Adding Repeating Page Elements to PDF Documents

Fundamental repeating document page elements such as headers, footers, page numbers , backgrounds, and watermarks can be added to and removed from PDF documents through Acrobat. Because of this capability, in some cases you may want to alter your workflow to handle these page elements in Acrobat rather than your original page layout application.

Adding, Editing, or Removing Headers and Footers

Adding headers and footers is a simple procedure. (Adding dates or/or page numbers is just a variation of adding a header or footer.) Single or multiple items can be added as Headers or Footers as we will see below. To insert or edit these elements, choose Document > Add Headers & Footers and configure the resulting dialog (Figure 7.15).

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Figure 7.15: The Add Headers & Footers dialog and its preview
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Building Elements in Acrobat Instead of Page Layout

Altering your workflow to control recurring page elements in Acrobat rather than in your page layout application may simplify your original document creation while providing you with some additional document content and versioning flexibility. For instance, you might want to have some of these page elements, such as a watermark, in some versions of a document but not others. Or you may want to wait until after you have edited the order or presence of various document pages in Acrobat prior to adding page numbers. Rather than having to create multiple original versions of documents with your page layout application, you can create one original version there and multiple variations in Acrobat.

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To practice using this function, follow these steps. First, we will add text to serve as a header title, but you could insert a date or page number as well:

  1. Click the Header tab.

  2. Configure the Font, Font Size , and Align choices (immediately under the three scrollable panes). The Align selection you choose will determine which pane will contain the text you type (here, Bookman Bold 28).

  3. Under Insert Custom Text, type in the copy you would like to appear in the header (here, Customized Acrobat Training).

  4. Click the alignment you would like to see: left, right, or centered (here, centered).

  5. Still under Insert Custom Text, click the Insert button. The copy will appear in the Alignment pane you selected in Step 2.

  6. Configure the Page Options, including Page Range, Alternation (to direct onto which pages your header will appear), and Margins.

  7. It is a good idea to click the Preview button at the bottom left to check to see that your header looks okay.

Next, let s add a footer with a page number, title, and date:

  1. Click the Footer tab.

  2. To add a page number, click the Insert Page Number Style Menu, and select a Page Number style (here, Page 1).

  3. Configure the Font, Font Size, and Align choices for the footer. The Align selection will determine in which pane the text you type will appear (here, Bookman, 12, Centered).

  4. Configure the Page Options for the footer, including Page Range, Alternation, and Margins.

  5. Now click the Insert Page Number button to place the page number footer text in the middle text field.

  6. To add some left-justified footer copy, in the Insert Custom Text field, type the footer copy you want (here, Acrobat and PDF ).

  7. Configure this copy as we did above, but this time select a left rather than center justification.

  8. Click the Insert Custom Text button to place the Acrobat and PDF text in the left window.

  9. Last, to add a date to the right side of the footer, from the Insert Date Style menu, select a date style (here, m/dd/yy).

  10. Configure this copy as we did above, but this time select a right justification.

  11. Click the Insert Date button to place the date text in the right window.

  12. Finally, click the Preview button to preview both your header and footer inserts , placed on the first designated page of the document.


If you want to change (edit or remove) the header or footer text, it s best to click the text in the Align pane to select it and then click the Remove button (below the panes and to the right of the Align options). Then reenter the correct text and click Insert to insert any new type as we did above.

When you have finished configuring your Add Headers & Footers window, click the OK button and the new header and footer inserts will appear on your PDF document page, as shown in Figure 7.16.

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Figure 7.16: (left) Before and (right) after adding a header and a footer

Using Watermarks and Backgrounds in Your PDFs

Just as we added headers and footers in the previous section, you can also add a watermark and background graphics to any PDF document. The procedure for adding backgrounds and watermarks is similar to that in the preceding section. Start by preparing a graphic that you would like to use for your watermark or background, and save it out as a PDF.

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Preparing Watermark and Background Graphics

While any PDF can be used as a watermark or background graphic, and this PDF can be scaled in Acrobat to fit the page, I suggest creating the watermark/background graphic at the size and resolution at which you would like to use the graphic.This will guarantee that the graphic will appear as you want it to, especially during high-quality printing. Also, if you intend to rotate your watermark/background graphic in Acrobat, be sure to consider this when you size the graphic. I typically use Photoshop to prepare my watermark/background graphics, and save the image directly out of Photoshop as a PDF.

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Once you have your graphic ready, choose Document > Add Watermark & Background. Configure the resulting dialog (Figure 7.17) as follows :

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Figure 7.17: The Add Watermark & Background dialog

Preview Hit the Tab key at any time to view the effects of your selection.

Type Click either the Add A Background or Add A Watermark radio button. The difference is that a background will appear behind the image, but a watermark will appear over the top of any page elements.

Show When check boxes If you want your watermark or background to be visible on screen and/or when the PDF is printed, check one or both of the Show When check boxes.

Source Page Click the Choose button to locate and select the PDF graphic you prepared earlier.

Page Range Select the range of pages on which you would like your graphic to appear.

Position And Appearance Adjust the placement of your graphic vertically (Top, Center, Bottom, or Fit) and horizontally (Left, Center, Right, or Fit). Select Fit if you want Acrobat to scale your image, stretching it to the width or height of the entire page.


Scaling a graphic in Acrobat may lower image quality during printing.

Rotation Keep the default 0 ° if you want the graphic to appear in its original orientation. (Press the Tab key to view the effects of your selection.)

Opacity If you want your image to be visible but still allow text to be clearly seen, I suggest using an opacity in the 5% to 15% range, depending upon the content and brightness of the image. I tend to screen back watermarks a bit more than backgrounds because they are placed on top of page elements. (Press the Tab key to view the effects of your selection.)

When you are finished with all your settings, hit the Tab key one more time to make sure all the settings are applied and view the results in the Preview window. When you are satisfied, click the OK button to view the results in the Document pane.


The results you see on screen probably are not identical to what will print. If you intend to print a background or watermarked PDF, then be sure to run some print tests on the output device prior to your final printing.

Removing or Restoring Watermarks or Backgrounds

Once a background or watermark has been added to a PDF document, it can be easily removed by choosing Edit > Undo Add Background or Undo Add Watermark (or pressing /Ctrl+Z).

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Text on Graphics

If you intend to use a background or watermark image, keep this in mind when you select the font you will be placing on top of your graphics. All too often designers fail to consider this, and the legibility and readability of the copy may suffer.

  • Keep text dark and avoid reversed type, unless the background image is very dark.

  • Use sans serif type; it is easier to distinguish than serif type on a background.

  • Keep your type 12 points or larger.

  • Don t track or kern your characters too tightly.

I often see ”even in well-known magazines that should know better ”small, serif, reversed type placed on top of background images, which pretty much guarantees that your readers will be struggling to read the copy.

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Once a background or watermark has been removed from a PDF document, it can be restored by choosing Edit > Redo Add Background or Redo Add Watermark (or pressing /Ctrl+Shift+Z).


Once a background or watermark has been added to a document that is then saved and closed, the background or watermark cannot be removed with Acrobat. So it is always a good idea to add backgrounds and watermarks to copies of your PDFs.

Acrobat 6 and PDF Solutions
Acrobat 6 and PDF Solutions
ISBN: 0782142737
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
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