Countless professionals are already quite comfortable using Adobe Acrobat to convert business documents and marketing materials to the ubiquitous PDF format. As a result, untold numbers of PDF's make their way through email or are downloaded from Web sites on a daily basis.

Even so, many Acrobat users have yet to explore some of the advanced features of the software. For instance, while we usually think of delivering PDF's from email and Web sites, there's also an easy way to add hyperlinks into PDFs themselves that will then direct readers back to your email and Web site.

Adding Standard Hyperlinks
If you have the Professional Edition of Acrobat (or the full version of some earlier releases) then the process of adding a hyperlink to any PDF document is fairly straightforward:

  1. Select the Link Tool button from the Tool Bar (looks like a chain) or press the Shift and L key simultaneously
  2. Drag the mouse over the area you want to activate the link
  3. Select the visual options you prefer from the Link Properties options box. For instance you can make a border around the link box and apply different colors to this as well.
  4. Under the Action section, choose "World Wide Web Link" from the dropdown list
  5. At this point, an Edit URL button will appear, and you can enter your destination address after selecting this button.
  6. Finally, click the "Set Link" button at the bottom of the Link Properties dialog box.

While you must own a full version of Acrobat 5 or Acrobat 6 Professional in order to create these hyperlinks, (and may need to review the Help section as well) those who are viewing your PDFs with just the free Acrobat Reader will be directed to the appropriate web page when they click on any of the links you create.

As a marketing tool, the linking option is invaluable. Anywhere your PDFs might suggest visiting a Web site for further information (your site, or any other) they can now automatically launch the reader's browser and take them directly to the correct page. This is especially useful when you wish to direct readers to a specific page on a Web site, rather than simply the homepage itself.

Adding Email Hyperlinks
The process for creating an email hyperlink is essentially the same as above. However, instead of entering a Web site address in step 5 above, enter an email address proceeded by the HTML "mailto" tag so that the address you insert in the ULR box is formatted as: in one unbroken string.

When someone viewing your PDF clicks on a link formatted in this way, their email client will launch with your email address automatically inserted into the "To" line.

To take this one step further, you can even automatically add a subject line to this email by completing the "mailto" tag with the subject line of your choice, such as:"Text of your choice" - note that the quotation marks used here force the spaces in between words to be preserved.

This is particularly handy when you wish to direct a reader to Email for More Information within your PDF as you can not only control the address that they will email, but the subject line request as well.

With a little effort and some experimentation you will find many uses of the Link Tool that will not only make your PDFs easier to work with from the reader's perspective, but will also help you drive traffic and interaction back to yourself.


Copyrighted with all rights reserved by Stephen M. Canale