9 Replies Latest reply: Feb 27, 2012 6:34 AM by Karen_Little RSS

    InDesign to Adobe Acrobat to Adobe Reader Link problem

    Karen_Little Community Member

      Hi - I'm responsible for a long conversation about link problems in creating file links in InDesign that did not work in Acrobat. At the end of that long discussion, I thought I solved the problem, but didn't. Since then, I've been MUCH more observant.

       

      The problem appears to take place in Adobe Reader.

       

      My home computer on Win7 is different than my work Computer (XP), but I have the same software on both.

       

      At work, I discovered that when I clicked on a PDF, it worked fine, that its links opened a new PDF window, but when I clicked on links on the second document, the links failed and Microsoft returned an error message telling me that I was screwed. Because I was screwed, I couldn't see what was in the path of that error.

       

      It turns out that for some unknown reason (which you might clarify for me), my Adobe Readers are attempting to open my documents in Internet Explorer and that just won't work.

       

      What I observed at home is that I made 5 test documents in ID, and ported them to Acrobat. As it turns out, my default for opening PDFs is Adobe Reader, which I saw on the chrome of the first document I opened. When I clicked a link, and I got the error message, I noticed my browser was up.

       

      When I set my default for opening in Acrobat, everything worked like a charm! How about that!

       

      Now then, what that says to me is that Adobe Reader is to be used exclusively with a browser, so if the people who are going to read your internal PDF files with Reader without those files being on a web server of some type, you are totally screwed. The only way you can use Reader is if you click on the file and bring it up directly. Don't rely on linking to other documents.

       

      I mean, that is what it seems to me.

       

      Now, I am creating a big project for an environment without a webserver and obviously my sense of panic is palpable. That said, I believe that all my users can read my files using Acrobat (to be tested tomorrow), which I hope means I can breathe a bit easier.

       

      Do any of you have any thoughts on this subject? If you are really curious, I can make a packet of test files available.

        • 1. Re: InDesign to Adobe Acrobat to Adobe Reader Link problem
          Karen_Little Community Member

          Here are screen captures of the problem with creating successful PDF files when originated in InDesign. I ran the same test originating the files with Word and did not have the same problem. Those links worked.

           

          OK - I set my default to "open pdf in Adobe Reader," then clicked on file 1, leading to document 1 opening in Adobe Reader. When that was open, I clicked on its link 2, which opened the next PDF file in a browser window.

           

          adobe_reader_problem_1.jpg

           

          Then I clicked on link "three three" in the second document, and clicked ALLOW to open the next pdf file.. As you can see, Microsoft IE raised an error "Cannot Find." And that was the end of it. The third file did not open, as you can see below.

           

          adobe_reader_problem_2.jpg

           

          If I set my default to "Adobe Acrobat," all links work correctly.

          • 2. Re: InDesign to Adobe Acrobat to Adobe Reader Link problem
            Silkrooster MVP

            The problem has to do with you using your home computer and work computer. You have to make sure the files are located in the same directory on both computers. That means if your documents are stored in a user account on one computer that same user account must be on the other account.

            The way around it, is in indesign, look at the url of the link and manually type the other address. When you export the pdf, it will no longer work on that computer, but it will on the other system, assuming you typed the url correctly.

            To make sure the url is correct, open windows exporer and navigate to where the pdf's will be located. At the top of the window, next to the back and forward buttons is the address bar, Even though it shows something like: documents>pdf files>more files Click on the icon that looks like a folder just before the folder names. This will force explorer to display the absolute url for the location of those files. Highlight that url, copy and email it to your other computer. Now you will have the correct url to paste into the link's url in indesign.

            If you don't want to go through all that trouble, then why not put all the files in a new folder just below the root folder of the drive. Just make sure both drive are using the same drive letter. If your work computer is using drive J, then your home computer must use drive J or you will need to go through what I stated above.

            I know it sounds a bit complicated, but doing a bit of copy/pasting will make it go fairly smoothly.

             

            That being said, I think pdf's can use relative links, but I haven't tried it and therefore have not given any advice towards doing so.

            • 3. Re: InDesign to Adobe Acrobat to Adobe Reader Link problem
              Karen_Little Community Member

              The files and the PDFs are all in the same directory.

               

              The tests are on local drives. All indesign files and their related PDFs were in the same directory.

               

              The same for Word and its related PDFs. Note that the PDFs created by Word then read by Adobe Reader worked correctly. They all opened in Adobe Reader.

               

              If the default program for opening PDFs is Acrobat, everything works correctly, with the added benefit of everything opening in a different window, which is what I want (yet to be tested at work). If the default program is Adobe Reader, the second generation of links do NOT work because Reader opens in Internet Explorer.

               

              When I open a Word-created PDF with Acrobat, view the link, and click to the Actions menu, the action is "Open a file"

               

              When I open an InDesign PDF with Acrobat and do the same, the action says "Open a web link"

               

              Big BIG BIG bug.

              • 4. Re: InDesign to Adobe Acrobat to Adobe Reader Link problem
                peter at knowhowpro Community Member

                Karen_Little wrote:

                 

                The files and the PDFs are all in the same directory.

                 

                The tests are on local drives. All indesign files and their related PDFs were in the same directory.

                 

                The same for Word and its related PDFs. Note that the PDFs created by Word then read by Adobe Reader worked correctly. They all opened in Adobe Reader.

                 

                If the default program for opening PDFs is Acrobat, everything works correctly, with the added benefit of everything opening in a different window, which is what I want (yet to be tested at work). If the default program is Adobe Reader, the second generation of links do NOT work because Reader opens in Internet Explorer.

                 

                When I open a Word-created PDF with Acrobat, view the link, and click to the Actions menu, the action is "Open a file"

                 

                When I open an InDesign PDF with Acrobat and do the same, the action says "Open a web link"

                 

                Big BIG BIG bug.

                Are you seeing the link commands by editing them in Acrobat? If not, try, so you can see the exact command and file or URL instruction. It still may be a bug, but you'll have better evidence when you report it here:

                Adobe - Feature Request/Bug Report Form

                 

                And, you might want to try correcting a link command in Acrobat, to see if can work for both Acrobat and Reader.

                 

                HTH

                 

                 

                Regards,

                 

                 

                Peter

                _______________________

                Peter Gold

                KnowHow ProServices

                • 5. Re: InDesign to Adobe Acrobat to Adobe Reader Link problem
                  Dave Merchant ACP/MVPs

                  It's not a bug, but a limitation of the way InDesign implements link annotations. InDesign has its own custom code to create PDF files and does not use Acrobat for any stage in the process.

                   

                  In PDF the subtype of a link annotation decides what it does. If it's "URI", the reading application will open a Web browser and naviagate to the address (even if that address is a local file: link). If the subtype is "filespec", it will open the file either in the same application window or in a new window, depending on how the link preferences are set. When you create a link from within Acrobat and select the "Open a file" action, the annotation subtype is "filespec".

                   

                  When you create a link to a URL or a local (but external) file in InDesign, the link subtype exported to PDF is always "URI", so Acrobat or Adobe Reader will send the address to your default browser. If that browser is subsequently configured not to open PDF files inline, it will pass the address to a new process instance of your default PDF reading application - resulting in it appearing to the user that the first PDF file has directly-opened another window, but with a browser instance also on the taskbar. By that time the concept of "being in the same folder" has been lost.

                  • 6. Re: InDesign to Adobe Acrobat to Adobe Reader Link problem
                    Karen_Little Community Member

                    Peter, I will report the problem at the link you provided. Appreciated!

                     

                    We've created a really cool application that uses Acrobat by creating documentation in InDesign, then spooling it out in Acrobat. This link business is heartbraking, although in our case, it's possible for everyone in need to have a copy of Acrobat, rather than Adobe Reader, to access the information. We are lucky.

                     

                    It is strange that Microsoft Word gets it right. When you make a file link in Word, then convert the document to a PDF, the link translation is correct. That's the least InDesign should accomplish!

                    • 7. Re: InDesign to Adobe Acrobat to Adobe Reader Link problem
                      Karen_Little Community Member

                      David - I appreciate your love for the Adobe company, but the link issue is a bug. I, as a consumer, should not have to stand on my head to figure out how Adobe's software works. At minimum, this software is too expensive to kludge. Besides that, we purchased InDesign because the material we developed in Word made such a good translation to PDF files, that we assumed that Adobe, being the owner of the PDF/Acrobat system, would do as good, or better.

                       

                      There is also another bug with linking, but I don't have the time to track and report it as I'm about to leave on a trip. Briefly, the software has a condition where you canNOT delete a link unless you delete all related text. It is possible to create a huge document never realizing that bug exists until you need to change things.

                       

                      And related to that, there is another bug related to how InDesign handles links, which appears in my Win7 version, but not in my XP version. Because I don't have to use my personal software for my current project, I have not been relentless in solving it. How to put? I've had enough problems getting one system up and running to our needs without worrying about the other.

                       

                      Shame shame shame on Adobe. Today's documents are all about linking. Hope that doesn't surprise them. Even though you can't save an ID file as an HTML file, you can still use Adobe's Acrobat to achieve similar things.

                      • 8. Re: InDesign to Adobe Acrobat to Adobe Reader Link problem
                        Dave Merchant ACP/MVPs

                        It's important to understand that InDesign uses its own library for creating PDF files, which has only a selection of the features available through the PDFMaker system which Acrobat installs into other applications (e.g. Word). While many of us working with Acrobat would prefer this to change, it's a long-standing decision. Acrobat is bundled in the Creative Suite collections so users can implement things after the PDF has been created which the export libraries in CS applications cannot yet do (scripts, forms, rich media controls, link and button actions, etc.) - it's just as easy to make an external document link in Acrobat as it is in InDesign.

                         

                        A 'bug' is an unintentional error in code. A feature which is missing because of a purposeful choice made by the developers is not a bug, but users can of course post a feature request to indicate they would like to see it added in a future version.

                        • 9. Re: InDesign to Adobe Acrobat to Adobe Reader Link problem
                          Karen_Little Community Member

                          OK, David, here's insight into the real world.

                           

                          Links are useless in InDesign. They are only important when they can be used in a product that use links, think "Acrobat/PDF." Of note, Acrobat and InDesign are owned by the same production house, Adobe.

                           

                          Now then, when a document contains extensive links, hundreds if not thousands, and that document is updated regularly and converted to PDF/s, it is not reasonable for the documents creator to edit each link in Acrobat.

                           

                          In the real world, many technical writers face that exact challenge - multiple revisions.

                           

                          I've been a programmer for a long time - ColdFusion and Visual Basic - and have created huge applications. A bug is when something does not work correctly.

                           

                          In Adobe/InDesign/Acrobat's case, the bad link conversion is not a feature or missing feature. It is a bug.

                           

                          The pictures below show how MS Word correctly calls an Acrobat/PDF action and InDesign does not (i.e., the bug). As stated, the reference "Open a web link" causes the PDF to open in a browser and the browser cannot pick up the file.  Also note that if the PDF generated in InDesign was edited in Acrobat to "Open a file" it works OK, but as I told you, this is not an option when handling hundreds of links in an environment that gets repeated updates.

                          badLink_but_good_in_MSWord.jpg badLink_inDesign.jpg