Yes, this is expected and correct behavior. Printing a file to the PDF printer should be thought of the same as printing it to a physical printer, more or less. You get a flattened version of that file, without any "meta" objects like form fields, links, comments, etc.
May I ask why you're doing it?
You will always lose all links on the PDF printer. But if the page has recognised URLs they work as links anyway. Exporting from InDesign or sing PDFMaker in Word doesn't use the PDF printer.
We have about 50 forms that we have created, they work great. The process for filling out the forms works best for us if our people can print the completed form to pdf. I know there are other ways, but for our people this works best. When they complete the form they print it to pdf. They are then stored as a sealed file. But I do want the links to work in the printed document. To have to switch back into Indesign to create the links seems mad - but to reiterate THE LINKS WORK IF ORIGNALLY CREATED IN INDESIGN or WORD. Being a big Adobe fan I refuse to start creating my links in Word just so that they will print. Could it be a setting in print production that I have wrong?
Weird - so why do the links I create originally in Indesign or Word WORK when printed to pdf? It is only the links I create in Acrobat Pro that don't. So that is my question, Why don't they work if created in Acrobat Pro?
Printing to PDF does not preserve links. Not ever. End of story. So, some questions to understand what is really going on.
1. Are these on-screen URLs - you see http:// stuff on the page?
2. What exact steps do you follow to make a PDF from Word?
3. What exact steps do you follow to make a PDF from InDesign?
4. What exact steps do you follow to make a link in Acrobat?
Could I have a "Magic" copy?
I am not a big Word user only went there in dispair. But in Indesign both a url attached to text or www.bbc.co.uk text set as a link work. Once my design in complete I use pdf maker to create a pdf of my Indesign document, I then create my form ontop of my design in Acrobat. When I print this to pdf printer the links from Indesign work in the printed version - honest.
I think the links work because when they are converted from Indesign to a pdf they are an object? One interesting thing is I can't change the links in Acrobat. Acrobat does see it as a link though. (If you use the view all links feature). Happy to send an example pdf.
In the end I dont want to be going back and forward between Indesign and Acrobat just to add a link. I am going to try some more tests with Word. That way I can just copy and paste from there. Could it be one of the setting I have for print production in Acrobat? or is there a way to add a link in an object in Acrobat? I think the pdf maker does a better job of creating the pdf, can I run the pdf maker from Acrobat?
Using the PDFMaker plugin is NOT the same as printing to PDF. The latter means using the Adobe PDF Printer. The former means using the special Adobe plugin to generate PDF files, and it indeed preserves links and other objects that were added to the original file format.
Please answer questions 2-3. How EXACTLY do you make the PDF from Word and InDesign. You seem to be giving contradictory information about whether you use the PDF printer.
Yes, I do understand that they are 2 different things. My appologies if I am not being clear. I will try again.
I create my links in Indesign, by creating text and making it a link. I save this document as an Indesign Document, then from Indesign I use the PDF Maker to create a pdf of my Indesign document. I then open this pdf in Acrobat, add some text including a link, and save. At this point ALL links work. If I then print this pdf to the PDF Printer in the resulting pdf ONLY the links created in InDesign work. What I am trying to work out is what makes the links created in Indesign work and not the ones created in Acrobat Pro? Is it because I originally created the pdf from InDesign by using the PDF maker?
You need to answer question #1 from above. Are the links you're creating in ID located on top of the plain-text URLs? If so, then they are gone as well. What you're seeing are links created by Acrobat automatically from the URLs in your file. You can see they will disappear if you go to Edit - Preferences - General and tick off "Create links from URLs".
OK, I have got it.
It is to do with the way Indesign handles the links that lets them be retained even when printed using the PDF Printer. I have just tried Illustrator and it works too, links created in Illustrator are retained when you print to PDF. It would be nice if this worked in Acrobat Pro but I can't find a way to do this, I think Acrobat has always been the poorer software in the suite.
No, that's wrong. As was already stated, no links will survive when the document is printed to the Adobe PDF printer (or any other virtual printer that generates PDF files). It's not just links, it's all interactive elements, certain color information, layers, some aspects of fonts and more that gets destroyed when a document is printed to PDF.
What you see may be something completely different, and that is that Acrobat and Reader will try (when configure to do so) to identify URLs in your document, and then on the fly convert them to links. As mentioned above, this can be configured using the "Create Links from URLs" option in Acrobat's "General" preferences.
This does not apply if you don't "print" from these applications to PDF. Both InDesign and Illustrator have "export" functions that will create PDF directly without going the print route. This method will retain links and all the other things that I mentioned that would not survive the print process. The reason for this is that when you print, you are first converting to PostScript and there is no link feature in PostScript. That PostScript file then gets distilled to PDF. Because the link is not in the PostScript data, it cannot be in the PDF generated from that PostScript output.
Thanks for the reply. I must be dreaming, because I have 50 forms, all of which have links and when I print them to the pdf printer FROM READER the resulting document has links that work. Strange, perhaps I have magic socks! Would you like me to send you one of my form and you could try it for yourself.
I am going to mark this question as answered because the answer is: edit in InDesign. Acrobat Pro cannot do what I need.
Thank you to all for the info, it has been useful
The answer could also be "Don't print to the Adobe PDF printer".
If you already have a PDF file, then printing to the Adobe PDF printer will produce a lower quality file. There is no need to print to PDF - you already have a PDF file. There is almost never a good reason to re-fry a PDF (that's what we usually call this printing a PDF to the PDF printer). Unless you know exactly what you are doing, and are aware of all the potential problems involved, you should never use this method for saving a PDF file. If you are looking for certain side-effects of this refrying (e.g. flattening interactive content), there is always a better way to accomplish that without reducing the quality of the file. This BTW is also Adobe's position. You can find Adobe's official position here in Dov Isaacs' first comment (not the second one that was accepted as the correct answer): How to reduce the size of PDF
Thanks Karl for your reply. Interesting but worrying.
I have created these forms for the last 8 years. They are a key part of our business process. As is the printing element.
What I have taken away from this discussion is, Acrobat cannot do what I want and I do not know why InDesign can. That I need to consider Adobe's stance on printed documents and investigate alternative technologies to provide this process.
We currently have a test running with Infopath for 2 of our forms, it has a better method of locking the information, but honestly they just don't "Rock" like Adobe.
InDesign can't do this also.
You are the only person here I think who believes that links will sometimes, somehow, survive the PDF printer. Of course, you might be right, but we're unable to be likely to help with something WE believe to be impossible.
Now, if you can publicly share a series of PDFs (especially, those before PDF printing with links, and those after PDF printing still with links), we might either be able to explain it, or you might prove us wrong. Remember though, these must not be visible URLs or www links on the page!!
Seriously - 8 years, thousands of printed document, all links work.
Show us one of the documents!
Superb! smart cookie.
Interesting, a lot of them are www links, but what do you mean by visable links. I think that is where the confusion lies. Well done.
All my links, I think, (but I would need to check back), are either www or http://.
So, is that why they work? now can you tell me why they don't work when they are created in Acrobat Pro and printed?
Enable this entry in the preferences of Acrobat (see reply 10) and you will see the links.
THANK YOU. so simple. all works a treat.
no, spoke too soon. I have 3 urls in my document and when I print, only the 2 urls created in InDesign work. I will play with this some more. I did try this previously when you posted it. What I will do is do a step by step and perhaps you will be able to identify where it is going wrong.
So all this time this has been about recognised URLs, which is what I said in my very first reply? Why did it take 19 more messages to get here...?
And I still have the same issue, only the urls created in InDesign work in the printed document.
The answer is not to print to Adobe PDF, but I don't think I can muster the energy to spend 20 more posts arguing that.
Thanks for this info. I have worked this through and here are my findings. Can I just confirm with you that this what you would expect to see happening.
In Acrobat Pro DC with the preferences box for make web link from URLs unchecked.
I open my pdf from InDesign which has 2 links. The links do not work.
I add a text box and put in the text http://www.google.com - this link also does not work.
I print the document, the resulting pdf opens in READER and if the preference checkbox is selected for make web link in READER all 3 links work.
If I deselect the check box in preferences in READER. Open my document none of the links work.
I then print from READER. The resulting document none of the links work.
I then change the preferences in READER back to select the web link from URLs box, ONLY the links created in Indesign work, not the link I created in Acrobat.
If this is all correct? then I need to do all the printing from within Acrobat Pro.
Many thanks for your help
I Do HEAR what you are saying about Don't Print.
I could use script to lock the form, or perhaps digital signatures. But printing also greatly reduces the size of the file, and I am not sure if I could code for that. I did look at "switching the form". So that a different form is used for presentation of the data, that is what we are currently doing for the Infopath forms. But the method in Acrobat was certainly not straight forward.
I am open to suggestions