Why validate PDF links and bookmarks?

Considering this sort of question always reminds me of that old techie joke quote: “Who the heck is General Failure, and why is he reading my disk?”

To my mind, asking why validating bookmarks and links is important is a bit like asking why road maintenance is important. In essence, the goal is to prevent issues down the track. (See what I did there?) At best, including broken links and bookmarks in your PDF documents can annoy your reader by disrupting their viewing experience. At worst, it can make navigating through crucial content impossible. Imagine you have assembled a multi-part regulatory submission and broken it into separate PDFs for faster viewing. Maybe they are supposed to be liberally inter-linked for a seamless viewing experience, perhaps via a shared set of roadmap bookmarks. Now think about the problems you would have if those interactive links were broken.

A stitch in time saves nine, right? You can avoid this problem entirely if you check and fix the links and bookmarks before you send off the submission. That works in principle, and I heartily recommend it, but if you have to check every link manually, that means a lot of work if you have numerous, long or complex documents. This involves opening each file in something like Acrobat and visually searching through, manually checking the properties of each link or bookmark and verifying that each link both works at all and connects to the right location. Manual processing of this sort is time-consuming and prone to errors. The simplest solution might be to use Acrobat’s “Remove All Links” tool. Sure, it would delete any dead links, but it would remove all of that rich interactivity, too.

It was thinking about just this sort of conundrum that drove the development of Debenu PDF Aerialist’s link and bookmark validation functionality. For one, Aerialist’s Audit Links feature (Links > Audit Links) lets you check entire documents or archives for broken links or bookmarks.

Check for broken bookmarks and links using Debenu PDF Aerialist's Audit Links Tool

The Audit Links tool

Of course, Debenu PDF Aerialist’s Dead Link Toolbar also offers fine-grained control over dead links, allowing you to selectively delete or modify dead links on an individual or document level. Used in concert with Acrobat’s Actions, Aerialist’s auditing and dead link features can even be used on entire document archives.

The Dead Link Toolbar in Debenu PDF Aerialist

Aerialist’s Dead Link Toolbar

So, if you need to validate links in numerous, large or complex PDF documents, try Debenu PDF Aerialist. The demo version is free, so what do you have to lose, except time you’d otherwise spend manually processing PDFs? If you want to save even more time, check out this Knowledge Base article on how to validate and fix links and bookmarks using Debenu PDF Aerialist.

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