Re: Problem controlling bookmarks display in generated PDF file

Subject: Re: Problem controlling bookmarks display in generated PDF file
From: Shlomo Perets <mtype -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2001 12:43:28 +0200


You wrote:

Hi everyone. A PDF question. I posted to the PDF list but got no reply.
Hoping someone can help me...

We are using Frame 6.0 and Acrobat 4.05. We have a set of Frame paragraph
tags that we use to generate PDF bookmarks. We print to Distiller, making a
ps file, then run Distiller separately (rather than using Save As PDF).

The problem is that sometimes the generated PDF file shows the bookmarks
display in the left pane collapsed -- just the chapter titles, with the
plus sign next to each one so that the user can expand the tree -- and
sometimes the bookmarks display is partly expanded, showing the second or
even third level of bookmarks.

I haven't been able to find any settings in Frame or Acrobat that would
make a difference. I have also tried the archives and PDFzone... if the
information is there I wasn't able to find it.

We have many documents and would like the PDF files to be consistent in the
way the bookmarks display when the user opens a PDF file. In fact, exactly
what we want is to display only the chapter titles, and the user can expand
if needed.

We have found that if you collapse the bookmarks and then re-save the PDF
file they stay collapsed; but this is too much manual labor for our liking!
There must be some settings somewhere... how does Acrobat determine how to
display the bookmarks?

According to Adobe: "Whether bookmarks are expanded or collapsed when you
open the resulting PDF file in an Adobe Acrobat viewer depends on how many
there are: If the total number of bookmarks is more than 25, they will be
collapsed." (

While the quote above is not entirely accurate (as it is not just the total number
of bookmarks which counts), the impression it creates is true - you have no
control over the expand/collapse state of bookmarks produced by FrameMaker.
Third-level bookmarks are always collapsed, but the expand/collapse state for
first- and second-level bookmarks will vary, based on FrameMaker's arbitrary

There is a free CollapseBookmarks plug-in, available through - obviously much
better than collapsing all bookmarks manually, one by one, prior to finalizing
the PDFs, but this is still a manual operation which has to be repeated for
each PDF, and each time it is recreated.

For an alternative approach, which does not involve any manual intervention,
The CollapseBookmarks function of the TimeSavers is only one of several
bookmark-related functions (together with other functions, not related to
bookmarks). It will also let you specify that first level bookmarks are expanded,
while second-level bookmarks are collapsed - this is desirable in some setups,
where the top-level bookmark identifies the manual, with second-level
bookmarks being the chapters. [The bookmark-related functions of the
TimeSavers are also available separately - these work independently of the
authoring application.]

Shlomo Perets

MicroType *
SP TimeSavers / Bookmark Controller / FM-to-Acrobat Advanced Techniques Training


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