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I have an Excel workbook with an index page containing a series of images, that are each hyperlinked to different worksheets. Can anybody suggest how I can publish this to PDF so that the hyperlinks work in the PDF? When I publish or use PDF Factory, the hyperlinks are not preserved (and bookmarks aren't created for that matter either).

I would prefer to do this with inbuilt functionality or free tools, though any suggestions welcome.

Also, it doesn't necessarily have to be with Excel. Publishing from powerpoint would be almost as good, and failing that, any easy solution which allows me to create a PDF containing clickable images that takes one to internal bookmarks might also be a workaround.

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You really need to either learn the PDF markup or buy Acrobat for that, sorry. – digitxp Feb 1 '11 at 22:31
I've worked out that saving as PDF from Word will do this...i.e. internal hyperlinks are migrated to the PDF. However Excel and Powerpoint don't seem to do it. On the other side, you can edit the resulting PDF with Acrobat or 3rd party tool like Foxit Phantom to insert the links afterwards. – Nicholas Feb 3 '11 at 21:19

10 Answers 10

PDF hyperlinks need to be defined/created with the PDF authoring tool. Excel doesn't know anything about PDFs, so its hyperlinks don't necessarily mean anything in PDF format unless your authoring tool can both read the Excel links and translate them into the PDF it authors. It sounds like pdfFactory doesn't do this on its own. Perhaps pdfFactory Pro would grant you the feature set necessary to achieve this.

Adobe Acrobat is the application that works with the PDF format most natively, and can definitely do this, but it is pricey. There may be alternative 3rd party software that can also do links; you may be able to take your PDF without links and use some software like that to add them later.

This list of PDF software may be helpful.

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Only hyperlinks in Excel(2007) that link to external url work in the conversion to PDF even with Adobe Writer. Internal document reference link do not translate in PDF because the reference is lost in the save as.

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I found that if I save the document as a web page, and then open it via Adobe Acrobat pro, it maintains the hyperlinks (downside is that it stuffs up the formatting).

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Just use Adobe PDF, it works perfectly in there. But make sure the links are linked to defined names, not cells.

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Today I found the solution (I will give my translation of the Italian steps of my Excel 2007 version which might differ from an English version).

  1. Open your Excel file
  2. Click and open all the hyperlinks and TURN THEM ALL RED
  3. Close the umpteen pages you opened (just in case they could create problems)
  4. From the Office icon (or the "File" menu) go to "Save As"
  5. Select PDF or XPS
  6. Click on "Options..." Make sure you click "CONFORM TO ISO 19005-1 (PDF/A)" (may be "ISO 19005-1 compliant (PDF/A)") then OK
  7. In the bottom right, click on PUBLISH (or "Save")

That will save your file as a PDF and your hyperlinks will be active.

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PDF Factory pro just acts like a printer. it takes a 'picture' of your document, and makes it into a PDF.

You will need to use software that actually creates a PDF without a printer driver, such as PDF Studio, Bluebeam, Nitro, Adobe, or several other tools.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

I've worked out that saving as PDF from Word will do this...i.e. internal hyperlinks are migrated to the PDF. However Excel and Powerpoint don't seem to do it.

According to the answer I'll upvote, Excel will export external hyperlinks, not internal.

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I use hyperlinks in Excel 2007 to give a quick way for people to click & view pdf documents from the excel spreadsheet.

Basically I did the following:

  1. Save your PDFs in a folder on your computer/network.
  2. Then add a column in your spreadsheet to put the saved folder location.
  3. Also have the pdf file names in a column as well.
  4. In another blank column, enter a 'hyperlink' function from the Fx toolbar. ="PDF File Folder" (you might need to add an additional / at the end if it is not there) &"PDF Name"

  5. You can also name the hyperlinks whatever you want them to show as, I just list mine as 'Certficate Hyperlink' but that's just my preference.

  6. Click the hyperlink, and it should bring up the PDF listed for that row.

I can send a snap shot example if needed. Good luck, it's a lot easier than expected.

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A workaround is to copy the links into MS Word and then back into Excel. "Laundering" the links through MSWord in this way changes the format of the hyperlink so it is no longer an equation (e.g. =hyperlink(a6,"View")) and is now just a cell with the word View in it with Hyperlink. Now the .pdf will have the correct value.

I want to find a way to change the cell format natively in Excel, rather than copy/paste with Word. If anyone knows how to accomplish that, I would be eternally grateful.

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This looks like a new question rather than an answer... – DavidPostill Jan 3 '15 at 21:27
Welcome to SuperUser. The second paragraph of your post is not an answer but is instead a question of your own. Please post a new question and edit this answer to remove the 2nd paragraph. – Twisty Jan 3 '15 at 21:41

I was not able to get external hyperlinks to export as pdf either by printing to pdf or by save as pdf while using Excel 2007. I was, however able to get the external links to publish to pdf by going to "save as" and then to "other formats" and then selecting .pdf. As for internal links still not working.

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Please note that the question specifically addresses an issue with internal links. Your answer, while helpful, will not resolve that issue. Thus, it is very likely to be removed from Super User. – Oliver Salzburg Jul 27 '12 at 21:07

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