How to Erase and Clean-up a Scanned PDF in Acrobat XI

I recently received this email from one of my blog readers:

Does Adobe Acrobat have a feature similar to the eraser in the old MS Paint program to edit pdf documents? The feature does exist in ScanSoft Paperport  (I have version 11).  It is very useful to remove stray marks on scanned images, staple marks, fax headers, punched hole marks, etc. If used with extreme zoom, I can remove just about any marks on the page so it looks like new. However, it would be useful to have all the features in one program.  I prefer to use Adobe Acrobat to OCR, and otherwise manage PDF documents, but if they need editing I am forced to use ScanSoft Paperport.  Also, the file size seems to go way up after I edit the document with Paperport.

There are two ways you can clean up content in a PDF:

  1. Use the Redaction tools (Acrobat Pro only) and redact using the "No Color" option.
    See my Redaction Guide for instructions.
  2. Use the Edit Image option and an external editor to clean up the PDF

I’ve never written about the second option previously, so this seems like a good opportunity to do so!

Using an external image editor makes the most sense for image-based PDFs. However, Acrobat can also call a program to edit vector content, too.

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Real Time Transcripts, Collaboration and More

Adobe® Connect™ is Adobe’s web conferencing platform for web meetings, eLearning, and webinars. My guess is that most legal professionals have taken part in a web conference which allows for computer screen sharing and collaboration. Most large law firms have access to webinar services hosted by one of the major web conferencing platforms such as Adobe Connect, WebEx, Go to Meeting, etc.

One thing that distinguishes Adobe Connect from other web conferencing tools is that Adobe positions it as a development platform. This allows our partners to create some really interesting tools that run on top of the platform to meet the needs of vertical markets.

In fact, when I saw StreamText Legal’s new add-ins for Adobe Connect, I was blown away.

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How do I sign a PDF?

I recently received this inquiry from a customer:

I get a lot of estimates to be signed for production jobs. Currently most come to me as a PDF, but some are excel. It would be very efficient if I could somehow sign these electronically and send back to the agency and copy finance (Debbie) rather than the current process of printing, signing, faxing, and giving to Debbie. Is there a way to do this?

In the past, I’ve discussed a two-step process to stamp and flatten a PDF. See Create a Transparent Signature Stamp and Flatten the stamp with a free Action.

Although the process isn’t’ difficult, Reader XI and Acrobat XI have made the process much simpler using the new Sign panel:


Interestingly, the Sign panel can also be used to stamp a signature or add text onto just about any PDF, too.

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Eight Free Acrobat XI Actions for Legal Pros

Actions, a feature of Acrobat X and XI Pro, are a powerful way to standardize processes by automating routine, multistep tasks.

Actions may be extended via JavaScript so that operations not found in the program itself may be created. Thus, it is possible to deliver unique capabilities via an Action.

In the Acrobat X timeframe, I worked with our partner Windjack to produce a series of Actions that are useful for legal professionals. These Actions were made available on the Adobe Acrobat Actions Exchange.

I’ve updated the actions to work with Acrobat XI and am publishing both versions (X and XI) here for you.

Note:

  1. These Actions below are not published or supported by Adobe Systems Incorporated.
  2. Use these Action at your own risk. I suggest using a copy of your files until you understand how each Action works.
  3. I cannot customize these Actions for you. If you require customization, please contact Windjack.

Need to find out more about how Actions work?

To learn more about how to import and work with Acrobat XI Actions, click here.

Below, you can learn more about these free Actions and download them to try them yourself.

Enjoy!

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Acrobat/Reader 11.04 Update Fixed Signature Detection Issue

Yesterday, Adobe released Acrobat/Reader 11.04 which fixes the signature detection issue I reported in a previous post.

The update also includes improvements for Export to Excel and Word, enhances performance and fixes some bugs.

You can read the full release notes here.

Turning off the Annoying Signature Status Bar in Acrobat XI

UPDATE:  This issue was fixed in the the Acrobat/Reader XI 11.04 update.

With the 11.03 update to Reader XI and Acrobat XI, you might have noticed that documents sometimes open with a green signature status bar:

I find this status bar really annoying and so do many of you.

Unfortunately, there is a bug in the code which leads to a lot of false positives. Thus, you may be seeing the green bar more than you should. We are going to refine the feature and likely include a preference to turn it off in a forthcoming update.

In the meantime . . .

On a document by document basis, you can reclaim the space taken up by the green status bar.

Here’s how . . . just click on the Signature icon at the top left of the status bar:

After clicking, the status bar is removed:

FYI, all of the Status Bars work that way. Just click on the leftmost icon in the status bar to reclaim the space.

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Joel’s Portfolio Tools – Export Portfolio Data

My former colleague Joel Geraci is a PDF wizard.

Joel was at Adobe for several years in the role of PDF Developer Evangelist . . . he’s a technical guy that can solve just about any PDF problem.

In fact, he’s started a company called Practical PDF that can tackle all sorts of tricky PDF issues which require custom development and integration.

Export PDF Portfolio Listings to a Text File

For legal professionals who use Portfolios, one oft-heard request is for the ability to export the document list to a text file.

If that sounds like you, you’ll want to get a copy of Practical:PDF Portfolio Utilities. The price? Free!

While you’re checking out Joel’s website, try out the custom PDF Portfolio Navigators he’s developed.

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Straighten and Deskew PDF Pages in Acrobat XI

I recently received this email from a Michigan law firm:

Is there a straighten image tool for scanned images in Acrobat 11?  My scanner is getting older and sometimes pulls documents through with a tilt.

Acrobat deskews (straightens) pages during the OCR process, but what if you do not want to OCR the document?

Acrobat can apply various image processing functions using the Optimize Scanned PDF function such as deskewing, background removal, descreening and more.

In this article, I’ll show you how to:

  • Find and use Optimize Scanned PDF to deskew (straighten) pages in PDF documents
  • Offer a pre-configured Acrobat XI Action which you can use as is to straighten PDF pages

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Customizing the Acrobat XI Interface

Our research at Adobe tells us that legal professionals use many Acrobat tools, but probably not all of them.

In the interest of simplification, you may wish to hide the tools you don’t use and and provide direct access to the tools you use the most.

I suspect that the majority of Acrobat users never change the default user interface.If you want Acrobat to work better for you, it behooves you to learn how.

For the record, I don’t use the term behoove lightly!

What is that thingy called?

Before jumping into this, let’s take a look at the Acrobat application window.

The following two screen captures represent the official terminology that we use at Adobe for various parts of the Acrobat user interface:

A. Menu bar B. Toolbars C. Navigation pane
(Bookmarks panel displayed)
D. Document pane E. Task panes  

 

The top toolbar may also be customized and I will refer to it by section below:

A. Create button B. Quick Tools toolbar C. Common Tools toolbar
D. Page Navigation commands E. Select & Zoom commands F. Page Display commands
G. File Tools    

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Removing Hyperlinks from a PDF and Feature/Gotcha

Occasionally, I receive a question like this one:

Is it possible to make a document searchable but remove the hyperlinks? Even if I remove the hyperlinks from the document, [Adobe] Reader users can still click the links which open URLs in their web browser.

Legal Professionals sometimes want to remove hyperlinks from documents in discovery production. Since a link to a website is valuable, why make it easy to check out the destination? Or, perhaps your source documents have a link to a destination which is out of date. It might be easier to remove these links rather than correct them.

In this article, I’ll discuss how to remove links and a "feature/gotcha" that limits what you are able to do.

For you diehards, I also provide a workaround.

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