Friday Feature - Navigating PDFs

Last week, I talked about all of the different ways we deliver documentation—How Tos, Online Resources, and User Guides. But no matter what the source of the documentation, it is always displayed as a PDF in your workspace. Now over the last few months, Adobe Corporation (the one who develops the PDF technology and much more) has been very busy upgrading its products. Some of you have already upgraded to the Adobe Reader X. I have, and I must admit it was a bit of an adjustment.

But, I am here to tell you about some keyboard shortcuts that will help you display those PDFs just how you need them for your workflow. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Adobe Reader Floating Toolbar

F8 – Show/Hide the Toolbar. With the upgrade of Acrobat Reader X, we got a floating toolbar (pictured here). The reception of this new feature has been mixed. Bob Towery loves it. Me, not so much. To show the “old” toolbar, just press F8. (You could also click on the logo all the way to the right of the floating toolbar.)

Use F4 or F6 to get to the bookmarks

F4 – Show/Hide Navigation Panel. We used to always show the bookmark panel (list of links that act like a table of contents) for our documentation but with limited space in the workspace, many customers asked us to hide the bookmarks. While I liked the bookmarks, I have to admit they took up a lot of space. I totally understand why people wanted them hidden, but I still like them, so I use the F4 key to show the navigation panel which contains the bookmark panel.

F6 – Navigation Buttons. Once the navigation panel has been displayed you can use the F6 key to jump back and forth between the buttons. For example, I can press F6 to go to the navigation buttons, down arrow to the bookmarks, and press Enter to list all of the bookmarks for the documentation.

Now those are some pretty awesome keyboard shortcuts, but I am not done yet. Those are my favorites because the upgrade changed my workflow and I needed to adjust. I have been an avid Adobe product user for more than twenty years. Here are my all-time favorites that I use every day!!!

  • Spacebar – Press and hold the spacebar and your cursor turns into a hand that you can use to “grab” the page and move it around. Love it!
  • Ctrl + equal sign and Ctrl + hyphen – Zoom in and out. Just hold down your control key and keep hitting the equal sign or hyphen to zoom in and out to your heart’s desire.
  • Ctrl + page up/down – When I want to go to the next page of a document, not just scroll around, I really like using the Ctrl + page up/down. It takes me to the top of the next/previous page. I find this very satisfying. :)

Well, I hope you discovered a few tips for your workflow. If you have any favorite keyboard shortcuts for the Adobe Reader, post a comment. All Escapees will thank you.