Linking to Pages or Destinations Within PDFs


When it comes to providing reference to another piece of content, nothing beats the mighty hyperlink when you’re browsing the Web. Whether the referenced content is contained in the same web page, document or on another server, a simple hyperlink gets readers there.

The power of hyperlinks, however, is not reserved solely for web pages; documents you create with PDF software also have the ability to link to additional content. You can insert links that take readers to a website, a page in the current document, a section of the current document, or even another document stored on an internal server or the Internet, providing you’re using PDF software, such as Foxit PhantomPDF, that enables you to do so.

Let’s take a look at some of the kinds of links this kind of PDF software enables you to create.

The Rectangle Link

The most common method of creating hyperlinks with PDF software such as PhantomPDF is to draw a rectangle.

Selecting EDIT > Links > Link in the PhantomPDF application brings up this capability. After opening, you simply hold down the mouse and draw a rectangle on the page—or a perfect square if you prefer, by holding the Shift key while drawing. Once you’ve drawn a rectangle, the Create Link dialog box appears allowing you to choose a variety of attributes for the link, such as:

  • Thickness of the sides
  • Border style (solid, dashed or underline)
  • Highlighting effects once the link is clicked
  • Outline and inset of the shape
  • Color of the shape

Of course, your final option is the destination of the link—as in, where readers go when they click the link. Using PDF software such as PhantomPDF, you may set the destination as a page in the current document, as a page in another document, as a named position or as a web page.

The rectangle link is a useful option when creating a hyperlink that surrounds an image or a large block of text, but there are various methods to create links within PDF software that don’t use up quite as much real estate.

Other Links

The most common link you tend to encounter is a web link—one that takes you to a specific web page. In common PDF software applications you can create web links by typing the URL address in the content of the document and then choosing the Create Links from URLs feature. This will turn every web link in the file into a working hyperlink.

The other common link tool used in PDF software is the Bookmarking tool that allows you to set specific points within the document. Bookmarks assigned to these points allow readers easy navigation with a click. This feature is extremely useful when creating a table of contents or a sidebar to the PDF file. Once you create the bookmarks, you have the option to organize their hierarchy, expand or collapse them, or edit and move them so that they best reflect the structure of the document itself.

Links provide your documents with a great amount of credibility. You can use links to external files to support points made in your content. External links also provide additional information on a topic for curious readers. Meanwhile, internal links make the overall document more manageable and organized.

Each of these benefits helps give readers the impression that the content of the document is important and that you took the time to make sure they would be able to easily learn more—and learn more efficiently.

19 thoughts on “Linking to Pages or Destinations Within PDFs

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  4. mike

    With Standard version
    I frequently create PDF’s from within Excel, with one cell hyperlinked. How can I get this hyperlink in the PDF without doing back flips? There used to be a way, with previous versions, but nothing seems to work now.

  5. d.carnadi

    I read many technical PDF ebooks.
    Ofttimes I read:
    “..bias network and an input coupling capacitor [Fig.11.28(a)]…”
    “Figure 11.28” is in another page.
    “From Fig. 11.30 and Eqs. (11.58) and (11.59), we can express the poles as ..”
    Equations 11.58 and 11.59 are in another page.

    How can one automates all the linking between “Fig.11.28(a)”s and the objects(pages)?
    With JavaScript for PDF?
    Or has Foxit-Software already this automated feature?
    Thank you.

    1. FOXITBLOG Post author

      That is an interesting concept. We do not automatically generate those links today, but its something for us to think about for a future enhancement.

    1. FOXITBLOG Post author

      I don’t know Microsoft Publisher so I can’t give you the best answer. You might want to try exporting the PDF to Microsoft Word and then importing the Word file into Publisher.


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