[pdftex] Preserving hyperlinks and annotations in included pdf files?

James Quirk jjq at galcit.caltech.edu
Thu Oct 29 17:10:51 CET 2009

On Thu, 29 Oct 2009, Martin Schröder wrote:

> 2009/10/29 Reinhold Kainhofer <reinhold at kainhofer.com>:
> > So, will hyperlinks from included PDFs ever be implemented? And what's the
> > current status?
> It will not happen in pdftex, since pdftex is frozen.
> It's unlikely that it will happen in luaTeX soon, since AFAIK the
> concept of hyperlinks/annotations in PDF is broken, making including
> them HARD:
> - bookmarks & annotations are independent of the content stream and
>   the page objects; they are in fact another layer on top of the
>   "normal" content.
>   This means that when including them they must be collected and
>   transformed separately.
> - the names of bookmarks & annotations pose a separate problem, since
>   they must be merged, while checking collisons
It's not immediately clear to me why one would even want to solve
the above problems. The Adobe way forward is to create a portfolio
that is a collection of PDFs, which sidesteps all of the above.

For example, I'm currently constructing a document that discusses the 
Federal Research Public Access Act. It consists of a portal PDF that gives 
access to eight subsiduary documents which are embedded in the primary 
one. Each document is annotated using multiple threads that illustrate 
different scientific perspectives, replete with YouTube videos and other 
flash powered entites, such as an interactive source-code browser. 
The purpose of the document is to promote discussion as to what
a 21st Century, scientific paper should be - especially in the
computational sciences.  
My personal vision of the future is more than likely way off beam. But 
with initiatives like James Burke's Knowledge Web (http://www.k-web.org/), 
I do expect there will be a move towards multi-dimensional documents
which PDF is geared up to support.

So personally speaking, I would not be so quick to condemn
PDF's annotation approach.


> Is there any software out that there that can include pages of PDFs
> and handles bookmarks/annotations/...?
> Best
>    Martin

More information about the pdftex mailing list