Posts in Category "Commenting and Annotations and Stamps"

Add Dynamic Exhibit Stamps in Acrobat using a free stamp set

Exhibits are documents attached to pleadings or contracts which are referenced by the main document.

Exhibits generally are numbered (1, 2, 3) or lettered (A, B, C) consecutively in the order they are first encountered in the body of the referencing document (brief, contract, etc.).

In order to easily tell one exhibit from another, case documents are often stamped with an easy-to-see exhibit stamp:
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Exhbit Stamp Sample

Since PDF is the defacto (or often mandated) eFiling standard, it didn’t come as a surprise that I’ve received a few emails on this exhibit stamping PDFs over the last couple of years.

I’ve written previously about creating custom stamps, but an Exhibit Stamp has both a static graphic element and a changing numeric or alphabetic element. I have proposed a workaround using watermarks and the typewriter tool to some firms, but that still was a lot of work.

Only recently have I come across an elegant solution that can accomplish both steps with a click! When you stamp the document, Acrobat will ask you for the exhibit number, then stamp it on the document:

Dynamic Exhibit Stamp

Read the full article to download a special stamp set that does the work for you.

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Using the Tablet PC with Acrobat

Tablet PCs are growing in popularity in the legal community. Using one of these specialized laptops, you can write directly on the screen.

For example, Lenovo’s X200 Tablet is a convertible which changes from a standard laptop to a tablet by swiveling the screen:

Lenovo X200 Tablet running Acrobat 9

To use the Tablet PC with Acrobat, you’ll need the $69 AutoInk Plug-in from Evermap.

AutoInk installs a toolbar into Acrobat that allows you to write directly on top of PDF documents.

AutoInk Toolbar

To get a demo of this new plug-in, I went to James Province of the TabletLawyer.com. James is a practicing lawyer who resells Tablet PCs and provides consulting and training.

James was nice enough to let me record him doing a demo of AutoInk on his X200 Lenovo tablet.

Watch the AutoInk Demo in a New Window

Following, I also provide some additional information about using the plug-in.

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Ensuring the PDF Comments Get Printed

Attorneys and other legal professionals use Acrobat comments and annotations to stamp their signature on documents, add highlights, circle important passages, etc.

Example signature stamp

I recently received this email message from an attorney:

I use the Stamp tool to affix a graphic of my signature to pleadings before e-filing them or sharing them with other counsel.  But recipients who fail to choose to print with “Document and Markups” produce a doc that lacks my signature.  So, I’ve taken to flattening them by printing to my PDF driver, but that produces a doc of embarassingly poor quality.

Some Background

Acrobat offers the ability to print documents with or without comments. If you choose File—>Print, you will see the following option:

Print Window showing Document and Markups print setting

If you had a heavily commented document with lots of highlights, you may wish to print a clean copy by choosing the “Document” option.

Once you select an option here, the setting is sticky for the next time you print from Acrobat.

Unfortunately, signature stamps are also a type of annotation. If your client or colleague has recently chosen the “Document” option, the important agreement you worked on won’t have your signature.

Fortunately, there are some good workarounds:

  1. Flatten the document so that Stamps and Annotations become part of the document layer
  2. Embed your signature as an image, rather than a stamp
  3. Add a special “Print with Comments” button to your document.

In this article, I’ll discuss these three workarounds. Read on to learn about them.

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Acrobat Properties Bar for Quick Access to Text Color Highlights

I recently received an email about using the Text Highlighter tool in Acrobat:

I enjoy your articles on using Adobe. One item I use very often is the Text Highlighter tool. I mark text in different colors depending on the substance of the text itself. To do so, I mark the text in question and then open the Properties Box and then select the color I need.

This can be very time consuming as I am constantly switching back and forth on the colors. I was wondering, is there is a faster way to select a different color?

Mark E. Schell
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Unit Corporation

The Properties Bar can be used to quickly change text highlight colors.

At first I was stumped, but then I remembered the solution!

The Properties Bar in Acrobat which offers quick access to many tool options.

Read on to learn about using the Properties Bar to quickly change text highlight colors.

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Creating a Transparent Signature Stamp

Attorneys and other legal professionals have discovered that they can scan their scan their signature and easily turn it into an Acrobat stamp.

The resulting stamp, however, has a white background.

When stamped on top of documents, the results are not visually pleasing:

To create a transparent stamp, you must “feed” Acrobat a file with transparency capabilities such as a GIF or Photoshop PDF.

Read on to learn how . . .

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How to Import/Place an Image in a PDF

Just a bit over three years ago, I sat in the audience of my first legal technology conference.

At the time, I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed with the industry terminology and workflow despite my eighteen plus years of experience in the software industry.

At this event and others, I was able to meet many legal technology speakers who were very helpful in bringing me up to speed.

Craig Ball, Esq., veteran speaker and expert in electronic discovery, was one of the first on the circuit that welcomed me. We had an opportunity to talk about the legal market and Acrobat.  I always look forward to seeing him at legal trade shows around the country.

The very first time I met Craig, he discussed how he used Acrobat to present information and shared a frustration with the product.

“I can’t just place an image into a PDF. Why not?”

In Acrobat 6 and 7, there was a multi-step process to create a stamp and place an image, but that was a lot of work.

In Acrobat 8 Pro and up, placing an image is much easier. Craig . . . this one’s for you!

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Typewriter Tool Opacity Bug

Note: The Typewriter tool was completely re-written in Acrobat 9. I recommend all users upgrade if you depend heavily on the Typewriter tool. In Acrobat 9 and up, users can also set the font, size, and color of Typewriter text.

File this in the category of  “we’re not perfect.”

Sometimes, the Acrobat 7 (and up) Typewriter tool will change opacity (transparency) from black to a light gray. I’ve seen this bug myself and have heard from a few folks via this blog that they’ve seen it too.

Read on for some a possible fix.

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Creating Custom Stamps in Acrobat 7 or 8

Many of us have rubber stamps in our office. Perhaps you mark incoming documents as “Received” or invoices as “Paid”. Some attorneys have signature stamps. Stamps are useful because they quickly tell us status information about a document.

You can bring stamps into the digital realm by creating custom stamps in Acrobat Standard or Professional. Then, you can stamp away on any PDF.

Stamps help add impact to your digital communications.

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Commenting on Image-only PDFs

Note: Acrobat 8 and up use a consolidated commenting toolbar. You no longer need to open a separate toolbar as mentioned in this post.

Problem: You have tons of medical records to review which contain signatures and handwritten notes.

Acrobat’s commenting tools may bark at you when you try to use the highlighter and other tools.

1_scanned_page_alert.gif

What to do?

One of the not-too-obvious features of Acrobat is the ability to add notes and comments to documents that have not been OCR’d.

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The Typewriter Tool (semi-new!)

Forms offer a standardized way to collect information, but very few folks take the time to create them properly using Acrobat form tools.

Have you ever received — via email or snail mail– a field-less form to fill in? What a pain it is to drag out an old-fashioned typewriter to do this. Then, you have to scan the form back in and email it. Yechh!

But, there’s hope!

With the Acrobat 7.05 update, Adobe introduced a new tool for users of both Acrobat Standard and Professional—the Typewriter tool.

Update: Enhanced Typewriter tool in Acrobat 9.
The Typewriter tool was enhanced in Acrobat 9 and allows you to set font, size and color.

Where is the Typewriter tool in Acrobat X?
Acrobat X also offers the Typewriter tool. You’ll find it in the Content Panel and it is labeled “Add or Edit Text Box”:

The Typewriter tool provides a simple solution for filling out forms that do not contain interactive form fields. You can type on top of any PDF document, even one you created from a scanner. This allows you to easily fill out paper forms on your computer and archive the results electronically, or send the completed form via email.

I showed this new feature at a paralegal conference not long ago and a lady came up after my talk and hugged me!

Read on to learn how to obtain and use the Typewriter tool.

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