After converting a Word document to PDF using Adobe Acrobat Pro 9.9.3, I open the created PDF and want to highlight the hyperlinks in the document so that the user could see that there's something clickable.

In general, this works fine, but there's strange stuff in the TOC of the document (the TOC was created in Word):

pdf screenshot

See what I mean? I added a blue border around each hyperlink. But where do these hyperlinks after the chapter number come from? They point to the same place where also the chapter numbers point to.

Relevant PDF creation settings are:

  • convert Word headings to hyperlinks
  • convert Word styles to hyperlinks

De-selecting convert Word styles to hyperlinks doesn't change anything.

Obviously this is caused by my styles for the TOC, but I can not figure out, what it is...

After playing around with the formatting of my TOC styles, I figured out that it only happens, when my selected font size of a style is smaller than 12pt. Maybe this helps anyone to provide me an answer. I refuse to believe that changing the font size of the TOC entries results in different hyperlinks...

I had a look on the styles used in the resulting TOC:toc

Green marks text formatted as hyperlink, red marks text being formatted as toc-style-1 (or whatever this may be called in an english Word). I think, this might be a cause but I'm giving up now, waiting for the brave guy that understands what's going on.

Answering questions asked by Arjan in his comments:

  1. In Word, the whole line is clickable
  2. The dots are visible in the PDF. They are defined to be the filling mark between the heading title and the page number
  3. Yes, the dots are clickable in the PDF.
  4. The relevant hyperlink covers the whole line from beginning of chapter title until the end of the line number
  5. If I change the numbering of my chapters from using tabs between number and text to spaces between number and text, the hyperlink in the TOC changes: it now covers all the line from start of chapter number until end of page number. But there's still such a hyperlink fragment after the TOC entry.
  6. When I copy the line from PDF, the dots are just dots.
  • As an aside: if this a regular thing you need to do, then surely you can change the formatting of URLs in Word?
    – Arjan
    Feb 24, 2011 at 13:21
  • @Arjan: I tried that but couldn't get it to work. The advantage of formatting the hyperlinks directly in PDF is, that they are not present when you print the document. That way, you get an accessible screen version and a non-disturbing print version.
    – eckes
    Feb 25, 2011 at 7:53
  • No matter what (main) style: things could always be a hyperlink. I'd guess one wants the whole line to be clickable, so "convert Word styles to hyperlinks" should probably be enabled. In Word: 1) Are the red parts clickable too? In the PDF: 2) Are the dots (the 2nd red part) visible? 3) Are the dots clickable? 4) Are the dots part of the same hyperlink as the heading text and the page number? If all yes: then what if you change your TOC to use spaces between the heading number and header text? (Just for a test; it won't look well with spaces.)
    – Arjan
    Feb 25, 2011 at 9:59
  • As for font size: indeed the "Tabs" (or whatever they are) are taller in your first screen capture. Then, to get the right clickable region, I guess Adobe has no other choice than to start a new hyperlink? 5) Are the dots taller too?
    – Arjan
    Feb 25, 2011 at 10:01
  • One more thing, if you copy a line from the PDF: 6) Are the dots a Tab?
    – Arjan
    Feb 25, 2011 at 10:03

2 Answers 2


Seems to me that every line has a single hyperlink, covering the number, Tab character and its title. Next, in the PDF, this is split up in three parts, due to the absolute positioning of the text in the PDF. I'm quite sure you'll get a Tab character when copying that second hyperlink.


Solution for me is to change the formatting of headings (not of the TOC elements): When I change the character after the chapter number from TAB to SPACE, the generated TOC is as I expected it.

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