Navigating PDF pages

Opening pages in a PDF

Depending on the PDF you open, you have to move forward through multiple pages, see different parts of the page, or change the magnification. There are many ways to navigate, but the following items are commonly used:

Next and Previous:

The Next Page and Previous Page buttons appear in the Page Navigation toolbar. The text box next to them is also interactive, so you can type a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page.

Scroll bars:

Vertical and horizontal scroll bars appear to the right and bottom of the document pane whenever the view does not show the entire document. To view other pages or different areas of the page, click the arrows or drag.

Select & Zoom toolbar:

This toolbar contains buttons and controls for changing the page magnification.

Page Thumbnails panel:

The Page Thumbnails button on the left side of the work area opens the navigation pane to the Page Thumbnails panel, which displays thumbnail images of each page. To open that page in the document pane, click a page thumbnail.


If you do not see these items, choose View > Show/Hide > Toolbar Items > Reset Toolbars.

Page navigation tools

Page through a document

There are many ways to turn pages in a PDF. Many people use the buttons on the Page Navigation toolbar, but you can also use arrow keys, scroll bars, and other features to move forward and backward through a multipage PDF.

The Page Navigation toolbar opens by default. The default toolbar contains frequently used tools: the Show Next Page , Show Previous Page , and Page Number. Like all toolbars, the Page Navigation toolbar can be hidden and reopened by choosing it in the Toolbars menu under the View menu. You can display more tools on the Page Navigation toolbar by right-clicking the toolbar and choosing an individual tool, Show All Tools, or More Tools and then selecting and deselecting tools in the dialog box.

Move through a PDF

  1. Do one of the following:
    • Click the Previous Page or Next Page button in the toolbar.

    • Choose View > Navigation > [location].

    • Choose View > Navigation > Go To Page, type the page number in the Go To Page dialog box and then click OK

    • Press the Page Up and Page Down keys on the keyboard.

Jump to a specific page

  1. Do one of the following:

    • From Single Page or Two-Up page display view, drag the vertical scroll bar until the page appears in the small pop-up display.

    • To replace the one currently displayed in the Page Navigation toolbar, type the page number and press Enter.


    If the document page numbers are different from the actual page position in the PDF file, the page’s position within the file appears in parentheses after the assigned page number in the Page Navigation toolbar. For example, if you assign numbering for a file that is an 18-page chapter to begin with page 223, the number shown when the first page is active is 223 (1 of 18). You can turn off logical page numbers in the Page Display preferences. See Renumber pages and Preferences for viewing PDFs.

    Logical page numbers

Jump to bookmarked pages

Bookmarks provide a table of contents and usually represent the chapters and sections in a document. Bookmarks appear in the navigation pane.

Bookmarks panel

A. Bookmarks button B. Click to display bookmark options menu C. Expanded bookmark 

  1. Click the Bookmarks button, or choose View > Show/Hide > Navigation Panes > Bookmarks.

  2. To jump to a topic, click the bookmark. Expand or collapse bookmark contents, as needed.

    Depending on how the bookmark was defined, clicking it does not take you to that location but performs some other action instead.

    If the list of bookmarks disappears when you click a bookmark, click the Bookmarks button to display the list again. If you want to hide the Bookmarks button after you click a bookmark, select Hide After Use from the options menu.

Use page thumbnails to jump to specific pages

Page thumbnails provide miniature previews of document pages. You can use thumbnails in the Page Thumbnails panel to change the display of pages and to go to other pages. The red page-view box in the page thumbnail indicates which area of the page appears. You can resize this box to change the zoom percentage.

  1. To display the Page Thumbnails panel, click the Page Thumbnails button or choose View > Show/ Hide > Navigation Panes > Page Thumbnails

  2. To jump to another page, click its thumbnail.

Automatically scroll through a document

Automatic scrolling advances your view of the PDF at a steady rate, moving vertically down the document. If you interrupt the process by using the scroll bars to move back or forward to another page or position, automatic scrolling continues from that point forward. At the end of the PDF, automatic scrolling stops and does not begin again until you choose automatic scrolling again.

  1. Choose View > Display Options > Automatically Scrolling.

  2. Press Esc to stop scrolling.

Retrace your viewing path

You can find PDF pages that you viewed earlier by retracing your viewing path. It’s helpful to understand the difference between previous and next pages and previous and next views.

  • Previous and next pages refer to two adjacent pages, before and after the currently active page.
  • Previous and next view refer to your viewing history. For example, if you jump forward and backward in a document, your viewing history retraces those steps, showing you the pages you viewed in the reverse order that you viewed them.
  1. Choose View > Navigation > Previous View .

  2. To continue seeing another part of your path, do either of the following:
    • Repeat step 1.

    • Choose View > Navigation > Next View .


    You can make the Previous View button  and Next View button available in the toolbar area by right-clicking the Page Navigation toolbar and choosing them on the context menu, or choosing Show All Tools.

Navigate with links

Links can take you to another location in the current document, to other PDF documents, or to websites. Clicking a link can also open file attachments and play 3D content, movies, and sound clips. To play these media clips, you must have the appropriate hardware and software installed.

The person who created the PDF document determines what links look like in the PDF.


Unless a link was created in Acrobat using the Link tool, you must have the Create Links From URLs option selected in the General preferences for a link to work correctly.

  1. Choose the Select tool.
  2. Position the pointer over the linked area on the page until the pointer changes to the hand with a pointing finger. A plus sign (+) or a w appears within the hand if the link points to the web. Then click the link.

PDFs with file attachments

If you open a PDF that has one or more attached files, the Attachments panel automatically opens, listing the attached files. You can open these files for viewing, edit the attachments, and save your changes, as permitted by the document authors.

If you move the PDF to a new location, the attachments automatically move with it.

Article threads

In PDFs, articles are optional electronic threads that the PDF author defines within that PDF. Articles lead readers through the PDF content, jumping over pages or areas of the page that are not included in the article. It is the same way that you skim through a traditional newspaper or magazine, following one specific story and ignoring the rest. When you read an article, the page view zooms in or out so that the current part of the article fills the screen.

Open and navigate an article thread

  1. Click the Hand tool on the Common Tools toolbar.
  2. To open the Articles panel, choose View > Show/ Hide > Navigation Panes > Articles


    You cannot open the Articles panel if you are viewing the PDF inside a web browser. Instead, open the PDF in Acrobat.

  3. To go to the beginning of that article, double-click the Article icon. The icon changes to the Follow Article pointer .


    If the Articles panel is blank, then the author has not defined any article threads for this PDF.

  4. With the article thread open, do any of the following:
    • To scroll through the article one pane at a time, press Enter or click in the article.

    • To scroll backward through the article one pane at a time, Shift-click in the article, or press Shift+Enter.

    • To go to the beginning of the article, Ctrl-click within the article.

  5. At the end of the article, click in the article again.

    The previous page view is restored, and the pointer changes to the End Article pointer .

Exit a thread before the end of the article

  1. Make sure that the Hand tool is selected.
  2. Shift+Ctrl-click the page.

The previous page view is restored.

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