Tips & Tricks

Printing Your PDF Bookmarks

February 08, 2005


Bookmarks are wonderful navigational tools for PDF documents, and they are also a great way of organizing your documents. You need the full version of Acrobat to create Bookmarks, and they will be displayed in a side-panel on the left of your document view window. When you click on a Bookmark you are instantly transported to the bookmarked page.

How do Bookmarks come into play for attorneys? Lots of ways, but here is one scenario that comes up a lot in a litigation practice.

The usual drill for a paralegal to scan a batch of discovery documents in as one lump file and then bookmark the beginning pages of each document. Having one lump file makes it easier to scroll through a bunch of documents (i.e. if you scanned each document in as a separate file then you'd have to be opening new files for every document you wanted to look at, and no one has the patience for that). And bookmarking the first page of each document makes it easy to navigate to a document that you need to look at.

So let's say you've scanned in a bunch of documents and you have lots of nicely organized bookmarks that list the names of the documents that you have scanned in. What happens if you want to print out a list of your bookmarks? That's how you would get an inventory of the documents that you have in that file, right?

Well, there are a few ways you can do it:

One is with an Acrobat plug-in like the one created by IntelliPDF, which costs $99. The nice thing about this plug-in is that you can select just certain bookmarks, or all of them, if you want.

Another third-party plug-in is Appligent's $199 Retrieval Utilities, which includes a utility called APGetBookmarks that dynamically gets a list of all bookmarks within PDF documents and reports them back in text form. The utility will do the following:

  • list the Bookmarks in the PDF document in a Numbered and Indented Hierarchy
  • list the corresponding Page Numbers for each Bookmark
  • list the Full Path in the Document Hierarchy for Each Bookmark,
  • and more...

Image Solutions has ISIToolBox that does all kinds of things with PDFs and includes a utility to export bookmarks and/or links into a comma separated value (CSV) file data format, which can be imported either into a spreadsheet application or word processor. Unfortunately, this program is quite pricey, at $750 for the Standard Edition.

Another, albeit more complicated, way that supposedly works with Acrobat is this:

  1. Open the File menu, point to Batch Processing, and click List all Bookmarks. If that option isn't available, you'll need to copy that SEQU file from the Acrobat installation CD and put it in Acrobat's sequences folder (defaults to "C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat X\Acrobat\Sequences\ENU" where "X" is your Acrobat version number.)
  2. When prompted, select the PDF for which you want to print bookmarks. The batch sequence will read through the PDF and create a new PDF that lists all the bookmarks in the original.
  3. Print the new PDF that the sequence created.

The best solution is probably to use a separate program like CaseMap to keep track of your documents. CaseMap helps you keep track of more than just documents, and really is an indispensable program. In fact, CaseMap has a plug-in that allows you to integrate your PDF documents into a case database in CaseMap. But that is a topic for another day.

This piece originally appeared on, and has been reproduced with permission.

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