We love PDF here at Debenu. Sure, it’s green and searchable, but today, we want to focus on one of its other assets: its navigability, with a focus on bookmarks and links.
First up, there are built-in features of any given reader (e.g., Adobe Reader or the built-in viewer in Debenu PDF Tools). Typically, these will let you change pages one at a time or more quickly via a scroll bar. Often, they will let you jump to specific pages. These are basically the electronic analogs of turning individual pages or flicking through quickly with your thumb. You can make things easier for your readers with PDF, though. Indeed, cognizant of this fact, many regulatory bodies now require content providers to make their electronic documents easy to navigate.
Links are pretty similar to bookmarks. In fact, they have precisely the same options in terms of what they can do and where they can take the reader. The real difference is that, while bookmarks sit beside the document content (i.e., visible in a separate panel), links form an integral part of that content. Links can be overlaid on any image or text elements within a PDF document. If a link is located on page 5 and the reader is looking at page 2, they will not see it. By contrast, they will have equal access to all bookmarks regardless of which page they are currently viewing.
“So how do we apply and use bookmarks and links?” Funny you should ask, actually. As a matter of fact, Debenu Quick PDF Library can be used to create and edit bookmarks and links individually or in bulk, allowing developers to build these features into their own applications. Bookmarks and links can be manually created and edited in Adobe Acrobat, and this functionality is significantly augmented when used with our plug-in, Debenu PDF Aerialist. Using Debenu PDF Aerialist, you can do all sorts of fancy things like generating hyperlinked tables of contents, creating, editing or updating links and bookmarks en masse, automatically linking every instance of a keyword or auditing and validating links. You can also use Debenu PDF Aerialist to manipulate PDFs in bulk through batch processing. If you want to manipulate bookmarks or links without Acrobat, you can do so using the advanced scripting features (accessed via Advanced > PDF Script) of Debenu PDF Tools Pro.