How to Bookmark a Page in a PDF Document in Adobe Reader

Saikat Basu 27-10-2017

Adobe rules the roost when it comes to the Portable Document Format (PDF). Like it or hate it.


Even as Adobe Reader puffed up with importance and size, free PDF alternatives 4 Very Light Alternatives to Adobe Reader Are you still using Adobe Reader for PDF documents? It's time to move on to an alternative PDF reader that is lightweight, launches quickly, and yet keeps your documents save. Read More  have romped into the scene. They brought in new features and some you could only find in the commercial Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, the paid big brother of the still free Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.

There are still good reasons to use it. A better typography engine, support for 3D content, and the bridge to the Adobe Document Cloud is on top of the list. You have 2 GB of free storage there in the cloud. And, then there are many good reasons to avoid Acrobat Reader This Is Why You Don't Need Adobe Reader Adobe Reader is bloated, slow, and a liability. In short, it's unnecessary. Do you need a PDF Reader at all? We show you how to open PDF files without Adobe Reader. Read More .

If you have gone either way, then you will have to live with the pros and cons of both. But, as a layman, I miss one of the most basic features it should have in an application it calls a “Reader”:

You can’t bookmark a page in a PDF document you open with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Imagine you are reading A Game of Thrones (the first book of the A Song of Ice and Fire series). You just left it on Page Number 312. Leaving aside the fact that you should never read it in the PDF, how are you supposed to come back to the same page when you start reading again?


The problem is still unresolved. Adobe has a handy bookmark tool on the left sidebar. But you cannot create your own from there. So, let’s create a few workarounds and solve the bookmark problem.

The Easy Way to Remember a Page in Adobe Reader

Adobe Reader does not let you create and place new bookmarks, but there’s one little setting you can apply that will help the software remember the last page that was opened by the PDF reader. It is “technically” not a bookmark, but it’s a simple checkmark that you should enable always.

Follow the steps below to enable the native feature.

  1. Go to Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Acrobat / Adobe Acrobat Reader > Preferences (Mac OS). You can also use the keyboard shortcut Control + K.
  2. Click on Documents under the listed categories on the left.
  3. As shown in the screenshot below, enable the feature that says – Restore last view settings when reopening documents. Click OK and exit.

Preferences in Adobe Acrobat Reader


Now, open any number of PDF documents; Adobe Reader remembers the page you left it at. This may not be a bookmarking solution, may not give you the option to mark out multiple points in a book, but is a simple elegant answer to our basic requirement when we open up an ebook in a PDF reader The 6 Best PDF Readers for Windows in 2019 The best PDF readers don't cost any money. Read our roundup of feature-rich PDF viewers that out perform even Adobe Reader. Read More .

Use the Markup Tools

The Markup tools provide two distinct workarounds for creating a bookmark.

Highlight Text to Mimic a Bookmark

You may not be someone who highlights and annotates PDF documents 5 Free Tools to Edit PDF Files PDFs are universally useful. However, they fall short when it comes to editing. We're here to show you the best free tools to edit your PDF files. Read More . Use this feature to bookmark the last read place if you use the Highlight feature in Acrobat Reader sparingly.

  1. The Highlight tool is represented by the symbol of a pen in the Adobe Reader’s toolbar. Click on it to activate the highlighter.
  2. Highlight the part of the text which you want to “bookmark” and come back to later. Save the PDF when you close the Reader.
  3. Scrolling through the pages to arrive at the marked-up highlight can be a chore. Use the Thumbnails view on the left sidebar instead.

Adobe Reader - Bookmark with a Highlight


Remember, you can always delete the highlight as you move ahead through the document. Right-click on the highlighted text (or image) and select Delete from the context menu that pops up.

Bookmark with a Sticky Note and a Comment

Use a similar approach with the Sticky Note tool on the toolbar. It is the most common way to add a comment to a PDF file. You can spot it right next to the Highlight pen. The Sticky Note also gives you the advantage of a timestamp and a text area where you can add your own comments — in the best traditions of adding book notes to the margins.

Bookmark with a Comment

Now, you can easily jump to the specific comment you added to the note. Open the PDF document in the Acrobat Reader.

  1. Go to View > Tools > Comment> Open.
  2. The Comments list appears in the right pane of the document window. It displays all comments in a PDF and also displays a toolbar with common options, such as sorting, filtering, and other options to work with comments. Click on the comment and jump to the specific location in the document.

Comments in Adobe Acrobat

Did you notice the many annotations and drawing markup tools in the comment toolbar? These options are incredibly powerful ways to make your reading more immersive and involved. The complete breakdown of each tool is outside the scope of this article, but this Adobe Help page will take you through them all.

Annotation Tools in Adobe Acrobat

You can use the text and drawing tools in the toolbar to mark segments or sentences that are significant. The best way to remember all that you read How to Remember What You Read Using Simple Tools Reading more won't do you any good if you can't retain anything that you read. Use these tips when you find it difficult to remember what you read. Read More is to connect the information to details that exist outside the PDF document.

But, we still haven’t arrived at a precise way to bookmark a PDF document in the Acrobat Reader. It’s time to look at a hack supplied by a third-party.

A JavaScript Hack that Works with Adobe Acrobat

Call this a plug-in or an Adobe hack, but it is the only solution I could find to deliberately introduce a bookmarking feature in Adobe Reader. The small 5 KB JavaScript file is packaged in a downloadable ZIP file at PDF Hacks.

  1. Download and unzip the small file. Copy the file (“bookmark_page”) into your Acrobat Reader JavaScript’s directory. In my Windows 10 machine it is located at – C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat Reader DC\Reader\Javascripts.
  2. Launch a PDF file with Adobe Acrobat Reader and open the View menu. Four new items are clearly visible on the menu:
    Bookmark This Page> Bookmark This page.
    > Go To Bookmark.
    > Remove a Bookmark.
    > Clear Bookmarks.
  3. The numbers (5,6) next to the top two options refer to the keyboard shortcut keys.
  4. The functions are pretty much self-explanatory. From the page you want to bookmark, click on Bookmark This Page. The following box opens up and you can assign a name to the bookmark.Give a name to the bookmark
  5. Clicking on Go To Bookmark opens up a floating box and a click on each takes you to each successive bookmark you have set. You can bookmark as many numbers of pages as you want.Click on a bookmark.
  6. The other two options in the menu are also clear. The Remove a Bookmark command allows you to remove a single bookmark and Clear Bookmarks wipes out all the bookmarks in one go.

Do Note: For some PDF files, the hack works smoothly. In others, you might get an internal error notification. To resolve it, go to Edit> Preferences. Scroll down the categories and select JavaScript. Place a check against Enable Acrobat JavaScript. Click OK and exit.

Enable Javascript.

Is the Absence of a Bookmark Feature a Deal Breaker?

We still need our PDF files and a powerful reader What Is a PDF File and Why Do We Still Rely on Them? PDFs have been around for over two decades. Let's find out how they came about, how they work, and why they're so popular years later. Read More . The Adobe Acrobat Reader is just that — a simple reader of PDF files. It is meant to be a stepping stone to the full-fledged Adobe Acrobat Pro DC which allows bookmark creation.

Over time, the free version has introduced the markup tools and better security features. But, coding in a bookmark structure is a different ballgame. So, tell us about your tryst with PDF bookmarks.

Do you know of any other way to bookmark ebooks in Adobe Reader? Which is your favorite PDF reader? Does it allow bookmarks?

Image Credit: mizar_219842/Depositphotos

Related topics: Adobe Reader, Digital Document, Online Bookmarks, PDF.

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  1. Bob
    January 21, 2020 at 5:27 pm

    A thousand thanks for the Adobe Reader bookmark hack. Works well for me.

  2. Darketernal
    January 16, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    I swear to God that the easiest way to bookmark a PDF file, is to open Notepad and write down, i am at page 58 of book xyz and then save it as a text file.

    I want to kill the scientists who made PDF 'standard'



    Most of the users in this world use microsoft, steve jobs is dead anyway, and Apple and Acrobat are in decline anyway. People only use acrobat because they are forced to, not because they want to!

    • Daniel
      October 7, 2018 at 10:43 am

      Most free PDF reader alternatives allow you to bookmark pages for easy browsing. What's more, they also allow editing. I use Foxit to read, edit, and create bookmarks. It does everything and it's free. There are a bunch of great programs out there just like it, too, so you can find exactly what suits your needs with just a small amount of research. Acrobat only allows editing and bookmark creation in the paid version, which no one has because all the free ones are just as good. If I wanted to use a PDF reader to ONLY read, I'd use Sumatra PDF because it's optimized for that. The only reason I can think of that people would use the premium version is if the company they work for provides it and requires it.

  3. Goran Ilic
    January 2, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Thanks for help with rembering page in acrobat reader,i read a lot and it was a huge problem until now.(Y).

  4. s.morteza
    September 22, 2017 at 7:53 am

    thanks sir you resolve my big issue

  5. Jaydeep
    August 20, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Khoob Bhalo,
    Thank You So very Much Dada. You solved an Age Old Problem for me.

    • Saikat Basu
      August 22, 2017 at 2:56 am

      Ha..ha. Thanks, Jaydeep.

  6. Abdul Gafoor
    July 19, 2017 at 6:29 am

    Great help. These two tips indeed solved my bookmarking issues.
    Thanks Mr. Saikat Basu.

  7. Abdul Gafoor
    July 19, 2017 at 6:25 am

    Great help. These tips indeed solved my bookmarking issues.
    Thank you Mr. Saikat Basu.

    May 9, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Sure, your hack works at least on my Adobe on Win 10. The issue I have with this hack is associating bookmarks to a specific PDF documents. After all on book A I have one set of bookmarks and on book B another. My understanding is that you have one set of bookmarks no matter for which PDF document: is this correct?

  9. John
    April 4, 2017 at 4:51 am

    Thanks for your tips.
    Furthermore, I have found another way with basic tools of Adobe reader in order to bookmark. We can use comment tool to save bookmark and pick comment list to review.
    Hope to be helpful for you guys.

    • Saikat Basu
      April 4, 2017 at 4:54 am

      Oh that works just as well. Thanks for the tip, John.

  10. Happy Ten
    January 31, 2017 at 11:35 am

    Thanks, been wanting to know how to do that for a while now!

  11. H. Ali
    January 16, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Works fine in Adobe_Reader 9.
    Thanks for the tip...

    • Saikat Basu
      January 22, 2017 at 6:41 am

      Thanks for the feedback :)

  12. dickster
    December 28, 2016 at 8:54 am

    The java program didn't work for me, i am happy with the Remember the last page in the Preference option. Its good enough for me to continue from where u last started.

    • Saikat Basu
      December 30, 2016 at 2:46 pm

      I haven't used it some time. Maybe, the lack of updates has finally caught up with it. But yes, the preference setting is the only fallback we have now.

  13. Ed
    November 6, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    I also have a very large PDF that didn't save the table of contents, however this hack worked beautifully. Wasn't sure if I needed to save the file so I did anyway, and when I went to View/Go To Bookmark sure enough a little box comes up with the 2 pages I marked. Perfect! Thank you!

    • Saikat Basu
      November 8, 2016 at 7:18 am

      As long as it keeps working :)

  14. Kirti
    November 4, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    This worked great for me, thanks!

  15. Negede
    November 2, 2016 at 6:03 am

    Thanks a lot a lot... this is very helpful and quenching

  16. Yead
    September 26, 2016 at 6:03 am

    awesome stuff and very useful. Thanks

  17. Aloha
    September 5, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    works, many thanks!

    • Saikat Basu
      September 15, 2016 at 2:52 pm stil does. And the many comments here just underscore the importance of having this as a default feature.

  18. Bestsellers
    September 1, 2016 at 8:57 am

    Good solution.

  19. antonio
    August 25, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Good solution.
    It would be neat though if it were possible to integrate those bookmarks into the navigation pane.
    More straightforward access.
    The suggested software (pdfhacks) seems to be from 2004, a less privileged time for pdf stuff.
    Looking for alternatives.
    But great start! Thank you.

    • Saikat Basu
      August 27, 2016 at 6:41 am

      Should be a default feature TBH. Do post here if you find a good alternative.

      • Garreth
        January 6, 2017 at 9:54 am

        See freeware project jpdfbookmarks []
        Not a great solution IMO, but less hacky than a .JS hack!

        • Saikat Basu
          January 25, 2017 at 6:44 pm

          Still a bit rough, but a good suggestion nonetheless :)

  20. Mohsen
    August 20, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    thank you for help me :)

  21. MorganTWD
    April 9, 2016 at 2:54 am

    How do I use the keyboard shortcuts, pressing 5 or 6 on my keyboard doesn't do anything. What am I doing wrong?

    • Saikat Basu
      April 11, 2016 at 6:29 am

      It's been some time since I used this. Press CTRL and then the number key.

      • MorganTWD
        April 13, 2016 at 9:47 pm

        Thanks for the reply, but that doesn't work for me. I tried other key combinations too but no joy. Pressing CTRL + 6 adds a sticky note instead of the 'Go to bookmark' function. Maybe the keyboard shortcuts just don't work with my version of Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (2015 Release). I'll have to stick to using the mouse. Still good, just slower.

        • Anonymous
          May 6, 2016 at 5:55 am

          Press Alt and V at a same time, then press the number key.

  22. Rinaldo
    April 5, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    That is awesome! One Doubt, can i create nested bookmarks?

    • Saikat Basu
      April 6, 2016 at 11:52 am

      No...nested bookmarks isn't possible with this. But it is an idea.

  23. Ayaz
    March 16, 2016 at 5:38 am


  24. Indhumathi
    March 7, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    A handy solution for an important problem. Thank you so much!!

  25. Gretchen
    March 4, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    So simple yet so brilliant! Thank you!

  26. Jose
    January 13, 2016 at 7:12 am

    Many thanks, you are so helpful

  27. Mani
    December 31, 2015 at 9:59 pm

    I tried to load it but keep getting an error. What am I doing wrong?

  28. Bob
    December 27, 2015 at 5:13 am

    Worked like a champ. You saved me may waster minutes. Thanks!

  29. efinito lafable jr
    December 15, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    very useful specially now that i'm pursuing my mba..thanks a lot.

    • Saikat Basu
      December 16, 2015 at 11:06 am

      Glad it helped. Best of luck with your MBA. Try out John's advice with sticky notes (below) too.

  30. John
    December 9, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    I have also used sticky notes as de facto book marks. When you click on comments on the right-top corner of the document, it will list all of your sticky notes, and you can navigate through the document by clicking on them.

    • Saikat Basu
      December 13, 2015 at 8:10 am

      That's a good workaround as well. Thanks John.

  31. Guldem
    December 4, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Thank you very much! This has been the perfect solution that I have been looking for for a long while.

    • Saikat Basu
      December 4, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      You are welcome. I am glad this is helping out so many of our readers. Most of the credit goes to PDF Hacks of course.

  32. santosh
    November 19, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    superb thanks

  33. Anonymous
    November 3, 2015 at 3:09 am

    Thank u soooooooooooo much........for this help's me a lot.........great work.......

  34. Anonymous
    October 25, 2015 at 9:18 am

    That was one easy solution. Just applied in my reader DC. Thanks.

  35. Anonymous
    October 22, 2015 at 7:22 am

    Thanks a lot... this is really awesome and works well

    • Saikat Basu
      October 26, 2015 at 10:05 am

      Thanks Fiaz, Glad to know that so many readers are finding this useful. All credit to the guy who created the PDF Hack in the first place :)

  36. Anonymous
    September 27, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    Thanks works great ! Finding this was a miracle since Adobe insist on calling table of content bookmarks so all you get when you google is how to create a table of content !

    I don't know why the have insisted of not including such an obvious feature on their reader, remembering I have to start scrolling my books just to find where I left of is enough for me to procrastinate on my reading !

    Again Thanks Alot

    • Saikat Basu
      September 28, 2015 at 3:24 am

      The other alternative is to use a lightweight PDF reader that actually supports bookmarks.

  37. Anonymous
    September 17, 2015 at 3:03 am

    Here's what doesn't make sense.... When I opened my PDF ebook on the left hand side of Adobe Reader it says right there bookmarks and it has a list of each and every chapter and sub chapter and you can click on them. Although this bookmark feature does not bookmark/ save your page it makes me wonder what is the purpose of this bookmark feature in adobe reader if it doesn't do anything? I tried it and it wouldn't bookmark my ebook when I opened up the ebook again I was back to page 1 however using your methods described here did the trick. Just doesn't make sense especially since it's a feature I am sure many people will use.

    • Saikat Basu
      September 17, 2015 at 3:17 am

      My best guess is that Adobe just wants to keep it as a simple reader -- nothing more, nothing less.

      But yes, they should probably rename "bookmarks" to something like Contents or Table of Contents.

      • Anonymous
        September 17, 2015 at 4:15 am

        Well as a reader who reads a lot of books digitally through my tablet I use adobe reader quite often. A bookmark feature would be perfect to bookmark the page you left off on when you're in the middle of a chapter and have to stop reading for whatever reason. Nonetheless it is what it is at least I was able to use the workaround to bookmark my pages.

        • Anonymous
          October 14, 2015 at 3:20 pm

          Actually, the reader will already do that, but you have to change a setting in the preferences. Go to edit, then preferences. In the "documents" section, check "restore last view settings when opening documents".

  38. Anonymous
    September 8, 2015 at 2:33 am

    Thanks a lot !

  39. Anonymous
    August 24, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    thanks...that was very useful.

  40. Anonymous
    August 14, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Both work great, thanks!

    • Saikat Basu
      August 17, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      I wish they would make this default features in all PDF readers. C'mon -- anything that has to do with reading has to have a bookmark!

  41. Anonymous
    June 7, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    Wonderful. so simple Thanks

  42. suresh
    May 14, 2015 at 4:53 am

    thank you sir

  43. Charl
    May 12, 2015 at 7:24 am

    Thanks a million, it works 100%! I've been looking for something like this for a long time.

  44. Mike
    April 26, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Very nice fix, and a good example of technical communication.

  45. Travis
    April 22, 2015 at 3:25 am

    It doesn't work for me! >:(

  46. some guy
    April 22, 2015 at 3:22 am

    Thanks. Trying to study for a logistics course & was baffled as to why there wasn't a goddamn bookmark.

  47. Jarmo
    April 11, 2015 at 5:11 pm


  48. Alan
    March 20, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Very useful. Is there a way to make the bookmarks appear in a bookmark pane on the left?

    • Saikat
      March 21, 2015 at 2:51 pm

      Using the JavaScript hack opens up a floating box but not anything on the left pane.

  49. JamesR404
    March 18, 2015 at 10:00 am

    That's great! I have to read large volumes of PDFs at the moment, and this is a godsend. T H A N K S.

  50. Daniel
    March 7, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Perfect for a pdf addicted like me.

  51. RavenMind
    February 27, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Thank you so much for taking the time to post this info. This is exactly what I was looking for! :)

    • Saikat
      February 27, 2015 at 11:03 am

      Thanks for the note of appreciation. That's fuel for us writers.

  52. jakee308
    February 22, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Tried this and it was just what i was looking for. I have a bunch of tech books to read and I was very frustrated by the lack of being able to bookmark where I left off. Thank you.

    • Saikat
      February 23, 2015 at 5:32 am

      Glad it helped. I am still surprised that such a basic thing isn't part of Adobe Reader.

  53. Fran
    February 11, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    It works great in the first document I read, but then all the bookmarks show up in the next one, too! Can you help fix this?

    Thank you.

    • Fran
      February 11, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      Never mind! I found the answer: apparently the bookmarks you create persist across sessions because the data is stored in a persistent, global JavaScript variable. So that's the way it is, apparently.

    • Saikat
      February 11, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      Great! I was just about to try it out myself.

    • tay
      May 12, 2015 at 2:18 am

      having the same problem... how did you fix it?

  54. Karl
    January 19, 2015 at 1:50 am

    Worked for me. Thank you.

  55. joe
    January 3, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    Adobe is so stupid, why would they call table of contents, "bookmarks"? It should be as simple as view/add bookmark.

  56. Jagz W
    July 5, 2012 at 3:39 am

    It worked ! Great help. thx

  57. lalalala
    June 19, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    When all else fails, you can insert a text. I go to Chapter 1 of my book and insert a text that says "Chapter 1" then when I have to refer to it I do a Ctrl F "Chapter 1"

    • Saikat Basu
      June 19, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      Notes, annotations, even highlighting the title...anything that works :) Earlier, I used to write it in a Notepad file.

  58. Sandhya
    May 8, 2012 at 8:42 am

    9. Ggarlic 2008/04/06 12:36 ls???Acrobat????????acrobat????????????????adobe rdaeer?acrobatdolph 2008/04/06 22:25reader??????acrobatacrobat rdaeer??????????acrobat rdaeer speedup ???????????????????????pdf??????????????????????????acrobat rdaeer????????????dolph 2008/04/06 22:26???acrobat rdaeer ???????????Nice 2008/04/07 03:49???? Acrobat ????????????????????????????????????????????????????……Nice 2008/04/07 03:50SP 1?“??????????”

  59. Joyce Njambi
    January 12, 2012 at 11:31 am

    thanks for this.. I had stopped using Adobe Reader and switched to Foxit because of bookmarks!

  60. Everyonelikesthis
    January 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    it worked great..I like it