Let's say you have 5 .docx files, A-E. Some links in A.docx point to (probably relatively) to B.docx. So you would have a sentence in A.docx that says something like "For more information on this topic, see B.docx" and a link associated with B.docx that opens up that document (maybe the link is file:\c:\docs\B.docx).

What I want to do is combine the 5 .docx files into 1 PDF file, with each .docx file being appended to the one before it. I want links preserved, but changed to reflect the new 1 whole PDF document instead of 5 separate ones. So instead of the link being file:\c:\docs\B.docx, it should be now be something local since B.docx is now integrated in one file with A.docx. So we need a bookmark or something else in order to get to the first page of B.docx.

Right now, these type of links in the combined PDF still try to reach a separate document and give me a "File Not Found" type of error. I suppose I expect this on the surface, but I am trying to find a way to correct it.

Does this make sense?

Optimally, I would like a non-brute force, reusable method to accomplish this task (either within Word or programmatically) without having to cut and paste B.docx to the bottom of A.docx, then cut C.docx to the bottom of what is now A|B.docx, etc. and then manually add bookmarks and change the links. However, I am almost resigned to the point that I will have to go the cut | paste, add new bookmarks, change all links manually route. The problem is that each document can be on the upward of 300-400 pages, making cut | paste a bit of a pain.

Note 1: The way I create the 1 PDF is by "Save As" each .docx file as a .pdf from Word, then using Adobe Acrobat to combine the .pdf files into 1.

Note 2: Someone else on another forum actually had the same problem and wrote the question this way... "I've created hyperlinks from one DOC file to bookmarks in another. When converting to PDF, I've combined the DOC files to create a single PDF document. In the PDF document, the hyperlinks open the DOC version of the file rather than linking to a page in the PDF document. Is there a way to have the hyperlink convert so that it's not opening a DOC file but rather pointing to the correct bookmark in the PDF doc?"

Note 3: All local hyperlinks work fine when I combine the documents into one PDF. It is the cross-document links that I am trying to figure out the best way to handle.

  • Would you be able to create a Section in MS Word and then insert each document into their own section (to preserve formats and headers/footers) and then create a PDF from the one combined document? – kobaltz Jul 15 '11 at 2:33
  • Do the sections give each document their own domain space such that even though they are all in the same combined document, the cross-document links act as if they are going to different files within that combined document? In other words, do the section breaks emulate different documents within the same document? – Joel Marcey Jul 15 '11 at 3:17
  • Sort of. For example, if you have two sections within one Microsoft Word document, you would be able to have the first section numbered a,b,c,etc. for the pages in the footer. You can also leave out a header. On the second section, you can create new footers numbered numerically for the pages and a different header. You can also use sections to have one group of pages in a different paper layout (landscape vs portrait) as well as different sizes. – kobaltz Jul 15 '11 at 3:28

Is there a reason you cannot create one long word document prior to creating the PDF? The PDF system is not "intelligent" enough to note that the files you were referencing first were turned into pdf files and then that those pdf files were merged.

What you need to do is when creating the merged file, merge the file in Word and create internal links as you note you have in other places in the document. Then turn this merged document file into a pdf file.

  • Unless I am misunderstanding, that basically ends up being the "brute force" method that I have come to realize may be the only option. The reason I did not combine the 5 documents into Word first then PDF was that Word gets very sluggish when we are dealing with 1000s of pages. But, I am going that route now. I am really wondering if there is "intelligence" for Word to know that I am pasting document B into document A, and update any cross-document links into local relative links accordingly. It's looking unlikely though. So manual link changes are on the horizon after the Word merge. – Joel Marcey Jul 15 '11 at 21:19
  • 1
    Like you, I doubt there is such "intelligence" in Word. But even beyond that, the process you describe in your question seems to expect that "intelligence" and even a greater degree of it, in Adobe Acrobat, where I'm sure you agree it's probably not even as likely there as it is in Word. – music2myear Jul 15 '11 at 21:21
  • music2myear -- 100% agree. I imagine I could probably scratch up some code to search the combined Word document for file:// links and revise them to some sort of local bookmark based link. I just got to decide if it is worth the trouble to define my own "intelligence" :-) – Joel Marcey Jul 15 '11 at 21:26

I assume you want to use external files as a way to build together your final document from different files while keeping each part separate on disk.

You may find you can still achieve this and also what you are asking here by embedding your documents in the final document using INCLUDETEXT. You can then use local links to bookmarks which are found in the source document. In theory this should work (I have not tested so let me know how it goes) as the bookmarks and content is "copied" into the document.

The links to the bookmarks should then work and the files still remain external as you still make changes in each separate document and then update the main document to include the changed content.

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