Simple Steps to Enhance Your PDF

Last week the report regarding the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin bullying scandal was released. The scandal is pretty big news here in South Florida, so I decided to take a look at the report. I wasn’t too interested in the content of the report. I was interested in seeing how it was presented, and honestly, I was kind of disappointed.

I realize most people just open this and see a 148 page PDF that was converted from a document created in Word, giving little thought to what could have been done to present this better content-wise, I’m not going to even go there, but one could have done a few relatively simple things in Acrobat just to add a little more functionality to this document and provide a much better experience for the reader

First off, the table of contents could have been linked. This could have been done through Word using the Create PDF function or added in later using Acrobat’s link tool. Same goes for the bookmark navigation. My post on creating bookmarks can be found here.

The document open options could have been set. This is a little-known feature in Acrobat, but you can set a PDF to open the same way no matter the default settings on the end-user’s computer. For example, my default zoom in Acrobat is set so the entire page is visible. My business partner’s machine is set so PDFs open in Acrobat to the Fit Width zoom level. But if you go into the document properties (File->Properties or Ctrl+d) you can set the Initial View so the document will open the same way no matter the end-user’s settings. My personal preference is Bookmark Panel and Page selected, Page layout set to Single Page and Magnification set at Fit Width.


One could also make the page numbers of the document match the numbers of the PDF. So in this example, if I was to go to page 24 of the PDF it is actually page 20 of the document. This can become quite confusing if you are trying to reference a part of the document with a colleague.


So using the Number Pages tool found under the Document Processing heading you can set the document page numbers to match the page in the actual document.


Finally, to really add functionality to the document, the articles cited in Appendix A could have been hyperlinked. I am assuming the documents were attached to the real report, but for me, I had to do a search on Google Scholar to locate some of them. The links could have directed the reader to either a PDF download of the article or to the website where they could be downloaded for a fee.

Again, I am not rendering any sort of opinion on the document’s content. However, adding a few extra features to this simple PDF would make it really stand out. I took the original report and added these little touches. It can be found here. (Note: I didn’t link all of Appendix A; I just did a couple links just to get a feel.) Even an Acrobat novice could accomplish these tasks in less than 30 minutes. This is just a small example of what one can do with PDF documents. Now imagine using these tips on your next filing or demand letter! If you need further assistance in making your PDF documents more user- friendly, feel free to contact us and let us help you out.

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