It takes a lot of time to add bookmarks, hyperlinks, form fields, buttons, and other interactive elements to a PDF. Inevitably however, you’ll need to change your design. How can you update your PDF when the original layout is modified?

We’ll often catch designers painstakingly copying form fields from the old PDF into a newly created PDF — or worse, rebuilding all those interactive elements by hand. There is a much easier way.

The full version of Acrobat provides a Replace Pages feature that allows you to swap out the PDF background, yet retain all your time-consuming interactive elements.

In your existing PDF, choose Document > Replace Pages. Select a newly created PDF with your updated design, and indicate which pages you want to replace. Acrobat inserts your new design while the original form fields and interactive elements are maintained in exactly the same locations.

This feature should save a few designers an hour or two.

Source: This tip inspired by a recent question on updating PDF Forms from the in-house graphics department at Washington Mutual Bank. This tip comes directly from page 6 of the July 2007 issue of Jay Nelson’s Design Tools Monthly. (By the way, Creativetechs’ member clients receive a complimentary subscription to this terrific publication in their monthly care package).