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PDF Compiling and Linking Tutorial

Created by Brian Geyer
Maintained by LEADR under the direction of Alice Lynn McMichael

Last Updated: 3/30/2018 - Needs Updating

This tutorial will cover the basics of merging several documents into one pdf and creating links within that pdf that lead to various sections. For a full example, please see this pdf example file (dead link).

Merging Files

The first step to merging several files into one pdf file is to make sure you have all of the individual files already completely written and saved on your computer. Navigate to and begin adding files, in order, to the website through the drag-and-drop method. It is best to add them in order because this particular site only allows users to merge 20 documents at a time. There is also a limit to the total number of merges an individual user can use with a single computer over 24 hours, so try to limit your errors, otherwise you’ll have to find another computer, or wait until the next day, to complete the process.

When adding a file for which you only need a single or a few pages, click on the red button with a pair of scissors on it, then write into the box that appears the specific pages you want to include. For instance, if you are using only the first page of a document as an example of the whole document, type the number “1” in this box. After you have added all of your files - or, up to 20 files - in the correct order and composed of the right pages within each file (if necessary), then click the red “Convert” button at the bottom of the page. The process will take a while, but will eventually prompt you to save the file. You should have left most of the settings alone so that the website will compile all of your files into a single pdf. After this, review the file. If you have made any mistakes, you can click back to view your previous project and make any necessary changes before running the Convert process again. If you are compiling more than 20 files, then do them in batches of up to 20 at a time, and then compiling them into one large file.

Linking within PDF

Once you have a fully-compiled file, you can open it with Adobe Acrobat Pro and start creating links within the file. First, use the text highlighting tool and highlight the appropriate text and right-click on it to bring up a list of options. Click on “Create Link.” The Create Link options box will open. Set the desired settings and click Next. Then, it will prompt you to set the page and zoom for the link.

Type in the correct pdf page number for your link to jump to the right place and then click “Set Link.” Go through the entire document and set all of the links. If you wish, simply create the links themselves, but don’t worry at the beginning about setting the correct pages.

Once all of your links have been created, click on the “Tools” option near the top-right of the window, then choose the “Content” sub-menu to find the “Link” tool. This will highlight all of the links in your pdf (even if you chose to use invisible boxes), so you can quickly find them. Right-click on each link and choose “Properties…” Choose the “Actions” Tab, and then click the “Edit” button to make changes to the Zoom setting and, if you didn’t already properly set the specific link page, write in the correct link page. Set the zoom setting to “Inherit Zoom.” Make sure to hit “OK” for all of the open dialogues to save the settings. Do this for every single link in your document, so that anyone who reads your document and clicks on your links doesn’t have the file reset the zoom level every time (which can get really annoying). After you’ve completely set all of the links, save your file.

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