Second installment of the Measure Tools in Acrobat 8 Pro.

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Well it was a fun weekend, the Saints, almost made the super bowl, Payton Manning finally gets to go to the super bowl, Thierry Henry’s header in the 93rd minute puts Man U down 2-1 and puts the premiership in question, and it finally got above freezing here in Dallas!  Therefore, all the stars aligned for me and my family to do some house shopping.  I got some plans from a popular custom home builder that allows you to design your house with their flash interface (for another entry) and output a PDF of the plans (very cool), but, the problem is, I wanted to add some rooms. I needed to know the scale so I could calculate the square footage and know if I am still in my price range once the room was added.  Enter the second installment of the Measure Tools for Acrobat for AEC in Acrobat 8 Professional!

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Ok, so I went on line and walked through the home builders “Design your Dream Home” Flash site, it was easy add items, the problem was, that it was very limited to the changes you could make to the base plan.  I wanted to add a new room and also a pool room.  I took the online design as far as I could and printed out the designs in PDF.  Now let the fun begin!


I took the designs into Acrobat 8 Professional.  Here I have the full complement of mark up and measure tools, I can even collaborate with the home builder using the collaboration tools inside Acrobat 8 Professional (again for another entry).  My problem is this, in the previous entry, I explained how to measure, get areas, and parameters using the measure tools, but the PDF’s came from a CAD system!  Acrobat 8 Professional retains viewport scale from the 2D CAD files.  Flash doesn’t have viewports, so how do I scale the drawing?  Ah, sit back relax and let me throw a tip or two at you!


I have here the plans of the second floor:


I zoom to the area of interest:


I open the measure tool bar by selecting Tools/Measuring/Show Measuring Toolbar


No matter where I select in the graphics area of the PDF the measure tool bar shows a 1”=1” scale!  If you remember in the previous post, since we carry over the intelligence from the CAD files when I selected in the graphics area of the CAD made PDF’s my scale changed to meet the viewport scale.  Here we don’t have such luck.  But we have a chance to get in the ballpark here.  Look closely at the drawing I have some dimensions here, so, I can try to get a ratio close enough to get me a good estimate of the distance!


Here the rooms rough dimensions are 18’1” x 13’1”, and when measured I get a distance of 1.16 inches.  So, I’ll put that engineering degree to some use here and come up with a scale….


And amazingly enough it is very close to .0635 or 1/16” = 1’0” which is a rather standard drawing scale.  Now I type in my scale factor and can now start measuring the area for my new room.  I get approximately 248.16 sqft. 


This was so easy I decided to get a few more measurements together.  But now, how do I get the information of these measurements somewhere I can do some number crunching, some thing like a spreadsheet.  Well since Acrobat 8 Professional creates these measurements as annotations, I have the ability to export the information to a .CSV file which can be directly opened in a spread sheet program like Microsoft Excel!


It’s easy, go to the option area in the top right corner of the Area Tool and click, a fly out will appear and next to the bottom you will see Export Measurement Markup to Excel….  Select that give it a name…..


…and then open the <yournamehere>.csv file and you can now do take off information for carpet, wood floors, cabinets, paint, that “Oh so Snazzy” wall paper your wife really likes, what ever!

Each measurement can have a label, as shown here in column A.  And let me say this and this is not a small point, if the PDF you have was made with Acrobat Professional 7 or 8 and the creator (the person you got the PDF from) enabled it, you can do these same measurements in the Free Adobe Reader!!!  This means if you are an Architect or Engineer, that is using Acrobat Professional/3D version 7 or 8, you can enable your PDF’s for redline markups and 2D and 3d measurements for your sub’s or customers, and all they have to have is the Free Adobe Reader 8 (more on this in a later blog).  The free Adobe Reader is the most ubiquitous PDF reader in the world, every new computer ships with it installed and more than you know are downloaded every day.  This insures that no matter who you send your PDF to, they will be able to read it, from the Owner, to the CEO, to Grandma; they all know how to open a PDF!  A huge bonus for you!


So as you can see, a very useful tip and trick for you, if you get a PDF from a scan or other formats, and you need to do some measuring, Adobe Acrobat is a tool you can depend on!  Good luck, I hope this gives you a better understanding of the measure tool, and I hope you said to yourself, “Wow, I didn’t know Acrobat could do that!”




Tim Huff

Sr. BDM Adobe Systems, AEC Market

Acrobat for AEC Blog

5 Responses to Second installment of the Measure Tools in Acrobat 8 Pro.

  1. Bad Arithmetic says:

    0.0625 (not 0.0635)= 1/16 inchOh you caught me! Send me your contact info, I will send you something in return! Thanks for reading!Tim

  2. Very useful in many applications! Keep up the good work!

  3. Mike Malone says:

    This blog is great. Acrobat for AEC I would have never thought it, this tip is great, I have used it already today! Thanks Tim

  4. fussball says:

    Gute Arbeit hier! Gute Inhalte.