Inspiration, Tips, Tricks and Tutorials for Graphic Design and Web Design

Set Bookmarks Panel to Open When the PDF Opens

Offices are going paperless and what used to be on paper is now on PDF. Acrobat has a slightly higher learning curve than paper, so make it as simple as possible for the end user to navigate your PDFs. One way to do that is to have a navigation panel, either the pages panel or the bookmarks panel, open with the PDF.

There are a few different ways to navigate a PDF, some are easier to use, others are easier to create. The end user can navigate around a PDF with links, bookmarks or the pages panel.

Links: Links take some effort to set up, but anyone who knows how to open a PDF knows what a link is. This is by far the easiest to use for anyone who uses the internet.

Bookmarks Panel in Acrobat 9

Bookmarks Panel in Acrobat 9

Bookmarks: Bookmarks also take some effort to set up, but if you set your bookmark styles in the originating application, Word or InDesign for example, the bookmarks should come through to the PDF fully intact. For a user who knows what a bookmark is and knows where to find the bookmarks panel, this is one of the easiest ways to navigate a long PDF document.

Pages Panel in Acrobat 9

Pages Panel in Acrobat 9

Pages Panel: The pages panel shows exactly that, the pages in order. Each page will have a thumbnail so you can see pretty clearly what the pages are. Double click on a page in the pages panel and it will take you there. This is as easy as it gets for a standard short document.

Always make things as simple as possible for the end user.

What if your end user isn’t familiar with navigating PDFs? What if they don’t know what a pages panel or bookmark is let alone where to find it? You could spend hours setting up numerous links so the PDF can be navigated just like a web page. If you make a change to the original document and re-export to PDF, you may need to set up each link again.

As a compromise, fast for you easy for the end user, simply set the pages panel or bookmarks panel to open when the PDF opens.

How To:

Properties Panel in Acrobat 9

Properties Panel in Acrobat 9

With your PDF open in Acrobat 9, go to FILE => PROPERTIES.



Under window options, select SHOW => DOCUMENT TITLE. This is usually more meaningful than the file name.

Select the ideal magnification, which page you want it to open to and check any boxes you see fit.

That’s it! Now when the PDF is opened, it will appear as you want it to appear and will be easy to navigate.


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  1. Thanks that was a great help

  2. Thnx, I relaized I needed acrobat pro to do this

  3. Awesome!! This was not intuitive for me. Thanks!

  4. Thanks!! I knew how but forgot where to find the tab — in properties!