How to Create Bookmarks in PDF

Published on: March 11, 2022
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Bookmarks are used to quickly jump back to your last spot in a book, or to find an important section in a textbook or other long document. 

But do you ever use bookmarks in PDFs? 

Much like their paperless counterparts, bookmarks in PDFs allow us to quickly find our spot, page, or section that we wanted to. 

But what are bookmarks and how do we add them to PDFs? 

What are Bookmarks in PDFs?

Bookmarks in PDFs work much like bookmarks in a book; they allow you to quickly jump back to your spot.

In the case of bookmarks in PDFs, you can leave a bookmark to any page or section that you want to be able to jump back to quickly. This includes multiple bookmarks. 

Multiple bookmarks can make jumping to several key pages easier and quicker. And you can add or remove bookmarks as you need them. 

You can also nest bookmarks within each other; further organizing your PDF and making it more accessible (more about this later).

Why Add Bookmarks to PDFs?

Bookmarks make PDFs more accessible by allowing you to jump to a specific page, section, or location. Bookmarks in PDFs can be read by most PDF readers and viewers, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, and Chrome and Edge PDF viewers. 

This makes bookmarking PDFs extremely useful. Especially for PDF documents that contain many pages or large amounts of text that needs to be navigated. With bookmarks, PDFs becomes more convenient both for you and for those you send PDFs to. 

Keep in mind that PDF readers can only view and read PDFs, and use bookmarks, they cannot edit PDFs or bookmarks.

About Nested Bookmarks in PDFs

You can nest bookmarks within each other, creating a logical hierarchy of bookmarks for your PDF. 

Nesting means placing your bookmarks within other bookmarks, like how we store files in a folder. 

Nested bookmarks with a red box around them in PDF Pro.

Nesting allows you to organize your bookmarks in a logical way for your needs, so you can quickly get to the page or section you intended. 

Like a table of contents that lists different chapters, and subchapters in books, nested bookmarks work much the same way in PDFs. Nested bookmarks can be used to organize and compile relevant information/pages together, even if the pages are in different locations of the PDF.

Nested bookmarks allow further control of your bookmarks, and are an additional way to make your PDF documents more accessible and easier to navigate or use. 

How to Create Bookmarks in PDF Pro (Adobe Alternative) 

Note: You’ll need a PDF editor to add bookmarks to PDFs. We recommend PDF Pro, our affordable All-in-One alternative to Adobe Acrobat Pro. 

1. Open your PDF in PDF Pro, and navigate to the page you want to bookmark.

2. Click the Show Bookmarks icon, on the left side of the screen.

The Show bookmarks button highlighted with a red arrow pointing at it.

3. Press the Create Bookmark icon to place a bookmark on the current page. 

Create bookmark button in PDF Pro highlighted with red arrow pointing at it

4. Name your bookmark.

Highlighted text to name new bookmark in PDF Pro.

To create additional bookmarks on other pages: 

1. Use your mouse, click elsewhere on the Bookmarks Tree with your mouse so no bookmarks are highlighted, then press Create Bookmark icon. 

2. Name bookmark.

To create a nested bookmark:

1. After doing steps 1-4 (above), click to highlight the "parent" bookmark that you want to add more bookmarks within.

A highlighted PDF bookmark, named "Title".

2. Press the Create Bookmark icon.

A bookmark selected and highlighted while Create bookmark button is highlighted.

3. Name your nested bookmark.

Highlighted text to name new nested bookmark in PDF Pro.

Repeat above steps until satisfied.

How to Create Bookmarks in Adobe Acrobat Pro 

Adobe Acrobat Pro is a household name when it comes to PDFs. Please note that you will need a subscription Adobe Acrobat Pro to use this method.

Adobe Acrobat Reader (and other PDF readers) can not create bookmarks or edit PDFs, it can only read and view PDFs as well as the bookmarks.

1. Open your PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro.

2. Press [ctrl] + [b] on your keyboard to open up the Bookmarks panel (on the left side of screen).

3. Click the Create Bookmark icon to add a bookmark to your current page, then type the name of your bookmark. Repeat this process for all bookmarks/pages you wish.

How to Create Bookmarks in Microsoft Word

If you have a Word document that you would like to turn into a PDF, you can add bookmarks directly in Word before saving it. Saving you time and steps involved. 

Quick tip: if you have access to Word, this is a great way to add bookmarks to documents for free

1. Open your document in Microsoft Word.

2. Navigate to the page or section you wish to bookmark.

3. Click the Insert tab.

Insert tab in Microsoft Word.

4. Press the Bookmark button. The bookmark dialog box will open.

Bookmark button highlighted in Microsoft Word.

5. Type the name of your bookmark, then press Add. Repeat steps 4 & 5 until you’ve bookmarked everything you wish.

Sample Bookmark and add bookmark buttons highlighted in Bookmark dialog box.

6. Go to the File menu.

File menu button with red box around it in Microsoft Word.

7. Press Save As.

Save As button in File menu in Microsoft Word.

8. Press Browse.

Browse button highlighted in Microsoft Word.

9. Select PDF from the dropdown menu.

PDF selected as the file type in Save As dialog box of Microsoft Word.

10. Press the Options… button. Options dialog box will open.

Highlighted Options button in Word.

11. Select Create bookmarks using: checkbox, and select Word bookmarks radio button (if not already selected).

Options dialog box with Create Bookmarks using Word bookmarks highlighted

12. Press Ok

OK button highlighted in Options dialog box.

Easily Create & Edit Bookmarks with PDF Pro

Bookmarks in PDFs work much like bookmarks in paper books.

Bookmarks make PDFs more accessible, easier to navigate, and makes it quicker to jump to important sections or pages of your document. 

PDF readers such as Adobe Acrobat Reader let you view PDFs and use their bookmarks, but they cannot create or edit bookmarks. 

The easiest way to add and edit bookmarks to PDFs is with a PDF editor. 

PDF Pro is our affordable Adobe alternative. It's an All-in-One PDF editor, creator, converter, and annotation tool. It makes it easy to convert any printable documents to PDF, edit PDFs, add bookmarks, annotations, comments, and more. 

Ready to edit your bookmarked PDF? 

Do you need to add bookmarks to PDF right away? Download PDF Pro for free or Buy Now!

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Arron StaradubDigital Marketing Specialist
Arron is a Digital Marketer at PDF Pro, where he writes helpful and engaging articles for those that that use PDFs in their daily life. He has a knack for explaining concepts in an easily understandable way. He also loves reading and drinking too much coffee.