Join Brian Wood for an in-depth discussion in this video Cross-document linking, part of Acrobat 9 Pro: Creating Multimedia Projects.
When you work with PDF files long enough, you start to realize that if you have a PDF that's too big and too large in file size, too many pages, it's just too cumbersome to get around with and it may be too hard to download. If you're trying to email something, it's hard to email it. So a lot of times we'll take a big PDF and split it up into separate files, but you then need to be able to link between the files so that people can kind of treat them as one big PDF, and that's what we're going to do next. We're going to do what's called cross-document linking. This allows you to create a link that goes from one PDF to another.
We're going to do it two different ways, because there are two different reasons why you might. So I've got my file open here and I've got my Advanced Editing toolbar showing, and you can find that under the Tools menu up there. We're going to create a link, by clicking on the Link tool here and come on out to the page. I'm on the first page and we're going to make it so that when you click on that picture there, the Dark Chocolate bar, it will take you to let's say a Product page. So if I click-and-drag, put the area out there. We can always edit it later. If you look, you're going to see Create Link, the dialog box. What I'm going to do is make an Invisible Rectangle so we don't see it.
You look down here, you'll see it says Open a file. So we choose Open a file. This is typically going to be a PDF file, because if you're trying to open up a different kind of file, things can happen. If you're trying to open a Word doc, it might try and convert it, if they don't have Word, it won't convert it. So you're going to try and link between PDF files. So click Next. It will say all right, well, where do you want to link to? So I'll choose new_products, click Select. Now this is kind of interesting, way back in the days, like Acrobat 5, 4 or earlier, when you would click on a link and go to another PDF file, you had no way of telling it whether or not you wanted to close the PDF you just clicked on or open a new window or what did you wanted to do.
So we used to have to do some tricky things to get this done, but these days what we can do is when we click on a PDF file to open it, you can say open the PDF in a new window, which means keep this PDF that's currently open, open, and open a new one or replace it. So when you click on the link in this PDF, this PDF closes and the new one takes its place. You can also just say whatever the user preferences in their Reader version or their Acrobat version, just follow that, because this is actually a preference if you look in the Preferences for the program.
I'm going to choose New window. That way, we'll keep both files open. You've got to be really careful with this, because if you're linking between PDFs, you've got to test it yourself, pretend you're somebody, and you're like, oh, I'm going to click on here, click on there. You're going to click between all these PDFs. If you open new windows every time, you may have like 5000 windows by the end. So you've really got to be careful with that. If you have a good navigation system that can take people between each PDF file clearly, simply and easily, you might want to put it in the Existing window. That way, you have one file open at anytime.
I'll click OK, and there we go. So to test it out, go to the Hand tool, select that, come on out, it will give you the finger, click, and it should open the separate PDF file. Now I already had it open, you can see it just kind of popped there, there it is. If you come up under Window, in the menus, you'll see that we now have both PDF files open. If I click bliss_catalog_04 there to go back, we're back in the original page. Now, I want to show you a second way to do this. There is a reason for this. Not to confuse, but to show you that there are some really cool things that we can do.
Now I'm going to create a separate link here. I want you to follow here. We're going to create a separate link that goes from the little chocolate nibs, these are the sexy chocolates, and goes to that same PDF file. But we're going do it a little different way. Go to the Link tool once again, draw another link. You can drag to hit that out there. There we go, still are going to be invisible. This time what we're going to do is we're going to go to our Page view. Now, you get one more option than we have the last way, but you get one less option as well. So go to our Page view, click Next, and this is kind of interesting.
It's going to literally let you go to the other PDF, and go to the page you want. So come on up under Window. It doesn't seem like you can, but you actually can come to Window, go to new_products let's say. If you want to zoom in at this point, you've got the Plus and Minus up here to be able to zoom in and zoom out. If you want to go to the next page, you can do that. I'm going to simply click Set Link. It will take you back to the original PDF file, there we are, and I want to show you what it did, not just click on it but show you this. So to edit that link, we can right- click, on Mac you can Ctrl-click.
You'll see Properties. You can also double-click on the link to open up the Properties. Go to the Actions tab, click on Actions and you'll see down here. Here's what we're telling it to do, just by simply navigating to that document or saying okay, go to another page in another document. Here's the file itself. Now, you're going to see this crazy path here. That is not what's going to show up when you send this to someone else. What's going to happen is actually I can use what's called a relative link. This is the way all linking between PDFs works. As long as the two PDFs are next to each other or in the same position or in the same folder structure as when you made the links, everybody is good.
It all works, okay, even if you send it to somebody else. You'll see right here, Page 1, Zoom level Fit Page. So that's what it's doing for us. I'll click Cancel and let's test it out. So come up to the Hand tool, come to the link itself, click. Now, take a look right here, this is what's interesting. It is literally not giving me a choice to open a new window or keep the window open as we did in the last link we created. If you look right here, what happens is if you do it this way, it's only going to keep one window open at a time. So you can't have two documents open at one time then.
It would close this document and open the next. If you want to, you can click Yes to save. It will take you to the next document and close this one. But I'm going to click Cancel and there we go. That's creating two different kinds of links to different pages within separate documents. It's a good way to be able to make it so that if you do split up a document, let's say you've got reference material that kind of a little side note or reference information that you need to reference from a bigger document, you can do it pretty easily. The one thing to keep in mind though is this, if you do create links between the PDF files, if you send them one PDF, like, let's say this one, and they click on that link, nothing is going to happen.
It's going to throw up an error and say well, can't find the PDF file. This is a good way to be able to link between PDFs, if you're going to put them on a CD or DVD or something like that or have them up on a web server somewhere, where you've got folder structures and everything is ready to go. So just know that, if you do link between PDFs, you've got to send them together.
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