Create a PDF with nice embedded links

Embed nice links in your PDF documentsHow can you add a nicely formatted embedded link to a PDF document? There are a number of PDF creation utilities that will turn any document into a PDF, the common problem that many have is that they will not convert embedded ‘book now’ or ‘click here’ links. They will only make a link from something that looks like the full web address which is often too long and untidy to show in your document.

Are there any free tools to let me add nice links to my PDF?

If you have a full featured commercial PDF creation tool like those from Adobe then you will probably have this ability already. These instructions are for the user who does not want to spend their software budget on PDF’s and focuses on a free alternative.

The problem is that many of the free PDF tools are installed as printer drivers. The advantage is that they can turn anything into a PDF that you can print, the disadvantage is that they can only see what is written on the page and they don’t have access to any embedded link information.

The solution is to use something that knows about the information hidden behind the link, this can either be an add-in to your word processor, or a word processor that already knows how to create a PDF by itself.

In this case I have chosen the latter and simply installed Open Office, which is a great word processor (and everything else) that will be able to open your word document. My client sent me their flyer in word format and I was then able to simply open it in Open Office and select the ‘export as PDF’ option.

You can even set security on the exported PDF in a similar way to PDF Forge (where I have previously written on protecting your content).

The slight downside is that if you are importing documents from other programs like Word then you may have to check the formatting to make sure it all looks OK. If you produce these flyers regularly (and you are on a tight budget) then you may want to consider Open Office for creating them in the first place. Open Office will save in an international standard format but can also save into many other formats such as Microsoft Word.

What if I am on a Mac

If you are using a Mac to produce your newsletter then you probably don’t have this problem. I don’t have access to a Mac to provide screen shots, but I believe if you choose the export to PDF option then this will work (you can’t print to PDF or it may not work). If not then Open Office will also work on the Mac so you can simply use that alongside your existing software.

What about all the other things that PDF lets you do?

If you are producing a lot of documents that need to have fancy features,  then you may find it cost effective to use commercial software from Adobe to help with this as they also include a number of other neat features. If it’s once in a blue moon then the solution above may be all you need. Only you understand how much your time and effort is worth when it comes to ‘free’ alternatives.

So happy “PDF with link” creating,

your ‘Peoples Geek’