List PDF Bookmarks with a Free Script

Note: I have an updated version of this script for Acrobat 9 available here.

Legal professionals use PDF bookmarks to mark important sections. Each bookmark goes to a different view or page in the document.

Acrobat 8 Bookmarks panel

Recently, I’ve had several requests from legal customers who want to create a list of all of the bookmarks in their document.

For example:
PDF Bookmark List

Good news! Because Acrobat is extensible using JavaScript, you can create a bookmark listing like the one above (for free!) using the steps provided in this article.

The key is to install a tiny JavaScript sequence file which is accessed using the Batch Processing function of Acrobat Professional.

Read on to…

  • Download a free, pre-built sequence file
  • Install the sequence file
  • Create a new PDF which lists the bookmarks in your file

Download the Sequence File

Below is a PDF file containing the sequence file. Follow the instructions in the PDF to extract the sequence file.

list_bookmarks (214K) (Opens in a new window)

Installing the Sequence File for Acrobat 8

The instructions below have been tested with Acrobat 8. You will need to adjust them as appropriate for previous versions of Acrobat.

Caution
Use of the List Bookmarks sequence file is not supported by Adobe Systems Incorporated. The sequence file is made available as-is and without warranty. Use at your own risk!

The above obligatory warning aside, it works well for me.

  1. Quit Acrobat if it is open.
  2. Extract the sequence file contained in the list_bookmarks PDF to your desktop or other location you can find easily.
    The sequence file is called List all Bookmarks .sequ
  3. Select the List all Bookmarks .sequ file, right-click and choose Copy to place the file to the clipboard
  4. Place the file in the following location:

    WINDOWS
    C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application  Data\Adobe\Acrobat\8.0\Sequences

    MAC OSX PPC
    /Users/<username>/Library/Acrobat User Data/8.0_ppc/Sequences

    MAC OSX INTEL
    /Users/<username>/Library/Acrobat User Data/8.0_x86/Sequences

  5. Restart Acrobat

Note
If you or your IT administrator has customized your installation of Acrobat, you may not be able to find the correct folder at the location noted above. Consult your IT department or use the Search function to find the correct folder.

 

Can’t see Files on Windows?

  1. Go to the Control Panel
  2. Choose Folder Options
  3. Click on the View tab
  4. Find Hidden Files and Folders in the list and double click to open it
  5. Enable “Show hidden files and folders

 

Summarizing Bookmarks using the List Bookmarks Sequence

Create a new PDF listing bookmarks by following these steps:

  1. Open a PDF document in Acrobat Professional which contains bookmarks
  2. Choose Advanced—>Document Processing—>Batch Processing
  3. Choose List All Bookmarks from the list and click the Run Sequence button

    acrobat batch processing window

  4. A new, temporary document titled “Listing of Bookmarks” will open.
  5. Choose File—>Save to the location of your choice.

Troubleshooting

Sometimes, the List All Bookmarks sequence will not generate a summary if:

  • More than one document is open in Acrobat
    Solution: Run the sequence with only a single document open.
  • A document called “Listing of Bookmarks” is already open in Acrobat.
    This is the default file name for the summarized document.
    Solution: Save and close the summarized document before running the sequence again.

Need to do more with bookmarks?

Check out these Acrobat plug-ins which offer the ability to copy, list, audit and fix bookmarks.

Evermap’s AutoBookmark

ISI Toolbox Legal Edition

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