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Adobe Acrobat: Splitting a PDF using Bookmarks

by Barb Binder, Adobe Certified Instructor on Acrobat

This question came up in a FrameMaker class recently: my student needed to provide a single PDF for a large project, and then break it into smaller sections for posting online. FrameMaker has a checkbox for this function and that solved her issue.

FrameMaker: General separate PDF document for each selected file

But then it came up again in an InDesign class from a student who works on long documents (200+ pages) and needed a way to quickly break up her PDF into smaller sections, again for posting online. There isn’t a handy checkmark in the InDesign Export to PDF dialog box.

Bookmarks to the rescue

Acrobat has a few different ways to split up a PDF into multiple, smaller files, and one of them is by top level bookmarks. As long as you are generating bookmarks when you create a PDF from InDesign (this works with Word docs, too), you can ask Acrobat to break up the file for you.

Adobe Acrobat DC

  1. Choose View > Tools > Organize Pages > Open to open the Organize Pages toolbar.
    Using bookmarks to split a PDF
  2. Click the Split button.
    Using bookmarks to split a PDF
  3. Choose Top level bookmarks from the Split by menu, and click on Split.
    Using bookmarks to split a PDF

Adobe Acrobat X and XI

  1. Choose View > Tools > Pages to open the Tools panel.
    Using bookmarks to split a PDF
  2. Click the Split Document button.
    Using bookmarks to split a PDF
  3. Select Split document by: Top-level bookmarks and click on OK.
    Using bookmarks to split a PDF

 

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2 thoughts on “Adobe Acrobat: Splitting a PDF using Bookmarks

  1. Another useful feature: after selecting top-level bookmarks then select Output Options > File Labeling and select use bookmark names for file names. I use this feature to split batch invoice files to split and rename each invoice document for distribution to our clients.