Bookmarks are text based links that live in the Bookmarks Panel along the left edge of Acrobat & Reader’s interface. They are very useful in accurately navigating through a long PDF file. Seasoned Acrobat/Reader users know to look for bookmarks right away, but what of the newcomers to Acrobat files? Can we assume that any PDF file with bookmarks will be showing those bookmarks automatically? Unfortunately, the answer is no. You can download a huge PDF file that is artfully loaded with bookmarks, and have a novice never even know that the bookmarks exist.
I believe that if the Bookmarks Panel is open, even the 1st time Reader user will click on a bookmark to see what it does. That same user might not even know to click on the Bookmark Panel’s icon to snap it open.
How can you force any PDF file to open with the Bookmarks Panel showing? The switch is located on the Initial View section of the file’s Properties Dialog Box. Choose File > Properties (the keyboard shortcut is Ctrl-D or Cmd-D on the Macintosh). The very first option presented is labeled Navigation Tab. If this option is set to Page Only, that document will open with just the page content showing every time.
To force the Bookmarks Panel to be open every time the file is launched, change this to read Bookmarks Panel and Page. If you save the file, close and reopen it, you will see the Bookmarks Panel open automatically.
There are many other settings in this dialog box to explore, such as the Magnification & Page Layout options. You can even force your PDF file to open up without toolbars or the menu bar showing. Experiment and see how you can change the way the file opens after each tweak.
Don’t let your PDF file be the one that doesn’t get read thoroughly because the file’s bookmarks were never discovered. You spent the time and effort making them, put them in your audiences view from the start.