How to Link Directly to a Specific Page in an Online PDF

If you want to add a URL that links directly to a specific page in a PDF document, there’s a simple code to add to the URL.

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Filed Under: Home Office Hacks
Topics: PDF

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I’m often needing to link to a specific page in a PDF when I add a link to this site. It’s something that comes up often with camera instruction manuals. They can often run to several hundred pages long, and it’s much more useful to the reader if I can link directly to a specific page rather than expecting them to scroll or search through.

Thankfully, there’s a simple format that you just append to the end of the link (aka, a URL parameter). So it’s really quick and easy to do.

The format is like this:


And you just add that to the end of the URL.

And to clarify, the types of links I’m referring to here are external links from a web page to a PDF, such as those you’d include in a web page to point to a PDF that’s also on the web. The process for adding internal links is different; you can find a guide here.

Practical Example

So, as a practical example, if I want to link directly to the section of the product manual for the Sony a1 camera that is on manual focus (which is on page 41), the modified URL would look like this:

In this, I’ve just added the #page=41 part to the end. Everything else remains the same.

Things to Watch Out For

Something to watch is that you’re linking to the page you meant to link to. What I mean by that is that you want to use the actual page count of the PDF, which is not necessarily the same as the page number printed on the page. Sometimes there can be an offset, maybe because of the preface being numbered with Roman numerals. Or there can be deliberate blank pages, or illustrations, or so on. And many PDFs are printed side-by-side book-style, which can throw the page number correlation off by a large amount.

So rather than looking at the number printed on the page, you should look at the number that shows in the browser window or the app’s window.

Here’s a practical example from a camera manual. If you look at the printed page number in the red box, you can see that it’s quite different from the counted page displayed in the browser window status. For the link, you’d want to use the one that the arrow points to.

URL Link to PDF Specific Page

When embedding a PDF in a web page using something like PDF Embedder or iframe or using the <embed> tag, there’s often a similar mechanism for displaying at a specific page in a multi-page PDF rather than starting at the beginning.

For example:
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by David Coleman

I'm a professional freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here. More »