In a recent blog post1, we explored the potential dangers of “link rot” and simple fixes for combating them when referencing and linking to the complex world of online materials. What we didn’t discuss was how to create a hyperlink in the first place. In this post, we will consider different types of hyperlinks as well as some basic tools for creating them. This will serve as a general overview and good starting point for some simple definitions and techniques. We can jump into more advanced features later on.
There are many tools for creating hyperlinks and criteria for choosing among them, especially as they pertain to the world of appellate services. We will explore a few of the options presently available, whether you’re linking from a PDF document, creating an internal link within a document, or an external link to a website or supporting material.
Types of Links:
There are two basic types of links—internal and external. Internal links consist of references to documents within the current PDF file. These refer to a specific page or an attachment file. External hyperlinks consist of any outside source. These refer to any supporting document or website – basically, any material not found within the current PDF file.2
Specific page: any page referred to within the document itself; e.g., “supra at 10.” (Best tool for the job: third-party plug-in or Acrobat “Link” tool).
Attachments: any file “attached” to the current PDF document. (Best tool for the job: Acrobat “Link” tool).
Website: this is a link to any online material. You can read more about web links here. (Best tool for the job: third-party plug-in or Acrobat “Link” tool).
External file: any document that is not part of the PDF file. This could refer to a population of exhibits, video deposition files, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, etc. These links require a path and command, e.g., open this particular file (in this particular folder) to this particular page. This is what a condensed link command might actually look like: (Witness Statement.pdf/LINK/JX-10/View External/Fit Page/Dest. Page 1/New Window/Folder: Joint Exhibits JX-10_2005_Report.pdf). (Best tool for the job: third-party plug-in).
Although external links are the most common, they are not necessarily the most stable. Websites expire and file names change. The most important way to handle external links is to have the files well-organized and in final form at the beginning of the linking process.
Acrobat “Link” tool: This is the built-in tool that Acrobat provides for creating hyperlinks. Although it is the most stable of the link tools, it is also one of the least user-friendly examples we have encountered. It will work for internal hyperlinks or if you have to do some minor linking. However, if you have thousands of hyperlinks on your plate, some third-party tools have proven to be better-suited.
Plug-ins: There are many third-party plug-ins for Acrobat products. A plug-in will increase the productivity of your software. Essentially, it’s a small program that gets downloaded and added to your suite of Acrobat tools. Usually, a plug-in will appear at the top of the window as a new dropdown menu. A simple web search should produce a plug-in solution for any of your specific needs. For example, Counsel Press utilizes a whole slew of Acrobat plug-ins for resizing documents, stamping, flattening, running batches, bookmarking, linking, numbering and redacting. These utilities, which keep us at the forefront of technology, have led us to build some successful in-house solutions for ultimate control, as well. In this way, the impeccable quality of our clients’ documents is assured for each and every filing.
Here, at Counsel Press, we employ a wide range of software to create and manage the links in our clients’ briefs and appendices with total regard for accuracy and consistent results. Constant monitoring of the latest developments in software and the frequent changes in the standards and requirements of the appellate courts make our workflow efficient, dependable and totally compliant.
1 "Web Links to Nowhere" in SCOTUS Decisions: How to Ensure that Cited Material Remains Available for Years to Come
2 There are other advanced features not touched upon in this article, such as linking/working with destinations or embedding links directly into word files.