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Bookmarking briefs the easy way

By March 20, 2013June 6th, 2022No Comments

Bookmarks are a great way to tag key pages in a multi-page PDF, especially one with a lot of pages. Think of bookmarks as equivalent to sticky notes used on stacks of paper to mark key passages.

The more you use bookmarks, the more you begin to appreciate their power. And so you want to use them more. For example, when I get a memorandum in support of a motion from opposing counsel I immediately create bookmarks for each of the main headings, and the sub-headings. The result looks like the example below.

You’ll notice immediately that there is a lot of text in those footnotes, so the obvious question is: doesn’t it take a lot of time to create those kinds of bookmarks? And the answer is: no, because if it did I wouldn’t do it.

The first step is to learn, memorize, and then completely internalize, the shortcut for creating bookmarks. On a PC the shortcut is CONTROL + B. On a Mac computer it’s COMMAND + B. If you invoke that shortcut a bookmark will immediately be created on whatever page your on, and in whatever level of zoom you’re at.

That’s great for creating the bookmark, but what about getting all that text to match the headers and sub-headers? For this you need, first, for the PDF to be ‘text searchable,’ which these days it usually is. A PDF that was created from a word processing document and then e-filed will be text searchable in 99% of the cases. Second, you need to know how to select text. For this you need the “selection tool” depicted in the graphic below.

Using the selection tool you simply select the text you want to create a bookmark from. Once it’s selected you hit the shortcut described above (e.g. Command/Control + B) and, voilá, you will have created a bookmark that has the header text. With this method it takes only a minute or two to create a set of bookmarks that essentially serve as a table of contents for your brief.

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