to the right makes it a child (shown on the right)

Move an entire block of bookmarks by first creating a multiple selection. In Acrobat 6, the order in which you select bookmarks is the order they will have after you move them, which can be a surprise. To preserve their order, add bookmarks to your multiple selection from top to bottom.

Select the first bookmark, hold down the Shift key, and then select the final bookmark in the block. Hold down the Ctrl key and click a bookmark to add or remove it from your selection. Click the selection and drag it to its new location.