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Links and attachments in PDFs

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Quickly apply the same formatting to all links. Open the context menu of the link whose appearance you want to apply to all other links, and select Use Current Appearance As New Default.

PDF links are elements within a document that direct users to a specific location within the same document or to an external resource. It includes a web page, file attachment, or even an email address. You can create links using text, images, or other elements within the PDF.

Links let you jump to other locations in the same document or other documents, including websites, attachments, or an email address.

You can use links to initiate actions to ensure that users have immediate access to related information. You can also add actions to play a sound or movie file.

  1. Choose Edit > Link > Add or edit a link.

    The pointer becomes a cross-hair, and any existing links in the document, including invisible links, are temporarily visible.

  2. Drag a rectangle where you want to create a link. This is the area in which the link is active.
  3. In the Create Link dialog, choose the options you want for the link appearance.

  4. Select one of the following link actions:

    Go to a page view

    Select Next to set the page number, and view the magnification you want in the current document or another document (such as a file attachment). Then select Set Link.

    Open a file

    Select the destination file. If the file is a PDF, specify how the document should open. For example, specify if the document should open in a new or existing window. Then select OK.


    If the filename is too long to fit in the text box, the middle of the name is truncated.

    Open a web page

    Provide the URL of the destination web page.

    Custom link

    Select Next to open the Link Properties dialog. In the dialog, you can set any action, such as reading an article or running a command, to be associated with the link.

You can edit a link at any time. You can change its hotspot area or associated link action, delete or resize the link rectangle, or change the destination of the link. Changing the properties of an existing link affects only the currently selected link. If a link isn’t selected, the properties will apply to the next link you create.


You can change the properties of several links at once if you drag a rectangle to select them using the Link tool.

Move or resize a link rectangle

  1. Choose Edit Link Add or edit a link.

  2. Move the pointer over the link rectangle so that the handles appear.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • To move the link rectangle, drag it.

    • To resize the link rectangle, drag any corner point.

Change the appearance of a link

  1. Choose Edit > Link > Add or edit a link.

  2. Open the Link Properties dialog for the link that you want to edit.

  3. In the Appearance tab, choose a color, line thickness, and line style for the link.

  4. Select a highlight style for when the link is selected:


    Doesn’t change the appearance of the link.


    Changes the link’s color to its opposite.


    Changes the link’s outline color to its opposite.


    Creates the appearance of an embossed rectangle.


    The Link Type, Color, and Line Style options are unavailable if you select the Invisible option for Appearance.

  5. To hide the PDF link, especially if it's on an image, select Invisible Rectangle as the Link Type.

  6. To prevent users from accidentally changing your settings, select the Locked option.

  7. To test the link, select the Hand tool and then select the link. You should be able to jump to the specific location for the link.


    The link properties in the Create Link dialog box apply to all new links that you create until you change the properties. To reuse the appearance settings for a link, right-click the link whose properties you want to use as the default, and choose Use Current Appearance As New Default.

Edit a link action

You can modify a link action to perform a different action when a user activates the link.

  1. Choose Edit > Link > Add or edit a link.

  2. Open the Link Properties dialog for the link whose link action that you want to edit.

  3. In the Actions tab, associate a new action with the link and select OK.

Delete a link

  1. Choose Edit > Link > Add or edit a link.

  2. Select the rectangle containing the link that you want to delete.

  3. Press the Delete key on your keypad.

You can direct users to a PDF attachment by creating a link in the parent PDF document that jumps to the attachment.


File attachments are different from files that can be opened from a link. While linked documents can be stored in other locations, file attachments are always saved with the PDF.

  1. Open a PDF that contains a PDF file attachment.
  2. Go to where you want to create a link. If the location is in the file attachment, select the Attachments file option in the Edit panel and add the file attachment.

  3. Choose Edit > Link > Add or edit a link, and select the area for the link.

  4. In the Create Link dialog, set the link appearance. In the Actions tab, select Go to a page view.

  5. Set the page number and view magnification that you want in the parent PDF document or file attachment. Ensure the file attachment is open before establishing the link, or it won't function properly. Then select Set Link.

Manage destinations

A destination is the end point of a link indicated by text in the Destinations panel. Destinations allow you to set navigation paths across a collection of PDFs. Adobe recommends that you use destinations when linking multiple documents. Unlike direct links to pages, adding or deleting pages within the target document doesn't affect destination links.

You can manage destinations from the Destinations side panel.

  1. From the hamburger menu, choose View > Show/Hide > Side panels > Destinations. All destinations are automatically scanned.

  2. To sort destination names alphabetically, select the Name label. To sort destinations by page number, select the Page label.

  3. Choose Go to Destination from the context menu to navigate to the target location. To delete the destination, choose Delete. To reset the target of the destination to the page displayed, choose Set Destination. To assign a new name to the destination, select Rename.

Create and link a destination

You can create a link to a destination in the same or another PDF.

  1. In the target document (destination), choose View > Show/Hide >Side panels > Destinations from the hamburger menu. If the document already includes a destination you want to link to, you can jump to step 5.

  2. Navigate to the location where you want to create a destination, and set the desired view.
  3. In the Destinations panel, choose New Destination from the Options menu, and name the destination.

  4. Save the target document.
  5. In the source document, choose Edit > Link > Add or edit a link, and drag a rectangle to specify a location for the link.

  6. In the Create Link dialog box, set the link appearance, select Go to a page view, and then select Next.

  7. In the target document, in the Destinations panel, open the destination.

  8. Save the source document.

Work with PDF attachments

An attachment in a PDF document is an external file embedded within the document. Attachments can be various file types, such as images, other PDFs, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, or even multimedia files like audio or video files. Embedding attachments in a PDF provides additional information or resources related to the content of the primary document. It helps users access all necessary files in one place.

Add an attachment

You can attach PDFs and other types of files to a PDF. If you move the PDF to a new location, the attachments move with it. Attachments may include links to or from the parent document or other attachments.

Don’t confuse attached comments with file attachments. A file attached as a comment appears on the page with a File Attachment icon or Sound Attachment icon and in the Comments List with other comments. (See Add comments in a file attachment.)

  1. Choose Edit > More > Attach file.

  2. In the Add Files dialog, select the file you want to attach.


    If you attach EXE, VBS, or ZIP files, a warning indicates that the attachments won't open in Acrobat. These formats are associated with viruses, macros, and malicious programs.

  3. Save the PDF.
  4. (Optional) To add a description to the attachment, select the attached file. From the Options menu, choose Edit Description. Edit the text of the description, and then save the file.

Open attachments

You can open a PDF attachment and modify it if you have the necessary permissions.

For attachments with other file types, you can open or save the files. Opening the file launches the application that handles the file format. However, you'll need the application installed on your computer to open the attachment.

  1. To open the Attachments panel, choose View > Show/Hide > Side panels > Attachments from the hamburger menu.

  2. In the Attachments panel, select the attachment.

  3. From the Options menu, select the appropriate option to open the attachment in its native application, save the attachment, or delete it.

Search attachments

Use the Attachments panel to search for attachments included in your document. Include attached PDFs and other file types when searching for specific words or phrases.

If you're a Windows® user, you can search Microsoft® Office documents (such as .doc, .xls, and .ppt), AutoCAD drawing file formats (.dwg and .dwf), HTML files, and Rich Text Format (.rtf) files.

macOS users can search Microsoft® Word (.doc), HTML, and .rtf files. Search results from attachments appear in the Results list beneath the attachment filename and icon. Search engines ignore attachments in other formats.


To enable Microsoft® and AutoCAD file searches, the IFilters appropriate to the file types must be installed. IFilters are typically installed with their applications, but can also be downloaded from product websites.

  1. To open the Attachments panel, choose View > Show/Hide > Side panels > Attachments from the hamburger menu.

  2. In the Attachments panel, select Search attachment.

  3. In the Search window, type the word or phrase that you want to search for, and then select Search Attachments.

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