Thanks to the newsletter from the Accidental Medical Writer for this tip!
Did you know you can split a long PDF into multiple files? You can split it by:
- maximum number of pages for each new file (e.g. 10 pages per file)
- maximum data size for each new file (e.g. 2 Mb per new file), or
- top-level bookmarks. If you use Microsoft Word, typically bookmarks are automatically created when you save the Word document as a PDF AND you have used Heading styles (Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.) in that document. Choosing this option means that the file will be split at the top-level bookmarks (e.g. at each Heading 1). However, some PDFs don’t have bookmarks, but you can easily add your own to the PDF and then use this method. (I’ll show you how after the instructions for splitting the file.)
You can also set the Output Options to tell Acrobat where to store the new files and how to label them (by default they are labelled with the original file’s name, followed by Part1, Part2 etc. And you can split multiple PDFs at once. Check the options for splitting a document.
Note: I use Acrobat XI Pro, so the methods for doing this may vary with earlier or later versions. I don’t think this will work in Adobe Reader—I think you need full Acrobat to do this.
Split a PDF into multiple files
- Open the PDF in Acrobat Pro (NOT Adobe Reader).
- Click Tools to open the Tools panel.
- Click Pages, then Split Document.
- Choose how you want to split your PDF.
- Optional: Click Output Options to set other preferences, and/or Apply to Multiple to split more than one PDF.
- Click OK.
- The new files are in the folder you set under the Output Options, or, if you didn’t choose a folder, the folder where your original PDF was stored.
Add a bookmark to a PDF
If you PDF doesn’t have bookmarks and you chose the Top-level bookmarks option, you’ll get a message telling you there are no bookmarks in the document. Here’s how to add them:
- In the open PDF, click Tools to open the Tools panel, if it’s not already open.
- Click Content Editing.
- Go to the page in the PDF where you want to split the document.
- Click Add Bookmark in the Content Editing section of the Tools panel.
- Type a name for the bookmark.
- Repeat steps 3 to 6 for all other bookmarks (split points) you want to add.
- Save the PDF.
Now you can return to the instructions for splitting a PDF and create a separate file for each section, based on the bookmarks you just inserted.
[Links checked August 2020]