Helping Out Perfect Pages With Adobe Acrobat

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Aaron Shepard’s Perfect Pages is all about how to do layout in Word.  It’s got some great information and explains how to do some complicated things.  One of those things is setting up sections so that you can do things like alternating headers and footers.  I ran into this in grad school when I had to format my thesis for the library and it was a monumental pain in the patootie.  Not as much as trying to make a table of contents page, but still.

In any event, working with sections in Word is something I often have to do for the EDJ, so I’m familiar with it.  I just find it to be a pain in the butt for something like this, what with the whole NOT using headers or footers on chapter title pages, etc.  So last night, when I was down to that particular problem on my PDF, I decided that I was going to see if I could get around it by putting my headers and footers in using Adobe Acrobat.

Now this only works if you have the full version of Acrobat–it’s not something you can do in Reader.  I actually spent a couple of hours trying one way before a much simpler one occurred to me.  Here’s how it works:

  1. You make a plain PDF of your Word file–one without page numbers or headers (but with everything else done).
  2. You then save that plain PDF under another name (title with headers and footers, or something).
  3. In the new PDF, you’re going to go to the Document –> Headers and Footers menu –> Add.
  4. You will then set your parameters–font, font size (I used my title font in 1 point bigger than my body text), then in the center footer box, put your cursor and click on Insert Page Number.
  5. In the center header box, put your Name.
  6. Go click on Page Number and Date Format.  This is where you set what you want your page number to start.  For example, the first page I actually want to have a page number is ACTUALLY page 7 (after the cover, title page, copyright page, and some other stuff).  But I want this to be page 2, so this is where you set that.  It is also where you can set your Page number format, but I prefer just the single digit that is automatic.
  7. Next, go click on Page Range Options.
  8. Here you will select the From Page ? [insert whatever your first page you want a page number on] to the last page in your document.
  9. Then from the drop down box, you’re going to select whether you want this material (remember, the page number and Author Name) to appear on the Odd pages or the Even pages.  Now, it is important to note that Adobe is going to read the physical page number, not the one you have inserted.  So remember I said my first page I wanted a page number on was really 7 but I wanted it to start at 2?  That makes it an ODD page rather than an EVEN page.  In publishing, Author Names are usually on the left side or EVEN pages, but for this purpose, I had to select the ODD pages only.
  10. Before you click OK, go up to Save Settings at the top and pick a name for the current settings (Author Header).
  11. Now you’re going to click OK, and it will add the relevant headers and footers.
  12. Now you’re going to go to the Header and Footer –> Add menu again.  It will ask if you want to replace the current or add a new one.  You’re going to add a new one.
  13. Now from the drop down box for settings, select the parameters you just saved as Author Header (or whatever).
  14. Go change the center header to the title of your book.  If your title and author name have different fonts on the cover and/or title page, you may consider matching those fonts in the headers.  In my case, it used the same font.
  15. Now, go to the Page Range Options menu again.  If it is still selected as your first page you want a page number on through to the end, great.  If not, select that same page range you used before.  But this time select the OPPOSITE set of pages.  I used Odd Pages Only for the Author Header, so this time I’m going to use Even Pages Only.
  16. Go check your Page Number and Date Format to make sure it still has the same start page.
  17. Save your settings as Title Header.
  18. Click OK.
  19. Now you should have alternating headers and page numbers.
  20. But we don’t want headers or footers on the chapter title pages, do we?
  21. This is why you saved that first PDF without headers or page numbers.
  22. First I want you to SAVE YOUR DOCUMENT.
  23. Now save it as a new document (saving at each step means if you muck something up, you don’t have to go back as far).
  24. Navigate to the first chapter title page that you need to change.  If you did things correctly, it’s probably going to be Chapter Two.
  25. Now move to Document –> Replace Pages.
  26. It will ask you to select the file with replacement pages.  It is VERY IMPORTANT that these two PDFs are identical except for the headers and footers you added in the first set of steps.
  27. Next it asks which pages you want to replace.  If your cursor is on the page you want to replace, it usually populates that field correctly, but be sure, as I had it do something wonky on my even pages and tell me wrong.
  28. Replace the same page with the same page from the plain PDF.  So if it is page 21 in one document, you’ll replace page 21 in that document with page 21 from the plain one.
  29. Do this all the way through for all your chapter title pages (or any other pages you do not wish to have headers and footers on.
  30. When you’re finished, you should have a nice, pretty document with alternating headers and page numbers on just the pages you want.
  31. SAVE!
  32. Be sure to proof read your PDF to make sure you didn’t acquire any formatting gremlins during the translation.

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