Kroll Design
Needham, Massachusetts


PDF Tutorials

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See also: More PDF tutorials


BUTTONS: Add a label to a "Print Form" button that already exists but for whatever reason is just a gray rectangle with no words:
  1. Switch to the "Select Object" tool by choosing Tools / Advanced Editing / Select Object Tool from the menu.
  2. Right click on the gray box, which should display a pop up menu.
  3. From the pop up menu for the gray box choose "Properties", which opens the Button Properties window.
  4. Click on the "Options" tab in the Button Properties window.
  5. Make sure that the "State" box has "Up" selected, not "Down" or "Rollover".
  6. In the "Label:" field, type "Print Form"
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EDITABLE PDF: Make a PDF editable in Adobe Reader and able to be saved:
Acrobat X:
File / Save As / Reader Extended PDF

Acrobat 9:
Advanced / Extend Features in Adobe Reader
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FILE SIZE: Reduce file size of a PDF:
This is one of those things that you shouldn't have to worry about, but unfortunately, Adobe Acrobat can be finicky and inconsistent when it comes to file size. If you feel that the size of your PDF is "too large", here are some things to try:
  • Editing Text: Avoid doing text editing within Acrobat. If the source document is available, such as a Microsoft Word doc, update the Word doc then saving as PDF will not only be easier, it will probably be a smaller file size than editing the PDF directly with the TouchUp Text Tool
  • Save As: Simply do File / Save As to create a copy of the PDF. The new PDF will sometimes be a lot smaller, sometimes it will be slightly smaller, and sometimes there will be no change, but it's easy to try, and worth giving a shot.
  • Document / Reduce File Size: this menu item in Acrobat will then ask what version of Acrobat to make the new file compatible with. Choosing a more recent version of Acrobat will result in larger file size reduction.
  • Mac Preview utility:
  • if you're working on a Mac, open the PDF using the 'Preview' utility that came with your computer. Choose File / Save As, then in the Save As window, choose a 'Format' of 'PDF' and a 'Quartz Filter' of 'Reduce File Size'
  • Line Art (logos, etc): If the problem with the PDF seems to be that some line art (art that looks good no matter how much you zoom in is line art, not pixel art) has is bloating the file size, export the line art from Acrobat to Word then back to Acrobat as follows:
    • In Acrobat, using the Touchup Object Tool (Tools / Advanced Editing / Touchup Object Tool), select and delete everything other than the logo or whatever line art that you want to reduce the file size of.
    • In Acrobat, export the line art using File / Export / PostScript / Encapsulated PostScript.
    • In Microsoft Word, import the .EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) file that you created in the previous step using Insert / Photo / Picture from File
    • In Microsoft Word, do File / Save As to save as a PDF.
    • Open this new PDF in Acrobat, and using Touchup Object Tool, select the logo, then do Edit / Copy to copy it to the clipboard.
    • In the old PDF, select the logo using the Touchup Object Tool, then do Edit / Paste to paste the "new" logo onto the page. Immediately use the arrow keys to move it into position, before the pasted logo is deselected.
    This is a lot of jumping through hoops, and this shouldn't even be something that one would consider doing, but Acrobat unfortunately can produce overly large and needlessly large PDFs.
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GOOGLE SEARCH: How do I prevent Google from adding PDF's to its search index? I don't want people Googling my site, only to have documents like my Terms and Conditions pdf appearing there.
create a file called robots.txt in the root of your domain, with the following content:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /pdf/

Also, add the following to the head section of pages where you don't want things that are linked to it to be indexed:
<meta name="robots" content="nofollow">
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GUIDES: Remove guides from a PDF:
If you want to remove guides, and not just hide them:
Right click on a rule and select Clear All Guides
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HIGHLIGHT TOOL: Highlight tool won't highlight entire word:
You're given a PDF and asked to highlight a word in yellow to make it easier to find. So you open the PDF in Acrobat Pro, Tools / Comment & Markup / Highlight Text Tool, and drag the mouse over the word, hoping (but not assuming—after all, this is Acrobat we're dealing with here) that it will quickly and easily highlight the word. But golly gee, what a shock, Acrobat screws up yet again—no matter how many times you try, no matter how far you zoom in, it simply WILL NOT highlight the entire word:

So to investigate, you then use Tools / Advanced Editing / TouchUp Object Tool, click around, and you notice that the word is chopped up into odd collections of letters, and the letter that isn't being highlighted can't even be selected. You wonder if there's some cool programming technique that would take only 3 hours to code, that would merge the letters back into one word, but in the meantime, here's something you can do to add a highlight to the phantom letter:
  • Open a new blank PDF using File / Create PDF / From Blank Page. The blank page should be all ready for you to type text, but if not, choose Tools / Select & Zoom / Select Tool
  • Type a period (".")
  • Drag your mouse over the "." to select it, then right click on it and select Copy from the Popup menu
  • Go to the problem document that needs a bit more highlight, do Tools / Advanced Editing / TouchUp Object Tool if that tool isn't already selected, then right click on the problem PDF and choose Paste.
  • The "." should now be visible, and selected. With your mouse, move it so that it's overlapping the problem letter, so that hopefully you can't see the dot overlaying the letter, even though it's there.
  • Use Tools / Comment & Markup / Highlight Text Tool to drag the mouse over the letter that needs the highlight. If the highlight area is too big or too small, do undo a few times, then try again, using a smaller or larger font in the new blank document.

Acrobat, for workflow that's trivially easy and ultra quick...

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LEGAL: Convert a legal size PDF to letter size:
If you're given a PDF that is 8 1/2 by 14, but it has a bunch of white space at the bottom of each page and was obviously supposed to be created as 8 1/2 by 11, but you don't have the source document, thus requiring you to fix the PDF, here's how:
  1. Open the PDF
  2. View...Rulers
  3. Drag from the ruler to create a guide at 11 inches from the top
  4. Zoom out the PDF enough so that you can see the whole page
  5. Tools...Advanced Editing...Crop Tool, then drag a rectangle to define the new page size of 11 inches high. It's ok for the left and right of the rectangle to be beyond the left and right of the page
  6. Double click anywhere inside the crop rectangle that you just drew. This will open the Crop Pages dialog box. Make sure that the cropped page size is 8.5 by 11, select page range of ALL, then click OK.
  7. This is enough in most cases, but given that the crop tool merely HIDES what is cropped, instead of truly eliminating it, you may want to do the following extra steps to actually delete the hidden area:
  8. File...Export...PostScript...PostScript, and specify a different name than the PDF.
  9. Close the PDF, but keep Acrobat open.
  10. File...Create PDF...From File, and choose the PostScript file you just exported.
  11. File...Save or File...Save As to save the PDF with the name of your choice, whether the same name as the PDF that's 8 1/2 by 14, thus overlaying it, or some new name.
YIKES! All this, just to change the PDF from legal to letter size! And if the PDF that you're given has only some pages that are 8 1/2 by 14, you should crop only those pages, because cropping all pages will make the 8 1/2 by 11 pages 8 1/2 by 8!!! Such intuitive and well designed features, Acrobat!
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LOGOS: Replace a vector (.EPS) logo in a PDF:
Open existing PDF in Acrobat Pro
Select old logo by dragging a rectangle using Tools...Advanced Editing...Touchup Object Tool
Hit Delete to delete old logo
Find new .EPS logo you want to use
Open the new logo in Acrobat Pro
Select new logo by dragging a rectangle using Tools...Advanced Editing...Touchup Object Tool
Drag corner to resize the logo
Right click on logo and select Copy
Select destination document where you deleted the old logo
Right click and select Paste
Use the arrow keys or mouse to position the new logo.
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MENU BAR: Show menu when the PDF opens with the menu hidden:
When a PDF is created, one can define how it should be initially displaye when opened. If person creating the PDF specified that the menu bar should be hidden, you'll open the PDF to find that you have no menu visible. To show the menu after opening such a PDF, or any other time that the menu is hidden for whatever reason, hit F9 on a PC, or Command-Shift-M on a Mac. Here's the window where one can specify how a given PDF should open:
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PASSWORD: Remove a password from a PDF:
Acrobat does not support removal of a password, but 3rd party products are available, some free, some not. On 2-19-2011 I used the following free software on a Windows Vista pc to successfully remove a password from a PDF:

At it says "Freeware PDF Unlocker works on windows Vista, Windows XP and Windows 7 and it supports both PDF and EPS formats.Get it from [sic] free from here:"
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Advanced...Document Processing...Export All Images
Advanced...Accessibility...Add Tags to Document
Advanced...Accessibility...Touch Up Reading Order
File...Export...Word Document
File...Export...Rich Text Format
unfortunately, there is no Export to InDesign option.
DON'T use File...Export...Image, which turns the entire page into an image. Click here for a discussion of a Recosoft Corporation plug-in for creating InDesign documents from PDFs.
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PDF/A MODE: "You are viewing this document in PDF/A mode", Touchup Object Tool is grayed out:
If you want to add a logo to a PDF, but when you open the PDF, it says "You are viewing this document in PDF/A mode" and the Touchup Object Tool is grayed out, thus preventing you from pasting in the logo, here's one way to fix it:
  1. Open the problem PDF.
  2. Open the PDF containing the logo that you want to use.
  3. In the logo PDF, select Tools...Advanced Editing...Touchup Object Tool to make sure the tool isn't grayed out.
  4. Choose File...Combine...Merge files into a Single PDF.
  5. If the problem PDF is already listed, you'll probably see "Warning: Merged document will no longer comply with ISO 19005 (PDF/A)". That's fine.
  6. Click the Add Files button to select whatever of the two PDF's is not listed.
  7. Click the Combine Files button.
  8. On the page with the logo, select Tools...Advanced Editing...Touchup Object Tool then lasso around the logo and then do Edit...Copy.
  9. Click on the page that you want to paste the logo to and do Edit...Paste.
  10. Move and size the logo as desired.
  11. Click on the pages icon in the upper left to display thumbnails of each page.
  12. Right click on the icon of the page that has just the logo, and select Delete Pages from the pop-up menu.
  13. Delete that page.
  14. Save the PDF.
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SPELLCHECK: Spellcheck a PDF:
Acrobat Pro 8 can spellcheck comments, but NOT the body of the PDF itself. Shocking, I know, given how wonderful a product Acrobat is. So to do spell check, export the document to a Word doc (File...Export...Word Document), then do the spell check in Word.
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VECTOR GRAPHICS: Create a PDF from Word with high quality graphics:
If you add a vector (.EPS) logo to the Word doc, then save the Word doc as PDF, the PDF will have a vector logo. This is better than adding a pixel logo to a Word doc, then going into Acrobat to swap it for a vector logo, because there's less steps involved and you don't even have to update the document in Acrobat.
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©2012 Kroll Design    781.910.3694
Last modified: 10/3/2012 7:30 PM