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Export to tagged PDF

The export to tagged PDF is done through the regular PDF export dialog in Adobe InDesign CS5.5. Unfortunately Adobe decided two PDF export paths is better than one - forcing users to make a choice where not all implications of such a choice are made clear. We hope that Adobe is going to merge the two PDF export paths back into a single PDF export path with possibly a few new options. Until then we recommend the following:

  • unless you know of an important reason to use the "Adobe PDF (interactive)" PDF export path, simply use the good old "Adobe PDF (print)" export path as it offers better control over a number of features.
  • if nevertheless you are into creating a slide show or need to keep interactive buttons or other interactive features, you may want to look at the "Adobe PDF (interactive)" PDF export path.

For the purpose of this tutorial, we will only make use of the "Adobe PDF (print)" PDF export path.

Save as tagged PDF via "Adobe PDF (Print)"

Configuring the "General" options in the PDF export dialog

If not sure what export setting to start with, use the "High Quality Print" setting and adjust to reflect the recommendations given here:

  1. set Compatibility to at least Acrobat 6 (PDF 1.5), we have chosen Acrobat 8/9 (PDF 1.7) here, as it comes with a few extra capabilities which very often are not crucial though
  2. activate tagged PDF
  3. activate Bookmarks
  4. activate Hyperlinks

Everything depends on your specific needs.

In case you were wondering where the bookmarks would come from - please read on below. Hyperlinks of course will only show up in the exported PDF if you created them in your InDesign document first.

Insert a Table of Contents - even if you do not seem to need one!

Configure main options in the "Table of Contents" dialog

Now configure the main options in the "Table of Contents" dialog:

  • which style sheets to include here
  • activate Create PDF Bookmarks

Everything else is not really important if creating bookmarks in the exported PDF is your only need. Click OK - and InDesign will offer you its placement gun: just drag a rectangle somewhere next to your first document page, but outside the page area.

Table of Contents shows up

As the Table of Contents has been positioned outside the page it will not be included in the resulting PDF page. Nevertheless, InDesign CS5.5 uses it to create bookmarks upon export to PDF (if "Bookmarks" has been activated in the "General" option in the PDF export dialog).

Note: If you are making use of the Table of Contents feature already, and are using it on a page of your document - that is just fine. Then no extra steps are required, simply ensure that "Bookmarks" is activated in the "General" options of the PDF export dialog.

Bookmarks will show up in exported PDF

As you can see in the screenshot, your headings are showing up as bookmarks in the exported PDF.