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PDFs are some of the most widely-downloaded documents on the internet. If you’ve ever downloaded an ebook, a printable, or a worksheet, you’ve most likely downloaded a PDF.
I love PDFs because they make it super easy for all of your formatting to stay the same no matter what device it’s opened on. Does the person you’re sending the file to not have the correct font? No worries! It will still show up just fine.
But there’s one thing that really makes your PDFs go above-and-beyond: links. So why are they so useful, and how do you add them?
Why should you add links to your PDF?
Links are super helpful if a) your document is really long, or b) you’re talking about stuff that can be expanded online.
Linking to a different page in the document is super helpful for ebooks. Imagine if you go to the table of contents and see a chapter you want to go to. Just click on the chapter name and voila! You’re there. Amazing, right?
Linking doesn’t have to be reserved to the document, though. You can also link to URLs and email addresses. Say, for example, you’re working on your media kit and want to link to your most popular posts. You can even include a cute note saying “pssst! they’re links!” so the person looking at your media kit knows to click on them to see the post for themselves.
Or, at the end of your ebook, you can include your email address for inquiries. You can even set up the subject of the email automatically so the reader doesn’t have to worry about it!
Okay, okay. You get it. Links in PDFs are awesome. So how do you do it?!
How to add a link to a PDF in InDesign
First, you’ll want to open up a new document or an existing file. Get everything designed like you want it. I like to keep the link-making to the end in case anything changes.
Go to Window –> Interactive –> Hyperlinks. Don’t confuse “links” with “hyperlinks.” The “links” window refers to photos that are “linked” into the document from elsewhere on your computer, while “hyperlinks” are the links we want to create in the file.
Highlight the text and / or image you want to create into a link. That’s right, you can create links via images as well!
Open the Hyperlinks window and click on the “new” icon. It looks like a post-it note with the bottom left corner turned up. At this point, a dialogue box should pop up like this:
To insert a link to a URL: Make sure “URL” is selected from the “Link To:” drop-down menu. Paste the desired URL into the URL box and click OK.
To insert a link to an email: Select “Email” from the “Link To:” drop-down menu. Paste the email address you’d like the email to go to, and include the subject line for the email as well. Click OK.
To insert a link to a different page in the PDF: Select “Page” from the “Link To:” drop-down menu. Select the page you’d like to link to and click OK.
Repeat as needed. Boom! You’re a link-building machine!
Export the file as an Interactive PDF. Go to File –> Export and select Adobe PDF (Interactive) for the file type. If you select Adobe PDF (Print), the links won’t be active.
And voila! You’re done. Ever since I’ve learned how to add links to my PDFs, I’ve been throwing them in everywhere. My logo? Link to my website. Social profiles? Link to them. Popular posts? Link to them.
What are you waiting for?! Go and make your PDFs super impressive!
Super helpful! Andrew does a lot of my in design work 🙂
That’s awesome! Gotta love a great husband-wife team 🙂
Super helpful. You are so great at this techy stuff! I wish I were you! lol
Haha aww, thanks Chelsea! That means a lot 🙂
Emily Vanderhoof says
What a great post. So helpful and well spelled out! Thanks!
Thanks, Emily! Glad I could help!
I don’t know if I have PDF design. I don’t use pdf files as much.
That’s really interesting! I feel like I use PDFs all the time, so it’s interesting to hear from people who don’t. 🙂 Thanks, Beth!
Shann Eva says
Great information! This would be really helpful for my media kit. Thank you!
Glad I can help, Shann! 🙂
Routin Syrups says
What happens if you’ve done page links but for some reason a few just don’t work when you publish?
Hmm. I’d check that all of the links in the Hyperlinks window have green circles next to them. And if they’re still not working, it could be that the hyperlinked text or object is too small, so you’re not actually hovering over it when you think you are. I’d create a hyperlinked transparent box around the object or text, and make it bigger than the original link. Hopefully one of those two works!
Routin Syrups says
Thanks. I finally deleted all the links from the ones that weren’t working and then redid them – oddly exactly the same way, but they do now work. I’m one very happy bunny!
Wonderful! Glad you got them working. 🙂
I am trying to add a file as a link in my interactive pdf. The only problem is that when I open the PDF linked in the Interactive PDF file, the new PDF replaces the original PDF in the Adobe window. Any thoughts on fixes for this?
Caitlin Honard says
Hmmm, I’ve never run into that problem before! My guess is it’s a setting in your PDF reader, so I’d check your settings.