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Notes to Other Writers Using Word and Acrobat DC

This discussion is what Americans call inside baseball. Every non-writer can safely tune out.

I’m using the latest version of Microsoft Office for the Mac, as well as the expensive Adobe Acrobat DC for creating .pdf files. After much experimenting I have found a way to preserve internal hyperlinks or bookmarks in a Word doc when converting that document to .pdf. Adobe doesn’t let you do that on its own.

Many people want my seventy five page Places to Visit or Collect in the Southwest file to have a table of contents. Fine. My preference for an electronic document is to hyperlink it, to make the TOC interactive. Click on a link in the TOC that says “Arizona” and “Whoosh”, you are taken immediately to the right page. I could make a TOC with every rock shop clickable and instantly locatable. I once did a forty page book proposal in this manner and it was actually fun to zoom around the document in this way. However.

I have distributed previous versions of this file as a .pdf to facilitate universal use. So, I started creating a hyperlinked TOC in the Word doc in which I create it. I’d later convert it to .pdf. After a half hour I converted a test document to make sure the links would all work. They didn’t. I then used the Mac’s native .pdf maker to convert the Word doc. That also failed.

After reading unhappy information on the web, I had an online chat with an Adobe rep who admitted that their top of the line program couldn’t keep Word’s hyperlinks when converting a document. He suggested that I create all the bookmarks in Acrobat, because Acrobat also has the ability to produce bookmarks. What nonsense.

No one creates a complicated, footnoted, hyperlinked doc in Acrobat, that’s the strength of Word. Adobe’s strength is supposed to be in creating .pdfs from other sources. For Adobe to say they can’t do a file conversion is like NASA saying they can’t track a satellite. I realized then that this problem was probably due to some squabble between Microsoft and Adobe. The disputes over the .pdf format began soon after Adobe created that file type, usually because a company didn’t want to pay Adobe royalties for using it.

I then turned to Google Docs, often my savior when it comes to converting files. I uploaded my test Word doc with its hyperlinks and then had Google convert it to .pdf. All links retained, all good. I then had Acrobat DC open the new .pdf and it recognized every internal link as well.  Saved it with Acrobat DC under a new name and that conversion also held. I’m now able to compose in Word like I want and then eventually have Acrobat put it into what is the original and most recognizable .pdf format.

What a waste of time. I hope this post gets out to the net to tell other writers that conversion is possible. I’ll try to write something more interesting in my next post. Anything would be an improvement. Would you like to read about the different qualities of sand?

Update: Newest version below:


Newest version always here, including a Kindle version:

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