Converting Word File To PDF Without Losing Hyperlinks

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by tomewer, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. tomewer macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2012

    It seems that the "Save as PDF" option in MS Word leaves a lot to be desired. Not only does it save the PDF as a huge file, but it also seems to remove all hyperlinks. The blue underlined text remains, but they are no longer clickable.

    Does anyone know of a product that converts PDFs to a reasonable size, and with working hyperlinks? I don't spending a few bucks.


  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    I know this works in Word for Windows, but I haven't tried the Mac version. It would be a pain to run Windows in Boot Camp or Parallels or VMware Fusion just for this purpose, but if no other solution is presented, at least there's something that would work. Either that or send the document to someone on Windows who can do it for you.
  3. dusk007, Feb 13, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012

    dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    Try the PDF export of OpenOffice.
    MS Office for Mac is quite bad with pdfs (and other stuff) I had some font issues which OpenOffice solved. Considering how long OO supports pdf exports it probably supports all forms, links and such too.
    Or if you have Windows use Office 2007 SP2 or later those have an actual save as PDF option and not just some pdf printer that poses as a pdf saving option.

    Not very convenient but if it is only very few files, online converters do the trick. They eat just about everything and most produce very good results with support for just about anything.
    as an example.
  4. tomewer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2012
    Thank you everyone for your suggestions - I really appreciate it.

    It is ridiculous that MS Word does not provide a good PDF convertor, but hey ho.

    That website did the job - although the file size is large and the PDF quality isn't great, the hyperlinks remain intact. Thank you!
  5. LeoNobilis macrumors regular


    Apr 24, 2006
    The Netherlands
    Nisus Writer


    Nisus Writer Pro accomplished what neither of the following - MS Word 2011,,, Adobe Acrobat,, etc. - failed to.
    Indeed, the MS Word-generated PDF was shed clear of hyperlinks; the Pages & TextEdit pdf conversions removed even text highlights/colours. Preview, Acrobat or Skim - nothing rendered the hyperlinks readable until I re-converted the original in Nisus Write Pro. The resultant file contained the formatting, including colours and hyperlinks.
  6. JonLa macrumors 6502

    Dec 22, 2009
    Actually the problem here is Apple Preview - a MS Office 2011 file saved as PDF will have working hyperlinks in Acrobat Reader, but Preview doesn't make them clickable.

    it's odd.
  7. stchman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    I would actually try LibreOffice over
  8. toiday macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2011
    I don't know if it will make any different but have you tried to Print, then select PDF from the bottom left?
  9. neilaering macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2012
    I don't think Preiview can help you do that work well, because it is just a PDF Reader like we use in Windows OS. You can never do any editing about the PDF file.

    According to my comprehension, you wanna edit some contents in your PDF file? If that, you can take PDF Pen or Adobe Acrobat for reference. The problems is that both of the editors are too expensive to afford and I am not sure the trial version can do that work well. Also, there is another way you may have a try is to convert PDF to word using third party pdf to word mac , which is designed for mac users to help them save PDF as Word and then editing. You can get the resource from the Apple Download.
    Maybe there are some other applications. Just get a try!
  10. benaddiction macrumors newbie

    Oct 4, 2012
    I have found since researching, finding this thread, and experimentation, that it seems the resulting PDF from Word > Save As...> PDF will only retain the existing hyperlinks if the original document is in the Open XML (.docx) format. I converted a few .doc files to .docx (Word > File > Convert Document), then saved as PDF, and the links worked - but only in Adobe Acrobat, not Apple Preview. This wasn't a problem in Office for Mac 2008.
    I assume the others for whom this method was not working may have, like myself, been resisting the switch to .docx. This is the first and only reason I have found to force me to finally make the switch to Open XML.
  11. JonLa macrumors 6502

    Dec 22, 2009
    Even then I don't think links set onto words (where you click a name and it's a link) will work - only links where you've pasted a URL into the doc
  12. dazman22 macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2012
    Hmmm, nope, even with docx I'm not getting anything other than blue text in my pdf.

    And it's no good to me to take out the words and have a url, completely defeats the point of inserting a hyperlink into my concise word doc...


    Although this solves the hyperlinks it removes other formatting (such as bullet points) so watch out, make sure you proof read anything you convert!

    Good tip though, thanks, it solved my problem!
  13. dazman22 macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2012
    That's not the case, I don't think. On my Macbook anyway, it doesn't matter what you view it with, there's no link there in the pdf, and if you send it to anyone else, with either Windows or Mac, they can't click a link.

    From my last two hours of faffing the only option I could get to work was:
    1.) opening the word doc in OpenOffice
    2.) manually re-formatting to add in bullet points etc that OpenOffice removed
    3.) Export as pdf
    4.) re-proofreading to check the document is still what you expect!

    Unless you have Windows on bootcamp, in which case you just save as pdf in word!
  14. JonLa macrumors 6502

    Dec 22, 2009
    Yes, sorry, you're right - I haven't visited this thread since my last round of testing. Basically the only other option is to open it in Pages and export it to PDF...
  15. izann macrumors newbie


    Nov 29, 2012
    Yes, I'm afraid the real problem is Microsoft Word 2011 (that's also the problem with Word bullets, etc.). And if you try to solve this by "printing" to PDF, the PDF is not accessible to a screen reader — a major concern to schools, government, and most businesses.

    If I'm going to need a PDF of a document, I start up front in Open Office, using OOs bulleting, tables, heading levels, etc. It creates a document that can be exported to a PDF with the click of a button. OO documents can also be copied and pasted into the WYSIWYG editors of many content management and learning management systems.

    Lets hope Microsoft Office 2013 addresses these serious accessibility and exportability issues.
  16. SunWolf macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2010
    Vienna, Austria
    Thanks, I did try your suggestion and it worked. I took the Word document - it does not make a difference whether it is in doc or a docx format, neither keeps the hyperlinks when printed to a PDf file - opened it in Pages and then printed to a PDF. That did the trick. Strange, though, is that Pages did not recognize hyperlinks in footnotes. I had to use Insert Hyperlink to overcome this problem.
  17. saper macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2008
    It works if you save the file as PDF

    To solve the above problem, you need to save the Word file as a PDF with the Save As... command. The links appear in Preview. This works fine for me in OS X 10.8.3 and Word 2011.
  18. stchman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    LibreOffice makes a Mac version, and it opens .doc and .docx files. LibreOffice has a native save to pdf.
  19. bherring macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2007
    Mac Word to PDF with hyperlinks

    The problem of losing hyperlinks when working with Mac Word and print/save to PDF (with or without Adobe Acrobat "Pro") had been vexing, so I'm sharing what has been the best solution for me --

    Microsoft Office365 has web apps similar to Google Docs. With a free trial ($10/mo afterward), I was able to upload my .docx file to Web Word, print to PDF, and save it back to my Mac with no formatting corruption or re-dos. The links are intact -- and not just the spelled out links like -- this works for hyperlinked words. You have to use the print option in the web app, not the print option available on your browser. Chrome worked for me but not Safari.

    I don't like the idea of paying $10/mo to do this -- I am already paying Adobe a monthly fee for Creative Suite to do this -- but I'd rather do that than spend hours mucking with formatting or inserting invisible rectangle links in Acrobat. I don't know of a great workflow for batch processing -- I tried that on a PC with Acrobat 11 and the links still didn't work before coming to this desperate alternative -- but at least it can get it done without starting up a PC.
  20. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    The issue with using "Save As PDF" from the print menu is that it takes PRINT data and converts it to PDF. Obviously, hyperlinks are not something that print data concerns itself with.**

    To retain links, you need to use an application's own PDF EXPORT, if it has one. (i.e., not in the Print dialog's PDF button, but under the File menu.)

    ** Though there is a supposedly true story of an artworker being screamed at by a client because he couldn't produce interactive links on a printed page.
  21. bherring macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2007
    Export vs Print

    It's true that printing shouldn't be concerned with hyperlinks, but for a long time, Adobe has positioned PDF as print-like output and had virtual printers for creating PDF from many applications, and included passing hyperlinks into PDF in some of those.

    I'd prefer to have "Save to PDF" or "Save as PDF" or "Export to PDF" as the way I create a PDF with functioning links. Until Adobe/Apple/Microsoft get this done, I'm happy to have found a way that works that doesn't involve meticulous reformatting.

    The Pages approach routinely altered the formatting, so the Web Office method is my preference at this point. If you have an alternative that includes "Export" or "Save As" to create the PDF and it works, I'll be happy to use it rather than Web Office Word's "File --> Print."
  22. bherring macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2007

    I should add that when using Microsoft Office365's Web Word to create PDFs with hyperlinks, I still have to use Acrobat to remove the silly embedded JavaScript that automatically opens the print dialog. I haven't found a way to get the PDF without it. I don't know why Microsoft went to the trouble of embedding this nuisance--maybe too many people try to print from the browser rather than from the PDF viewer.
  23. FSLarsson macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2013
    Thank you dusk007

    Thanks for this quick solution!! Very helpful and always nice to see others having the same problem and then finding out how to solve it. Top marks for the link to!

    F x
  24. m-hinojosa macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2013
    use Acrobat Pro

    You can easily make links that Preview can read by using Acrobat Pro's link box tool.
  25. dyn macrumors 68030

    Aug 8, 2009
    Clickable hyperlinks are strange things when it comes to pdf. Some pdf viewers have a feature that automatically recognises a hyperlink from plain text and then allow the user to click it. Adobe Reader is one of them, Preview isn't. If you want to do it properly you need to have some kind of pdf converter that preserves the links (such as the one in LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice or Adobe Acrobat) or use a pdf editor that allows you to put in those links afterwards (PDF Pen and Adobe Acrobat for example). I hope to see some of these simple edit options in Preview in the future though (annotate is nice, adding links would be too).

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