How to Add or Edit PDF Bookmarks for Free Using PDF-Xchange

PDF Bookmarks can be quite a lifesaver. They help us save time by jumping to specific pages without going through the trouble of scrolling through the entire PDF or even searching the text. Unfortunately, most PDFs available on the internet, perhaps with the exception of most published books, don't usually include bookmarks. To complicate matters, when we make our own PDFs, whether from scanned documents or virtual PDF Printers, it's rather hard to come by a free software that will allow you to add bookmarks to this PDFs. Well that's until now.

PDF-Xchange, a software company specializing in PDF tools, have recently made their previously pro feature of adding, editing and moving bookmarks completely free in their PDF Editor. Previously you had to buy a license to access that feature. This is some very good news I thought I should share to those trying to find a free and intuitive program to do this task. Here's how to do it:


1. Get PDF-Xchange PDF Editor from the official page here and install it.

The software is essentially a PDF Viewer with basic and advance editing features included, certainly a better alternative to Adobe Acrobat. It's also completely free though some of the advance editing features are restricted to license holders. Unfortunately, it's only available for the Windows platform.

You can hide the restricted features from the UI by going to Preferences (Ctrl+K) then Registration.

2. Launch the PDF Editor and from the File menu open the PDF you wish to add or edit the bookmarks.

3. Now onto the PDFs. I'll split this into three sections: Adding new bookmarks, Editing exiting bookmarks and Moving bookmarks to new pages.

a. Adding Bookmarks

i. Toggle the Bookmark Pane by clicking the bookmark icon in the Home tab. You can also just press the key combination Ctrl+B to reveal it.

bookmark pane
Reveal the Bookmark Pane
ii. Now on the opened PDF, move to the page you want to add a bookmark and click on the add bookmark icon at the top of the bookmark pane.
add bookmark
Add Bookmark

iii. Add the title to the untitled bookmark and that's it. Now repeat this for every page/location you'd wish to add a bookmark
bookmark title
Edit Bookmark Title

You don't have to toggle the bookmark pane first to add a bookmark. Instead, you can at any time add a bookmark by just right-clicking inside an opened PDF and selecting Add Bookmark from the context menu or using the key combination Ctrl+Shift+B.

iv. When you’re done, don’t forget to click on the Save button (or Ctrl+S) to apply the changes to the PDF.

b. Editing Bookmarks

You can edit exiting bookmarks in the PDF by renaming, deleting or changing their text properties. You can also edit the default action when a bookmark is selected as well as the bookmark's apperance properties.

i. To rename a bookmark, select it and press F2 (or right-click and from the context menu select Rename).
rename bookmark
Renaming a Bookmark

ii. To delete a bookmark, select it and press Delete key (or right-click and from the context menu select Delete). You can also use the bin icon at the top of the pane.

You can delete multiple bookmarks at once by selecting them by dragging your mouse over them or by selecting the top most bookmark, then while holding Shift key down selecting the last bookmark. To delete all the bookmarks available, select all of them using Ctrl+A then press the Delete key.

iii. You can change the properties of the bookmark text by bolding, italicizing or changing their color. To do this, right-click on one or multiple selected bookmarks and select Properties.
open properties
Open Bookmarks' Properties
That will open a Bookmark Properties pane on the right side where you can change these properties.

iv. Typically when we add a bookmark we want it to take us to a given page in the PDF. However, it's possible to give it other actions other than this, for example opening a web link, running a java script or even opening a page in another PDF. We can also have it do multiple actions simultaneously, such as move to a page and open a web link.

To change or add an action(s) to a bookmark, right-click on the bookmark and select Properties.
Next, inside the Bookmark Properties pane, under Actions select the three dots at the end.
bookmark action
Adding or Editing Bookmark Action

That will open a window with the current Action. You can Edit or Remove the current action using the icons at the top. Editing won't allow you to change the current Action, just the properties of the current action. For instance, for a jump to page bookmark you can edit the page it jumps to and the zoom level it will use by default.
add edit delete bookmark
Add, Edit or Remove Bookmark Action

To add a new action, click on the Add icon at the top and from the menu select a new Action. PDF-Xchange offers plenty of actions to choose from as shown in the screenshot below. Adding the action is pretty straightforward so I won't be going over that.
bookmark actions
Available Bookmark Actions

As always, when you're done don't forget to Save your changes.

c. Moving Bookmarks

Sometimes an existing bookmark may jump to the wrong page in the PDF. To change this, we can move the bookmark to the correct page. You can use the long route, which involves editing the bookmark properties as detailed above. However, the simpler way is to do as follows:

i. Toggle the Bookmark Pane and select the bookmark you wish to move.

ii. Now move your PDF to the correct position/page that you'd wish to move the bookmark to.

iii. Right-click on the bookmark and in the context select the Set Destination option.
bookmark destination
Moving Bookmark Destination

iv. Save the PDF to apply the changes.

There's also an option to export and import bookmarks from and into PDFs. This way you can for instance export bookmarks from one PDF and export them to another PDF that did not have said bookmarks. You can access this option by right-clicking inside the Bookmark Pane.
import export bookmarks
Importing and Exporting Bookmarks

For more advanced bookmark features such as creating bookmarks from Table of Contents, building Table of contents from the bookmarks or creating bookmarks from the Page Text, you'll need to get a license to access these features. For basic bookmarking tasks however, this should meet if not exceed most needs.