Links between sections and in Table of Contents do not compile to PDF

Hi there,

I’m currently working on compiling my novel and I want to output a pdf with clickable TOC, which get recognized by Adobe Reader as bookmarks/chapters. I did the copy special thing and everything looks fine. The links are clickable. After compiling, the page numbers are correct, but it’s not clickable, nor are there bookmarks in Adobe reader. I tried everything I could find, but now I slowly lose hope. I compiled as is, as well as with heading1 inside the document and also using the filename in binder. Nothing worked. Please help.

Here is a link to a previous answer given for this:


Thanks for the link. What would you recommend? Working with a PDf editor? Latex? I tried converting back to Libre Office already, but the results are not good enough.

I couldn’t really say if there is one good answer to a broad question like that. If the need for printing press quality isn’t there, then stuff like Scrivener, LibreOffice and Word are fine and relatively efficient, each with their own pros and cons. If this is something you intend to sell though, then a desktop publishing tool will be the best choice, which can range from the free Scribus to the budget-friendly yet powerful Affinity Publisher, to pro level stuff such as InDesign.

Markup-generated documents such as LaTeX occupy a strange niche. If you’re already one foot into the world and know how to get around with it, then in many ways it can be the best of all worlds because, unlike DTP it doesn’t take a week of work to implement a design every time you compile (the design phase is all front loaded and push-button after that point, it takes me almost zero effort to compile the user manual PDFs through LaTeX—but that is after a month or so of design and setup). So it can be swifter in the long run, like opening an RTF in LibreOffice and exporting a PDF from it, but unlike those faster options, it can go toe to toe with the DTP level of quality.

I tried converting back to Libre Office already, but the results are not good enough.

That would require further clarification, in particular what is meant by “converting back to” in this instance. Why not compile from Scrivener to ODT (or RTF, it’s always worth trying both if one doesn’t look quite right), instead of converting from whatever you have at the moment?

The RTF result should be roughly similar to the PDF output, at any rate.

One thing I wouldn’t recommend is a PDF editor. That sounds like a nightmare unless you don’t have many links to make. At that point I’d rather invest that amount of time into a DTP, where the overall quality of the typography and layout will be superior anyway.

I’m looking at a simple pdf file with minimalist formatting. No print needed. I compiled an odt from scrivener, but it didn’t work as intended (weird boxes around the text). That means I could try compiling a rtf, create a table in Libre Office and export as pdf? I kust want a TOC. No fuss, just works, doesn’t look shit. Thanks.

Yeah, LibreOffice sounds like a good choice for what you want, if you can get it looking right. As for weird boxes, I’d check your source material in Scrivener make sure there aren’t any hidden tables where they occur. You can right-click into the text and use the Table ▸ Remove Table contextual menu command, if relevant.

As for the ToC—sounds like you have a good styled header output set up at this point, so yeah, you could just insert the table of contents and export as PDF. Shouldn’t take but five minutes extra every time, once you get the initial wrinkles smoothed out.

Thanks for the help.

What’s the current trick to generating clickable page links from a TOC in PDF Format?

In Microsoft Word, all “Heading #” styles get converted to clickable, internal pdf “bookmarks” when the Word doc is saved as a pdf, which also retains whatever layout the doc contains. .

That capability would allow the output from Scrivener-to-Word format to serve as an intermediary step to final pdf output.

Page numbers are “?” (sometimes “XXX”) in Word. And clicking the links sends me back to the first page of the book.

I’ll have to check if someone has done a YouTube video doing proper TOC from Scrivener to Word.

To extend upon what @Mad_Girl_Disease is saying, if you have a sensible Heading # hierarchy in your document, then you can and should be inserting a native ToC using Word itself. It sounds like you are instead using Scrivener’s "fake ToC’ copy and paste tool. I wouldn’t recommend that if you are routing through Word. You might leave your contents document empty, so you can have a convenient place to insert it.

The copy and paste tool is fine for quick proofing print outs where having a fully functional PDF isn’t necessary, or if it’s going to paper and red pen. So it does have some use, but not so much with a word processor.

This is probably the most comprehensive tutorial on setting up Scrivener to produce a well-formed document for this purpose. It goes into a bit of theory and such at the start, which you can safely skip over if you know the drill. It’s a bit more intensive a set-up, but it’s one of those things that you can figure out once and then use over and over with different projects going forward, with very little overhead.

Is it possible for Scrivener 3 in Windows to add links onto a page that will point to other documents/sections of the book and allow you to click them in PDF format? The clicking works great in Scrivener itself.

Is there a configuration I should be looking for so that PDF output retains the links. Http and emailto links work fine in PDF. Just can’t get internal sections to remain linked to after outputting to PDF.

As noted above that isn’t supported by the PDF engine.

I’ll try to remember this, as I keep getting moved about to other threads talking about this as though a solution (inside Scrivener) exists, so I don’t ask again.

No worries! If you get a notification about a post being moved, it’s a good idea to scroll up and see what it got added to, as often the answer will be there.

I am using Scrivener 3 for Windows. When I autogenerate a Table of Contents, everything displays but the links do not work in PDF. What am I missing? Thank you.

Do any of the many recent posts here about TOC provide you any clues?

Are you compiling the entire document oe only the ToC?

I will be compiling the whole document with the TOC.

Everything displays properly but the links do not work.