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From the author of File Attachments

File Attachments

The second little-used tool you should explore is the File Attachment tool (Figure 9). This annotation tool allows you to attach a file—any file, any type of file—to your PDF page. It is the PDF equivalent of paper-clipping a doctor’s note to your letter asking to be excused from appearing in court for that unfortunate incident with the mechanical squirrel and the neighbor’s dog (Figure 8).

Figure 8 The File Attachment annotation lets you attach a file of any type to your PDF page. Here I’ve attached an Excel spreadsheet to my page.

Forming an Attachment to Your Document

You attach a file to your PDF page in the predictable way:

  1. Click on the File Attachment tool in the Comment Pane (Figure 9).
  2. Figure 9 The File Attachment tool is immediately to the left of the Sound annotation tool in the Acrobat X Comment pane.

    The mouse pointer will turn into a very tiny paper clip (Figure 10).

    Figure 10 The mouse pointer turns into a tiny paperclip when you click the File Attachment tool.

  3. Click on the page at the location you want for the annotation and select a file in the resulting Pick-a-File dialog box. Acrobat will display the File Attachments Properties dialog box (Figure 11).
  4. Figure 11 The only File Attachment property I’ve ever had an impulse to change is the icon. Still, you may have strong feelings about color and opacity, and I won’t stand in your way.

  5. Make whatever changes you think are necessary to the properties. I’ve never found reason to change anything but the icon myself; I’m partial to the pushpin.
  6. Click the OK button. The attached file appears as an icon on the PDF page (Figure 12).
  7. Figure 12 When the mouse rolls over your placed attachment, Acrobat displays a tooltip containing the name of the file.

Note in Figure 12 that if you hover the mouse pointer over the attachment icon, Acrobat will display a tooltip that contains the name of the attached file.

Reading the attached file couldn’t be simpler or more obvious: Double-click the attachment icon. Acrobat will open the file in whatever application is associated with that file type on your computer system.

Stand Back! Bloat in Progress!

Like Sound annotations, File Attachments are an excellent way of producing a huge PDF file. The entire attached file is stored among the PDF data, so you should exercise a bit of caution when creating an attachment. Storing a spreadsheet file? Good. Attaching the installer file for Microsoft Office? Bad.

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