How can I convert a Word document to PDF and preserve all hyperlinks?

I have Word 2011 and Acrobat XI available on OS X. Save As -> PDF from Word doesn't preserve hyperlinks. Acrobat's File -> Create -> PDF... from the .docx file also doesn't preserve hyperlinks.

When testing this, please use a link whose text is not identical to the URL it is pointing to. Many PDF readers will recognize URLs and automatically make them clickable, even if the PDF doesn't actually contain hyperlinks.

  • Can you give an example of how one link is different in the source and output in regards to "name and target"? – Adam Oct 27 '14 at 21:25
  • @Adam I used a bad phrasing here. I updated the question, let me know if it is clear what I meant. – Szabolcs Oct 27 '14 at 21:31

One potential solution is importing the document into Apple Pages and export from there as PDF. The problems are that this requires the (non-free) Pages and that complex Word documents may not format perfectly in Pages. For my document it worked well.

  • I was excited about the idea, but exporting from Pages to PDF botched my formatting, such as highlighting. – Ryan Apr 18 at 16:26

I had the same problem with Word (14.4.9) from Office 2011.

In the end LibreOffice ( on OS X) did the trick: File menu -> Export as PDF...

I just used the default export options but there are some comprehensive link exporting options in the Link tab panel of the export dialog.


I always end up sending the document to a friend running MS Word for Windows - by far the fastest solution and you maintain any extra formatting. There are other solutions like sending the doc to a gmail account, opening it in Google docs and then exporting to a pdf from there, but some aesthetic changes can be lost in the process.

  • I run Windows 7 in a VM for use cases like this one. – rexford Apr 29 '16 at 7:49
  • This is what we've been doing, and it's one of the many reasons we'll never buy Apple products again. – Ryan Apr 18 at 16:27

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