Using the Measuring Tools in Adobe Acrobat


Acrobat has three measuring features: the Distance tool, the Perimeter tool, and the Area tool. To access these tools:

  1. Open a PDF a go to Tools > Measuring > Show Measuring Toolbar.
  2. To use the Distance tool, click on the first icon on the Measuring Toolbar. A popup menu will appear with the distance options.
  3. Next click on your PDF file. You’ll see an arrow pointing to the left. If you move your mouse you’ll see a second arrow, which expands and contracts.
  4. On the Distance tool menu there is a listing for angle. To measure a flat horizontal surface, move you mouse up and down until the angle becomes zero.
  5. Click your mouse twice and check out the distance between your two points.
  6. If you’re working with blueprints or CAD drawings, you can plug in a scale ratio before using the Distance tool.
  7. By using scale ratios you can measure the actual distance between two points.
  8. The Perimeter tool and Area tools work in a similar fashion and also allow for scale ratios.



18 Responses to “Using the Measuring Tools in Adobe Acrobat”

  1. Ellen Says:

    This tool is fantastic, but one really important thing it doesn’t do is to allow the text dimensions to be a different color. I use this tool all the time to measure blueprints, and since the blueprints on a pdf are always black, I can’t see my measurements very easily- especially when I print them out. The measurements are also too small. It’s possible there is a way to make them larger, but if so, I haven’t found a way to do that yet.

  2. Michael Says:

    I am also having the same problem of the fonts being too small. I don’t think there’s a way to adjust it, if so please help. My current fix is make the objects smaller using a scale ratio and type in scale ratio, thus creating “bigger” fonts, when proofing

  3. Shanthosh Says:

    One more issue from my side. After marking the measurements in acrobat if I open the same pdf fle in Adobe Illustrator CS2, the measurements & lines will not be there. Because the measure tool in Illustrator is too basic. i.e., the tool measure visually (no snaping to paths) prone to error. I do dielines for product packaging as part of my job.

  4. Peter Says:

    How do I dimension an object in Adobe Acrobat Professional 6.0?

  5. Sequoia Says:

    The bigger shortfall for me is that I cannot set the units to feet and inches … it always returns fractional units, which are not terribly useful in a architectural settting. By the time I conver the fractional feet to feet and inches, it is faster to print the drawing out and measure with a scale.

  6. Diana Says:

    This would be a cool feature, if it worked. After printing out a graphic, the depth is consistently 1/8″ shorter than the dimensions provided by Acrobat. For example, a box that measures 6″ wide and 12″ deep will actually be 6″ wide and 11 7/8″ deep. If you try to make this up by increasing the depth to 12 1/8″, it will only increase by an odd ball fraction — completely inconsistent from one document to another. Illustrator has the same bug.

    If you depend on accurate measuring, Adobe is not the solution.

  7. robert Says:

    My machine was recently reinstalled to fix issues with a different software issues. Now in acrobat the measuring toolbar is no longer accessable and the help menus are not much helpful in determining the issue. My version is Adobe Acrobat Standard Version 7. Any help would be appreciated.

  8. leslie Says:

    I agree with Sequioa about the units..feet and inches would be much more useful to me as well. Also the accuracy is an issue; you need to eyeball the pick points rather than snapping to endpoints, etc. If you miss, which is not hard to do, you cant fix it, you need to start over. It is a pretty clunky method.

  9. David Says:

    I would like to know if it is possible to overide the dimension value.
    Instead of using the tool to measure a drawing component i would like to be able to state what I want it to be or what it actually is say from a field measurement. Can this be done?

  10. Tap Says:

    How about measuring up all the distances on blueprints for lineal feet?

  11. Rich Morrey Says:

    Critically need feet and inches. I totally agree with rest. Needs to be allowed when changing the scale ( “1/4 inch = 1 foot”, NOT “.25 inch = 1 foot”)
    Hopefully someone has a solution either avail or in the works.

  12. Daren Says:

    For David and others: You can add your own dimension values along with the auto values by selecting text with left mouse button then right clicking on the auto value and selecting “Add Label”. This will show the text you input as well as the auto text.

  13. ken Says:

    Hi,Daren, how do i remove the auto text as add a lable text

  14. Nick Says:

    How do you make the measuring took keep the scale ratio you set. For us it keeps changing and we have to reset it continually after small things like, for example, pressing escape. Isn’t there some way to set the default measuring tool scale ratio so we do not have to keep on continually resetting it?

  15. David Gordon Says:

    I can only seem to measure horizontally and vertically not at angles. Any help?

  16. Nick Says:

    Under preferences un-select “ortho”

  17. Nick Says:

    How do you change the font size in the measuring tool(s)?

    Does anyone answer these questions?

  18. Jet Says:

    if I am measuring a wall area, after I select the whole wall, any way to unmark the door or windows area?

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