I'm creating a portfolio PDF in InDesign; the InDesign file contains some hyperlinks (some web links and a couple of email addresses, plus some text anchors for in-document navigation). The best balance between image quality and file size that I'm able to get comes from exporting from InDesign (v5.5) using a particular preset, then shaving an extra MB off the file by using Acrobat (v10) to resave it as an optimized PDF (Save as > Optimized PDF).

What I am discovering is that although the hyperlinks work perfectly in the file directly exported from InDesign, the optimization process in Acrobat seems to remove the hyperlink information — ie. the various buttons are no longer clickable after optimization. I've tried changing all manner of settings in the Optimized PDF dialogue, to no avail. Does anyone know what aspect of ‘Save as optimized PDF’ is breaking my hyperlinks?

  • You'd have to check all the tabs in the PDFOptimizer dialog, particularly the ones about removing stuff.
    – Max Wyss
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 0:16
  • I have done that, and I’ve turned off anything that looks like it might affect hyperlinks, but it has made no difference — hyperlinks are still broken by the optimization process. I’ll try turning off everything and see what happens. Experiments will continue…
    – RickL
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 10:31
  • Same problem when you download/export a Google Document as PDF and then try to use ‘Save as optimized PDF’. Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 11:27

1 Answer 1


Okay, I've finally pinned it down. In the 'Discard User Data' panel of the PDF Optimizer dialogue, turning off 'Discard all comments, forms and multimedia' got the document’s internal navigation jumps (set as text anchors in InDesign) working again. But the external hyperlinks still didn't work until I also turned off 'Discard external cross references' in the same panel.

Making those two changes allowed my PDF to come out the other side of the optimisation process with its internal and external links working correctly.

  • Same problem when you download/export a Google Document as PDF and then try to use ‘Save as optimized PDF’. This is a SOLUTION for this case also. Thank you. Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 11:30
  • Thanks, this works. Commented May 9, 2023 at 9:29
  • Wow, I have needed this information for 20 years. I often spend hours futzing with the online version of quarterly publication I design, and almost always end up recreating at least half the hyperlinks directly in Acrobat after I optimize it. Thank you so much for "pinning down" the solution! Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 0:55

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