Debenu PDF Aerialist provides a range of options for automatically generating bookmarks in PDF files based on font name, font size, font color, left indentation, text masks and keyword lists. These options are present to give you a range of options to generate bookmarks based on text in your documents because not all PDF files are formatted in the same way.

Well formatted documents, that is documents where the headings and sub-heading uses at a minimum a font size that is different to other font sizes used for the actual content of the document, are the easiest to generate bookmarks for and often only require the use of the font name and font size. However, we don’t live in a perfect world and not all documents are formatted that way.

This tutorial will demonstrate how to use the font name, font size and a text mask to generate bookmarks from a document which does not headings with unique fonts or font sizes. This tutorial is also very relevant if you are generating bookmarks for a table or tables in your PDF as often tables use the same font and font size as the body content of the document.

  1. Open your PDF in Adobe Acrobat (make sure you have Debenu PDF Aerialist installed first)
  2. Go to Plug-Ins > Debenu PDF Aerialist > Bookmarks > Build Bookmarks
  3. The Build Bookmarks dialog will open with a number of options. Select Level 1 to create the first level of bookmarks
  4. The Select Bookmark Attributes dialog will appear. Scroll through the document and find the heading that you want to use for the first level of bookmarks. Use your cursor to select all or part of the text. Debenu PDF Aerialist auto-populates based on the color, font, and size of the text. A range of options that can be chosen that will target the text after you have selected it.
  5. In this tutorial we just want to enable the font name, font size and text mask options. You should see that the font name and font size options have been populated based on the text that you selected in step 4.
  6. Now we want to add the Text Mask. A list of all available task masks can be found here. The text masking property has a number of special characters allowing you to selectively create bookmarks. In this tutorial we want to build bookmarks that point to unique tables in the document. Using the special ^ character followed immediately by the word “table” such as ^table will mean that every sentence that begins with the word “table” and that matches the font name and font size will trigger the creation of a bookmark.Select Bookmark Attributes
  7. On the same dialog enable the Ignore repeated headings option so that repeats of the same table in the document are ignored.
  8. Repeat steps 4 through to 7 for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th level bookmarks if you want them.
  9. Once you are ready click on Build button to generate your bookmarks. Open the bookmarks panel in Acrobat and take a look.
    Build Bookmarks Dialog

That’s it. Text masking is a powerful feature for documents that are not consistently formatted or lack any difference in font name, size or color between paragraph content and headings. It’s also a powerful feature for when generating bookmarks or TOC entries to specific tables, figures or diagrams.