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Link to bookmarks in a PDF

You can't link to bookmarks in PDF. If you're accustomed to thinking of "bookmarks" in the sense that Microsoft Word uses the term, you'll need to make a few mental adjustments in Acrobat.

Adobe and MS use "bookmark" to mean different things. They're both something like a physical bookmark, a bit of paper you stick between the pages of a book to mark a place you want to return to later. But in Word, a bookmark is the place you want to remember, where in PDF, the bookmark is the paper you're marking your place with.

When you look at a bookmarked physical book, you see little slips of paper sticking out from between pages. When you view a bookmarked PDF, you see bits of text down the left side of the screen in the Bookmarks list.

Inside a PDF, a bookmark contains:

- The text of the bookmark - what you see in the bookmarks list

- A destination - the place you wanted to mark with the bookmark

The destination might be a specific page in the current PDF, it might be a named destination in the PDF or it might be some other action like a link to a URL on the web.

PDF's named destinations are pretty much the same thing as what Word calls bookmarks.

So in Word:

Bookmarks mark places you want to jump TO
You click Hyperlinks to jump to Bookmarks


Named Destinations mark places you want to jump TO
You click Bookmarks to jump to Named Destinations

That should help explain why you can't link to bookmarks in PDF.
You wouldn't pull out your battered copy of The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare and turn to the slip of paper marked "To be or not to be". You'd turn to the page marked by the bookmark. Or in a PDF, you'd jump to the named destination.

On a web server, you can Link to PDFs from HTML, and even set links to named destinations.

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