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:
.
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.


Stamp Sets in Acrobat

Acrobat organizes sets of stamps into a single PDF file with a stamp on each page. The stamps are stored in a specific file location and are loaded dynamically when you start Acrobat.

Once loaded, the stamps appear in the Stamp button in the Comment and Markup Toolbar:

Exhibit Stamping using the Acrobat Stamp tool

My stamp set includes both a rectangular stamp and a rounded exhibit stamp.

Eureka! A Smarter Stamp

I was surfing through the Acrobat User Community website, and came across an article called Dynamic Stamp Secrets by Tom Parker. Tom Parker is the owner of Windjack Solutions, a development firm that does custom JavaScript solutions for Acrobat, and is an expert on automating Acrobat.

The article discussed how to create stamps that could accept user input. "Wow," I thought, "this might work for exhibit stamps!"

Using Tom’s example, I created a sample stamp set that interacts with the user. When you click to place the stamp on the document, a dialog window appears:

JavaScript dialog window

Once you enter the exhibit number, the stamp appears containing the exhibit number:

The stamp

If you use the stamp flyout menu, the stamp "remembers" the last exhibit number. This makes it easy to increment the exhibit number on the next document:

Stamping using the Dynamic Exhibit Stamp

Download the Dynamic Exhibit Stamp Set

I’ve placed the stamp on my Acrobat.com account. You can download it by clicking here or preview and download it using the acrobat.com widget below.

Can’t download the file?

  1. Turn off your pop-up blocker.
  2. Make sure that your IT folks are not blocking acrobat.com

 

Installation

  1. Quit Acrobat if it is open
  2. Place the file "Exhibit Stamps.pdf" in the Acrobat Stamps Folder. The location will vary by the platform. Below are the file locations for Acrobat 9:

    Mac OSX
    /Users/USERNAME/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Acrobat/9.0_x86/Stamps

    WinXP
    C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Application Data\Adobe\Acrobat\9.0\Stamps

    Win Vista or Win7
    C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\ Acrobat\9.0\Stamps

  3. Restart Acrobat

Using the Dynamic Exhibit Stamp

  1. Choose View—> Toolbars—> Comment and Markup
  2. Locate the the Stamp Tool and click the flyout menu on it:
    Stamp flyout menu
  3. Choose the Exhibit Stamp Category
  4. Choose either the Rectangular or Rounded exhibit stamp and click to place it on the document
  5. Enter the Exhibit Number
  6. The stamp will be placed on the document.
  7. Repeat as needed

Some Important Details

Here are a couple of things you should know about the dynamic stamps.

  1. Type in Anything
    You can type just about anything into the dialog window.You are not limited to letters and numbers:
    Add any text you want
  2. Transparent Backgrounds
    These stamps have transparent backgrounds. Just like a real rubber stamp, the document will show through them.
  3. Size and Scale Well
    The stamps are built from vector elements which scale and print perfectly.

    You can scale (size) the stamps and after you place them on the document by dragging a corner handle with the cursor.
    Size the stamp

  4. Document Metadata
    When you stamp the document with the Exhibit Stamp, it places the stamp number in the document metadata. If you delete the stamp and re-stamp it, the new number is written to document metadata. To see the document metadata for the stamp, choose File—> Properties and click on the Custom tab:

    Stamp metadata
    The reason I chose to write this to the document metadata is that you can pull this data from the document into a PDF Portfolio for easier management. If, for example, you had a complex case, you could manage all the exhibits in a single searchable PDF Portfolio and take it to court with you. To pull the Exhibit metadata to the Portfolio, you will need the free Joel’s Portfolio Utilities. Joel is Adobe’s Technical Evangelist for Acrobat.

    If you want to remove the metadata, either delete it using the Properties panel or choose Document—> Examine Document.

  5. Preventing Changes
    The stamps are live and may be moved or deleted.

    If you want to lock down the stamps, you’ll need to flatten the document.

    In Acrobat Pro 9, choose Advanced—> Preflight and navigate to the PDF Fixups section. Choose "Flatten Annotations and Form Fields" and click the Analyze and Fix button.

    If you have Acrobat Standard, you’ll need to "refry" the document by printing it to the AdobePDF print driver.

Modifying the Exhibit Stamp

This next two sections are for the advanced user. You will need a good understanding of form fields to modify the stamps.

The stamp file is an editable PDF document. Form fields with a JavaScript calculation element are used to place the dynamic exhibit number on the stamp.

The rectangular stamp is build entirely using form fields. To create a rounded stamp, I created the background elements using Adobe Illustrator.

You could change the font and color of any of the form fields on the stamps or add new form fields. For example, you could add a form field with your firm name on it to one of the existing stamps.

Adding new stamps to the file requires some planning and the willingness to edit JavaScript code. The steps are:

  1. Create the artwork for the new stamp at the size needed and save it as a PDF. Open the PDF and use the Crop tool to crop it tightly.
  2. Create a new stamp from your artwork and add it to the Exhibit Stamp set. You’ll need to have Exhibit Stamp set installed to do so.
  3. Open the Exhibit Stamp.pdf (see file locations above) in Acrobat. Choose Advanced—> Page Templates. Each stamp will have its own, randomly generated ID number:

    Page Templates
    The two above are from the stamps I included. Your new stamp will have a different number. Copy the text from your new stamp from the Name field at the top of the window and paste it into an email or a text document so you can reference it later. Close the Page Template window.

  4. Choose Forms—> Add or Edit Fields. On page three, copy the UserData2 field to the clipboard.
  5. Go to page 4 of the document (your stamp). Paste the UserData2 field onto your stamp. Size and format as needed. Rename it to UserData3.
  6. Double-click the field and click on the Calculate tab. Click the Edit button to open the Custom Calculation script.
  7. Find the Stamp ID number in the window. Replace it with the Stamp ID you copied out earlier. Make sure you only include the stamp ID and pound sign. For example, only take the portion in italics below:
    #XYZBRZM098JKY = My Cool Stamp
  8. Save and restart Acrobat.

One Response to Add Dynamic Exhibit Stamps in Acrobat using a free stamp set

  1. Pingback: Adding Exhibit Stamps with Adobe Acrobat | CCG TechBlog