Skip to main content
Acrobat 10Acrobat 9.0Workflow

Do you know about the “headers & footers” option in Acrobat?

By April 19, 2011June 6th, 2022No Comments

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the ABATechShow in Chicago, where I was asked to deliver two talks for the Paperless track. First let me say that if you've never been to TechShow you should go. Soon!

TechShow attracts over 1,000 lawyers and legal professionals who yearn for practical information on how to use technology to do a better job practicing law. The people who speak at TechShow are not only extremely knowledgeable (I'm not even in the top 10% there), but also amazingly generous with that knowledge. So it's not just the sesssions that are instructive; just hanging around the hallways or the information booth can yield some really cool tips. Which brings me to today's topic, which involves something I learned from my co-presenter, Larry Smith.

I had never paid attention to the Headers & Footers option in Acrobat, and so when Larry suggested we cover it in our talk ("Getting the Most Out of PDF Software") I was skeptical. "What practical use does that have," I asked Larry. His answer surprised me (in a good way) and maybe it will surprise you too.

First of all where do you find this option? It's the first option listed under the DOCUMENTS menu. If you select it you'll see three other options as shown in the screenshot below (click on it to make it larger).

Screen shot 2011-04-18 at 6.54.21 PM

So apparently you can add Headers & Footers or remove them, or even update them. What other option in Acrobat (frequently used by lawyers, and paralegals) does that sound like? If you answered "bates-stamping" you can advance to the next round, where the following screenshot will seem familiar:

Screen shot 2011-04-18 at 6.57.45 PM

The dialogue box for Headers & Footers looks exactly like the one for Bates-Stamping, except for at least one thing: it doesn't have an option to Insert Bates-number. So, just for comparison I have included a screenshot of the dialogue box that gets presented when you choose the Bate-stamp function:

Screen shot 2011-04-18 at 7.00.32 PM

Note that the title bar of the dialogue box says "Add Header and Footer" but then simply replaces the "add page number" button with an "add bates number" one. And that is the big clue about what the Header & Footer option is most likely to be used for.

Larry told me that he often uses it when he gets a bunch of PDFs that don't have page numbers. He can easily assemble them into one PDF, but then they still don't have page numbers. And page numbers are kind of useful, right?

Thus, the Header & Footer tool allows you to quickly add page numbers to a PDF that is lacking them. And, just as in bates-stamping, you can opt to shrink the document slightly to make sure that your pages numbers are never sitting on top of existing text (see screenshot below).

Screen shot 2011-04-18 at 7.08.38 PM

All you have to do to use this dialogue box is (1) select the "Appearance Options" and then (2) choose the "Shrink document …" option. 

You can choose to number only certain pages, and you can start the numbering on any number you want. This simply requires that you (1) select that "Page Number and Date Format" button and then (2) select what the page range and the starting number. And as you can see from the screenshot below, you also have options for including the date, and choosing what format it will appear in.

Screen shot 2011-04-18 at 7.12.17 PM

I hope that by now you'll see how useful the Header & Footer option can by. It's probably not something that you'll use a lot, but it's definitely something that is useful in certain situations. I'm glad I learned about it. And if you are too then we both have Larry Smith to thank for this tip. Larry is the Executive Director of the Association of Legal Administrators, and former Director of the ABA group that puts on TechShow.

Next year TechShow is taking place from March 29–31st of 2012, and if I were you I'd mark that on my calendar now. Once you attend TechShow you'll understand how wonderful it is. For now, you'll just have to take my word for it: if you're a lawyer or legal professional and you work with a computer then you need to go to TechShow.


Skip to content