How do I shrink the page size of a PDF?

How do I shrink a PDF file? Not file size, mind you, but the physical page size.

I hear this question with some regularity!

Some courts have very strict requirements for document margins, print area, and so on. For example, a court or government agency may require that Bates stamps appear 1/2 inch from the bottom margin of the page or that each page must have a one-inch of margin all the way around.

Unfortunately, lawyers and their firms encounter a variety of files that enter litigation or other processes that don’t meet these standards. For example, you might receive a drawing- or scan of a drawing- that goes nearly edge to edge. Or, perhaps, you receive a document that is an odd size, say 9″ by 12″ or something quite a bit smaller than a standard letter-sized page.

You have a challenge. You need to turn these digital files into a PDF and still meet court/agency requirements.

In the old days, you’d throw these on a photocopier, but it doesn’t seem very efficient to print and rescan your documents turning them into big images.

What to do?

No Shrinking Violet

Unfortunately, Acrobat doesn’t directly let you shrink your pages. But, with this workaround, you can easily accomplish what you need.

Let’s say you have an 8.5 X 11 page where the image area is located too close to the bottom of the page.

For example, this 43K PDF room map originally produced in Visio.

1) Go to Document–>Crop Pages

2) In the “Change Page Size” area, click the “Custom” radio button.

3) Set the Width to the current width of your page to 8.5. Set the Height to 12.

4) In the Page Range section below, choose All if you will resize multiple pages.

5) Click OK

Didn’t that just make it larger?

I know what you’re thinking, this makes the document larger, not smaller . . . True, but here’s what to do next:

If you only need to print the document, choose File–>Print and change the Page Scaling to “Reduce to Printer Margins”

If you want to permanently reduce the size of the document, just choose “Reduce to Printer Margins” and print to the Adobe PDF print driver.

Now, you can Bates stamp your document or include it in other document collections.

By the way, use this same trick if you want to make page sizes bigger.

Note: Acrobat 8’s new Bates Numbering feature can shrink pages at the same as you number them.

4 Responses to How do I shrink the page size of a PDF?

  1. Steve Pena says:

    I am a transactional attorney and often, I want to make notes to drafts I receive in PDF. Thus, shrinking the page size (or what I call reducing the document to 85% of the original size) is important so I can make all of my comments without obscuring document text. I have used the work-around described above many times but I recommend that Adobe build-in this functionality without the need for the work-around.

  2. Judy Staiger says:

    How do I work with a 8.5 x 14 sgeet of paper. I have legal size paper I have to fill out. But it will only scan 8.5 x 11 sheets.

    Can you explain to me what I have to do to be able o fill out a legal sheet. (8.5 x 14) in acrobat Pro
    PLS let me know. I love that program, but need to be able to work with legal sized paper. thansk judy

    • Rick Borstein says:

      I’m not sure I understand your question. Most sheetfed scanners can scan letter or legal paper and Acrobat supports scanning to just about any page size. Most of the time, you simply set the page size to Auto and the scanner will do the right thing.