How to Bookmark a Page in a PDF Document in Adobe Reader

Adobe rules the roost when it comes to the Portable Document Format (PDF). Like it or hate it.

Even as Adobe Reader puffed up with importance and size, free PDF alternatives

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 have romped into the scene. They brought in new features and some you could only find in the commercial Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, the paid big brother of the still free Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.

There are still good reasons to use it. A better typography engine, support for 3D content, and the bridge to the Adobe Document Cloud is on top of the list. You have 2 GB of free storage there in the cloud. And, then there are many good reasons to avoid Acrobat Reader

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If you have gone either way, then you will have to live with the pros and cons of both. But, as a layman, I miss one of the most basic features it should have in an application it calls a “Reader”:

You can’t bookmark a page in a PDF document you open with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Imagine you are reading A Game of Thrones (the first book of the A Song of Ice and Fire series). You just left it on Page Number 312. Leaving aside the fact that you should never read it in the PDF, how are you supposed to come back to the same page when you start reading again?

The problem is still unresolved. Adobe has a handy bookmark tool on the left sidebar. But you cannot create your own from there. So, let’s create a few workarounds and solve the bookmark problem.

The Easy Way to Remember a Page in Adobe Reader

Adobe Reader does not let you create and place new bookmarks, but there’s one little setting you can apply that will help the software remember the last page that was opened by the PDF reader. It is “technically” not a bookmark, but it’s a simple checkmark that you should enable always.

Follow the steps below to enable the native feature.

  1. Go to Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Acrobat / Adobe Acrobat Reader > Preferences (Mac OS). You can also use the keyboard shortcut Control + K.
  2. Click on Documents under the listed categories on the left.
  3. As shown in the screenshot below, enable the feature that says – Restore last view settings when reopening documents. Click OK and exit.

Now, open any number of PDF documents; Adobe Reader remembers the page you left it at. This may not be a bookmarking solution, may not give you the option to mark out multiple points in a book, but is a simple elegant answer to our basic requirement when we open up an ebook in a PDF reader

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Use the Markup Tools

The Markup tools provide two distinct workarounds for creating a bookmark.

Highlight Text to Mimic a Bookmark

You may not be someone who highlights and annotates PDF documents

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. Use this feature to bookmark the last read place if you use the Highlight feature in Acrobat Reader sparingly.

  1. The Highlight tool is represented by the symbol of a pen in the Adobe Reader’s toolbar. Click on it to activate the highlighter.
  2. Highlight the part of the text which you want to “bookmark” and come back to later. Save the PDF when you close the Reader.
  3. Scrolling through the pages to arrive at the marked-up highlight can be a chore. Use the Thumbnails view on the left sidebar instead.

Adobe Reader - Bookmark with a Highlight

Remember, you can always delete the highlight as you move ahead through the document. Right-click on the highlighted text (or image) and select Delete from the context menu that pops up.

Bookmark with a Sticky Note and a Comment

Use a similar approach with the Sticky Note tool on the toolbar. It is the most common way to add a comment to a PDF file. You can spot it right next to the Highlight pen. The Sticky Note also gives you the advantage of a timestamp and a text area where you can add your own comments — in the best traditions of adding book notes to the margins.

Bookmark with a Comment

Now, you can easily jump to the specific comment you added to the note. Open the PDF document in the Acrobat Reader.

  1. Go to View > Tools > Comment> Open.
  2. The Comments list appears in the right pane of the document window. It displays all comments in a PDF and also displays a toolbar with common options, such as sorting, filtering, and other options to work with comments. Click on the comment and jump to the specific location in the document.

Comments in Adobe Acrobat

Did you notice the many annotations and drawing markup tools in the comment toolbar? These options are incredibly powerful ways to make your reading more immersive and involved. The complete breakdown of each tool is outside the scope of this article, but this Adobe Help page will take you through them all.

Annotation Tools in Adobe Acrobat

You can use the text and drawing tools in the toolbar to mark segments or sentences that are significant. The best way to remember all that you read

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is to connect the information to details that exist outside the PDF document.

But, we still haven’t arrived at a precise way to bookmark a PDF document in the Acrobat Reader. It’s time to look at a hack supplied by a third-party.

A JavaScript Hack that Works with Adobe Acrobat

Call this a plug-in or an Adobe hack, but it is the only solution I could find to deliberately introduce a bookmarking feature in Adobe Reader. The small 5 KB JavaScript file is packaged in a downloadable ZIP file at PDF Hacks.

  1. Download and unzip the small file. Copy the file (“bookmark_page”) into your Acrobat Reader JavaScript’s directory. In my Windows 10 machine it is located at – C:Program FilesAdobeAcrobat Reader DCReaderJavascripts.
  2. Launch a PDF file with Adobe Acrobat Reader and open the View menu. Four new items are clearly visible on the menu:
    Bookmark This Page> Bookmark This page.
    > Go To Bookmark.
    > Remove a Bookmark.
    > Clear Bookmarks.
  3. The numbers (5,6) next to the top two options refer to the keyboard shortcut keys.
  4. The functions are pretty much self-explanatory. From the page you want to bookmark, click on Bookmark This Page. The following box opens up and you can assign a name to the bookmark.Give a name to the bookmark
  5. Clicking on Go To Bookmark opens up a floating box and a click on each takes you to each successive bookmark you have set. You can bookmark as many numbers of pages as you want.Click on a bookmark.
  6. The other two options in the menu are also clear. The Remove a Bookmark command allows you to remove a single bookmark and Clear Bookmarks wipes out all the bookmarks in one go.

Do Note: For some PDF files, the hack works smoothly. In others, you might get an internal error notification. To resolve it, go to Edit> Preferences. Scroll down the categories and select JavaScript. Place a check against Enable Acrobat JavaScript. Click OK and exit.

Enable Javascript.

Is the Absence of a Bookmark Feature a Deal Breaker?

We still need our PDF files and a powerful reader

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. The Adobe Acrobat Reader is just that — a simple reader of PDF files. It is meant to be a stepping stone to the full-fledged Adobe Acrobat Pro DC which allows bookmark creation.

Over time, the free version has introduced the markup tools and better security features. But, coding in a bookmark structure is a different ballgame. So, tell us about your tryst with PDF bookmarks.

Do you know of any other way to bookmark ebooks in Adobe Reader? Which is your favorite PDF reader? Does it allow bookmarks?

Image Credit: mizar_219842/Depositphotos

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