Removing slashes from Word-generated PDF file bookmarks

This has been bugging the hell out of me for a while now.  I write my user manuals in Word 2007, and export them as PDF files for inclusion on the HamGadgets web site as well as on the CD-ROMs I ship with each order.

Once in a while, I get an extraneous slash character in the PDF file bookmarks.  This always happens on a page where I have a diagram or picture embedded.  For example, this time it was the page of the ID-O-Matic manual that has the schematic diagram.  I could play around with moving the picture, etc — sometimes I could make the problem WORSE, but never better.  One time it showed up with a completely new bookmark, just a slash on a line by itself, which took me to the picture — not the page heading.  Eureka.

Turns out — your embedded picture can have text format attributes set, just like text can.  The picture in question got added with a “Heading 3” attribute, which made it show up in the PDF bookmarks.  Since it was a picture with no text, it jsut had a slash for the bookmark.  Depending on exactlyhow things were laid out, it could show up either prepended to the heading (like “/Schematic“) or on a line all by itself.  I imagine it would have probably shown up in the TOC if I’d added one.  I selected the picture, hit the Normal text format button, re-saved as PDF…  end of problem.

Word Help was useless, as usual, and Google searches for this turned up almost nothing.  There was a post to a M$ Office forum from someone in Holland with the exact same problem, posted in 2010 and with no replies posted.  I’m not going to sign up to that forum so I can “necropost” the fix, but maybe this blog entry till get indexed and save someone else some trouble.