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PDF layers

Registered: Aug 30 2009
Posts: 6

Hi folks!

I'm working on a file in Illustrator that I'm about to present to a client, via PDF. I've set up layers to be viewable in Acrobat, but I'm wondering if there is a way to make it so that sub-layers are viewable/hidable as well?

Thanks for your time,

Steve Dolan
Adobe Creative Suite User Group

-Steve Dolan
Web and Graphic Designer

Co-creator, Creative Suite Adobe User Group -

My Product Information:
Acrobat Pro 9.2
Registered: Oct 29 2008
Posts: 1357
Currently in the Acrobat UI you cannot organize layers into grouped levels, however there is a hack to get [b]one[/b] sub-level to appear, provided you don't mind a bit of work and a slice of fakery.

- export each top-level layer of your AI file into a new AI file.
- in each one, remove the top level layer, so your sub-layers become the top level. You can't of course have an object orphaned outside a sub-level.
- save each file as a PDF with the "create Acrobat layers" option checked, and name the PDF using the original name of the top level layer.
- open the first of these PDFs in Acrobat, and expand the layers sidebar.
- click the gear tool icon and choose "import as layer".
- select the next PDF and choose "copy layers from source". Choose where it stacks using the appearance options, and click OK.
- import the other PDFs as layers in the same way.
- in the sidebar the layers are now grouped by the PDF file names they came from. Double-click each one to rename it as required (without the .pdf).

The only thing you can't do is toggle the "top level" as a group - only the sub-levels have checkboxes as they're the only genuine OCGs - but you could knock up a Javascript to control them in groups if you really need to.

Automating all that isn't easy as we don't have complete access to the layers popup window via the batch and script engines, but if you've only got a few top level layers it doesn't take long.