I was surprised that there is no easy way to remove bookmarks from PDF.
pdftk can't do it, ghostscript same AFAIK, qpdf... and there are no other significant tools that I'm aware of

Easiest for me right now is PDF Mod GUI, which removes bookmarks one by one - user has to click on parent bookmark and press remove, so on for all top level nodes which is silly

Also I know there are probably some Java GUIs that can do it, but I don't want to load java just to remove bookmarks when I need to

I could also accept some programmatic solution, python, perl ...


5 Answers 5


A solution with pdftk from www.witti.ws:

The solution is to specify the page range of the PDF. The documented behavior of the cat operation is to only preserve bookmarks when no page range is specified. It also confirms that A1-end will always include the entire PDF. Testing confirms that this purges the PDF of any bookmarks.

pdftk A=example_input.pdf cat A1-end output example_output.pdf

That worked for me.


If you have Adobe Acrobat Pro you can remove all the bookmarks of your front PDF document using the following simple AppleScript:

tell application "Adobe Acrobat Pro"
    delete bookmarks of document 1
end tell

The easy way I've found to remove all bookmarks from a PDF has been just opening the document and printing it as PDF into a new file.

It works, it's fast, and it's simple.


This worked for me:

pdf2ps mypdf.pdf

I get mypdf.ps, I rename it to mypdf2.ps

ps2pdf mypdf2.ps

The mypdf2.pdf file that I get has no bookmarks

Both programs come with the ghostscript package

  • Despite thrashing my HD, calling ghostscript twice is slower and more memory intensive then loading worse java GUI to handle the problem. It's easier to just print the PDF to another PDF as I'll at least get PDF product with text layer, unlike your example, and faster
    – zetah
    Dec 21, 2011 at 0:56

Here is one easy (though not necessarily cheap) way.

  1. Use Adobe Acrobat DC (or Pro whatever version).
  2. Go here and install the Action "Remove hidden information".

This action also allows you to remove other annoying hidden information other than bookmarks (see image below). This can help reduce the file size.

Used in tandem with Adobe Acrobat's Action Wizard, you can also batch delete bookmarks from any number of PDFs.

enter image description here

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