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A hyperlink is text in a PDF that, when you hover your cursor over it, allows you to click on that hyperlink and go to a specific URL, or sometimes it will open up an e-mail message in your default e-mail program that is pre-addressed to the mail to address that you're hovering over. So the question is, how do you get these hyperlinks into your PDFs? They are very useful, assuming somebody is going to be reading them online in reader, or in Adobe Acrobat, obviously they won't work if they are printed out, not yet, anyway, maybe next year. Normally, you create these hyperlinks in the originating program, in the authoring program.
So like in Adobe InDesign or Illustrator or in Microsoft Word, we create the hyperlinks there, and then when you export them to PDF, you can opt to include the hyperlinks that they show up automatically. The question here is what about hyperlinking directly from within Adobe Acrobat, can you do that? And the answer of course is yes. You know, you may not even need to do that. Take a look at this document, Taste of California, that's open in front. You see that there is a URL for Napa Valley, and if I hover my cursor over it, it turns into this little pointing finger icon.
This is not a hardwired hyperlink. This is not part of the PDF. This is actually a feature of Adobe Acrobat and of Reader as well. For the past few versions, they can automatically detect hyperlinks in the text. If you go to Preferences, under the Edit menu on a PC or under the Adobe Acrobat menu on a Mac, and look at General, you'll see that Creates links from URLs is turned on by default. So if I scroll through this document, I happen to know where there are some other hyperlinks, You see that it's also detecting this one.
Notice how it automatically adds http:// in front of it, which is pretty smart of it, and then there's also a mail address down here, an e-mail address, so mailto, that's a properly formatted mailto address. This one it didn't do too well at, beachcalifornia, and the .com. So when they split across multiple lines, it doesn't do that well. If making sure that the hyperlinks are all intact and working correctly is important to you in the PDFs that you create, you really need to go through the document, maybe do a find for everything that starts with www. Plus, there are some URLs that feature of Preferences is not going to recognize, like, say for example, that you wanted Buck LeSabre here, this person, you wanted that to be a link to Buck's e-mail address, or you wanted the Garlic Festival to be a link to the Garlic Festival's web site.
So sometimes if it's not spelled out as an e-mail address or URL, you still want it to be a hyperlink, but Acrobat's feature is not going to automatically pick that up. So that's one time when you might need to create them by hand in Acrobat, if they weren't already created in the original program. And the other issue is that preference itself, because what if somebody turns off the preference, for whatever reason, what if they turn this off, or they have a really old version of Reader that doesn't even have that feature, then they're not going to see any URLs.
Those URLs are not going to be hyperlinked. So I always think that the better idea is to, what I call hardwire the hyperlinks, to actually embed them in the PDF and not rely on the preference. There is a fast way to do that in Adobe Acrobat. Go to the tools Pane, and look for the section called Document Processing. Now by the way, if you don't happen to see it, remember that you can click on this little menu at the top of the tools Pane to show or hide the different panels, and then just choose Document Processing. So inside Document Processing there is a wonderful command called Create links from URLs.
So you click it and it says, this can't be undone, would you like to proceed, which I think is kind of a silly little alert, because there are many things you could do in Acrobat that you can't undo, and you don't get the alert every time. And also, it's not the end of the world, you can always just close the document and not save changes, or choose Revert. So I am just going to say, Yes, go ahead and proceed. Which pages you want me to generate links for? All of them. That was fast, four links were added to the document. So does it look any different to you? No, not to me either. Here's a tip. To quickly find out where the links are in a document, go to another pane under the tools panel called Content, and in this section here Add or Edit Interactive Object, choose Select Object.
When you choose that, Acrobat will automatically put this nonprinting rectangle around every hyperlink, every link, every button, every form field, and so on, so it's a really neat way to quickly see what are the invisible interactive elements happening in this PDF. So it recognized these URLs, but this one, it had the same problem, or didn't get the entire URL. And if I switch back to the Hand tool and hover over that URL, you can see that it just got Beach California, that was all. By the way, while I am hovering here, notice the slightly different look of that hand cursor, it has a w inside it. That indicates that this is a hardwired or embedded hyperlink, not one coming from the preference, which is a subtle, but important clue to anybody who is creating these PDFs.
So how do you fix this kind of hyperlink? You can just right-click on this link with the Select Object tool or double-click, and it will open up into a dialog box, and under Actions, you can go ahead and fix the URL here. So I am just selecting Open a web link, clicking Edit, I'll go ahead and edit the entire link. Let's just leave it at something-something.html. And I'll say OK, so it fixes it and then you can increase the size of this link to encompass the entire URL, or you could just delete this.
I'm going to go right-click, choose Edit, and choose Delete, to get rid of the hyperlink and then do it by hand. To do it by hand, you would select the text with the Selection tool, like so, and then right-click on the selected text, and you'll see an option to Create a Link. I'll choose Create a Link, let me move it over, so I can see what this says. We want the link to Open a web page. So you click Next, and then you enter the URL for the link. And now that's a link as well. So we'll switch to the Hand tool and then click to deselect that blue thing, and now when you hover over it, you can see that the URL is correct.
That's how you would do a link, say, for something that is not even a URL. If you wanted to make a mailto link for Buck LaSabre, you'd select the text, right-click, choose Create Link. You want to Open a web page, click Next. Mailto link, you enter mailto:// and then the guy's e-mail address, so we'll say, firstname.lastname@example.org, right? Now that's a link as well. Now of course, the only problem here is that if you're reading this, you don't know that this is a link, unless your cursor happens to hover over it.
So the other part about adding hyperlinks to a PDF is to signal to the end-user that this is a link. So you might want to change the color or the typeface for Buck LaSabre, or put an underline underneath it. You would do all that kind of reformatting with the Edit Document Text tool that I talked about in a different video. But for creating hyperlinks themselves, all you need to do is use the regular Selection tool, swipe over text, right- click, choose Link, and enter the URL yourself, when of course, the automated procedure of Create links from URLs doesn't do it for you.
By the way, don't forget that you can also Remove All Links if for some reason you need a PDF with no links at all, with that little command right underneath it. And that will remove not just the links that you've added in Acrobat, but also any links that came over because you had used them in Word or InDesign or the Authoring application.
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