Creating Destinations by Text Search in PDF Documents
This tutorial shows how to create destinations by text search in PDF documents using the AutoBookmark™ plug-in for the Adobe® Acrobat®. PDF destinations are named page views that can be used by links, bookmarks and external references to point to the specific page locations. The Adobe Acrobat provides only a manual way for creating named destinations. It is slow and impractical for large documents. The AutoBookmark adds a number automated methods for creating PDF destinations:
  • By text search (via automated bookmarks, links or highlights generation)
  • From existing links and bookmarks
  • From a text file
  • From Bates numbers
It is a common task to create destinations for locations of the specific text or pattern within the PDF document. For example, if the document contains chapter titles such as "1.2 Chapter name", then named destinations can be generated for every possible chapter title present in the document. Each destination should point to the exact location of each chapter title. This can done by using a two-step procedure:
  1. Generate bookmarks by text search (or use any other available method)
  2. Create destinations from the bookmarks
This operation is also available in the Action Wizard (Acrobat's batch processing tool) with the AutoBookmark™ Pro plug-in and can be used for processing multiple documents at once.
You need a copy of the Adobe® Acrobat® along with the AutoBookmark™ plug-in installed on your computer in order to use this tutorial. You can download trial versions of both the Adobe® Acrobat® and the AutoBookmark™ plug-in.
Step 1: Generate Bookmarks By Text Search
1.1 Open a PDF Document
Start the Adobe® Acrobat® application and open a PDF document using "File > Open..." menu.
Open a PDF document
1.2 - Open the "Bookmark Text Patterns" Dialog
Select a sample text. It will be used to get text properties such as font name and size for automated bookmarking.
Select a sample text
Select "Plug-Ins > Bookmarks > Bookmark Text Patterns..." in the main menu to open the "Bookmark Text Patterns" dialog.
Open the Bookmark Text Patterns dialog
1.3 - Specify Text Pattern for Bookmarking
Click "Add Level..." in the "Bookmark Text Patterns" dialog.
Click Add Level
Enter a text pattern (regular expression) into the "Find text pattern:" entry field. In this tutorial, we need to find text that matches the following format: "3.1 Chapter name". We use \d+\.\d+ [^\n]+ regular expression to do that. Here is a detailed explanation of this text pattern:
  • \d+ - matches one or more digits.
  • \. - matches a period character.
  • \d+ - matches one or more digits.
  • [^\n]+ - matches any character except of end-of-the-line. It will essentially match all text on the single line.
In our example, chapter titles have a distinctive text style. It is possible to restrict text search only to text that uses a specific font name and/or size.
Click the "Font Filter..." button in the "Bookmark Level Settings" dialog to restrict text search to a single font style.
Enter text pattern
Check the "Match font name:" and "Match font size:" boxes in the "Select Font Filter" dialog. Click the "Set Font Attributes From Selected Text" button. The font name and style would be set based on a current text selection (see Step 1.2).
Click "OK" to close the "Font Filter" dialog.
Set font attributes from selected text
Click "OK" in the "Bookmark Level Settings" to close the dialog.
Close the dialog
1.4 - Generate Bookmarks
Click "OK" in the "Bookmark Text Patterns" dialog to generate bookmarks.
Generate bookmarks
The confirmation dialog appears on the screen. Click "OK" to close the dialog.
Close the dialog
All chapter titles are now bookmarked:
The software has created bookmarks
Step 2 - Generate Named Destinations
Select "Plug-Ins > Destinations > Create from Bookmarks..." in the main menu to open the "Convert To Named Destinations" dialog.
Open the Convert to Named Destinations dialog
Click "OK" in the "Convert To Named Destinations" dialog to generate named destinations from the bookmarks.
Generate destinations
The confirmation dialog appears on the screen with the number of named destinations created. Click "OK" to close the dialog.
Close the dialog
Open Destinations panel to see the newly created destinations.
Named destinations have been created
Destinations point exactly to the same locations as the corresponding bookmarks.
Destination example
Note that bookmarks have been converted to use named destinations to point to the pages. The following example shows a bookmark action before and after the conversion.
Bookmark action before the conversion:
Bookmark action before
Bookmark action after the conversion:
Bookmark action after
If this is not desirable and the bookmarks need to use the direct page references, then select "Plug-Ins > Destinations > Convert Bookmarks and Links Not To Use Destinations ..." from the main menu.
Convert bookmarks and links not to use destinations
Click "OK" in the "Convert Bookmarks and Links Not To Use Destinations" dialog to convert bookmark and link actions to use direct page references instead of named destinations.
Click OK
Step 3 - Delete Bookmarks (Optionally)
If bookmarks are not desired, then delete them by selecting "Plug-Ins > Bookmarks > Delete All..." menu. Deleting the bookmarks is not going to affect destinations.
Delete all bookmarks
Click "OK" to delete all bookmarks from the active PDF document.
Click OK
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