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Creating PDF bookmarks on an iPad might be risky

By February 3, 2014June 6th, 2022No Comments

Many lawyers like to create PDF bookmarks on an iPad or tablet device. And mostly they have no problems.

But sometimes weird things happen. So before you develop a PDF workflow based on mobile apps, here’s what you need to know.

Not every app on your iPad manipulates PDFs in the same way. Maybe that’s true for desktop software as well. You may be surprised, but –according to Adobe– this can lead to problems.

Adobe’s warning

Adobe specifically states in writing that they don’t provide technical support for problem PDFs, if they were created by non-Adobe applications.

In other words: NO third party applications are  supported. None. Zilch. Nada.

That applies to both desktop apps, and mobile apps. So, what exactly can go wrong?

In explaining its support policy, Adobe references the following possible problems: ” inability to open a particular PDF file, display problems, or errors when working with the file in Adobe Acrobat.” No doubt there are other kinds of problems that can occur.

Putting things in perspective

Rarely, however, do you see problems with PDFs that are manipulated by non-Adobe software for desktop computers. At least not with mainstream software products like Nitro or Nuance.

But with mobile apps can be a different story. There are lots of different PDF apps, and they get updated frequently. You’ll often hear experts changing their recommendations about which PDF app is best.

When it comes to mobile PDF apps my advice is to tread carefully. I wouldn’t develop a mission critical workflow that involved using a mobile app to manipulate PDFs. If you insist on using mobile PDF apps, then at least rigorously test your precise workflow before extending it too far.

Most importantly, once you find an app that works for you, don’t start experimenting with new ones. Let others chase the shiny objects that lead to a disastrous cliff. One that creates problems like this…

Bookmarks that stop working

Recently I got an email from a reader who explained that bookmarks he created in PDF Expert no longer worked when he tried to use them in Acrobat on his computer. Perhaps his problem was somehow user-created.

But let’s assume his problem was caused by an app that didn’t create a proper bookmark. Can Adobe help him avoid that problem?

Well, Adobe does offer a free app for iOS and Android called Adobe Reader. The Reader app is great for viewing PDFs, highlighting, and navigating them. The Reader app is also great for digitally signing PDFs.

But it doesn’t allow you to create bookmarks, or edit them in anyway.

So, bottom line: if you need to create PDF bookmarks on an iPad (or other mobile device) you’ll have to use a non-Adobe app. And, if there’s a problem, Adobe will say “we told you not to do that.”

And that brings up one last question: when will Adobe get around to creating its own app that lets mobile users reliably manipulate their PDFs?

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