Crop Pages in Adobe Acrobat


Sometimes you will receive a PDF file with a large page size that needs to be cropped. Acrobat can do this with ease:

  1. First open the PDF file and go to Document > Crop Pages
  2. Under Margin Controls, check the box for Constrain Proportions if you’d like to keep the width and height ratio the same.
  3. Next, click on the up arrows to the right of Top, Bottom, Left, or Right.
  4. In the preview area, you’ll be able to see what your cropped page will look like.
  5. Below the preview area, Acrobat also tells us what the new page size will be after cropping.
  6. When you’ve set your Margin Controls (how much you’ll be cropping) click OK and save your PDF file.
  7. One of the nice things about the crop tool is that you can undo your changes even after saving a PDF. This is because Acrobat doesn’t truly crop the document, it simply covers up what you don’t want displayed.

36 Responses to “Crop Pages in Adobe Acrobat”

  1. Tony MacDonald Says:

    Nice, and not so nice. The ‘not truly cropping’ aspect can be a pain when calling said cropped pdf file into a page layout picture box. For example, InDesign doesn’t seem to acknowledge the fake crop, and will default to the Full Document import, ignoring the crop. You can manually tell it to import the image to its crops, but in a mostly automated workflow, this stoppage just slows things down.

  2. K Zarecki Says:

    Tony: I am having the same issue with importing PDFs with printers/crop marks. I know I can simply make the image box the size that I want and then place the image. but…the printers marks and whatnot make it so that the image is not centered and thus trying to align the image to the center of the image box is next to impossible.

    Anyway, you mentioned that > How is this done? I have not been able to figure it out.

  3. Hi. How I can really crop pages, reducing file size?

  4. Mitch Says:

    As far as I know, you can’t truly crop a PDF with Acrobat. To shrink the file size try this:

    You can also use the PDF Optimizer. This option is located under Advanced > PDF Optimizer.


  5. SC Abbot Says:

    I’d like to know — similar to K Zarecki — is that since Acrobat is smart enough to know and understand crop marks on a document (exported from, say, an unnamed “other” page layout program), and show them as a “crop box” in the crop dialog box — why can’t I USE that “crop box” to crop the PDF? Isn’t that a fairly obvious thing? Maybe it should be in Preferences, in the initial view tab: “Crop to Crop Box”. Much easier than trying to redraw the crop and getting it wrong.

  6. Danito Says:

    Completely agree with SC Abbot, it’s gotta be the thing that most pisses me off with acrobat, 4 lovely options that you can’t use except to copy the numbers so you can paste it in again?? wacky.

  7. Kirti Ranjan Says:

    great, it works….

  8. Jim Says:

    Select area with the Crop tool and hit the enter key. Done.

  9. It’s not much use when you have twenty editions of magazines to assemble for e-book conversion, all with printer’s marks, and Acrobat simply will not crop all the pages to trim size. It is necessary to do every page manually, inaccurately using the crop tool – total waste of time which need not happen if Acrobat had just enough simple automation to copy the crop area to every page and execute a proper crop.

  10. M Weiss Says:

    After cropping (which perhaps may more accurately be regarded as “virtual” cropping), you can print the cropped view to Adobe PDF and select Current view in the print range option. This produces a smaller file without the hidden portions of the original PDF document.

  11. E Thomson Says:

    Adobe needs to improve this that’s for sure.

  12. Bill Says:

    SOLUTION. I continue to do this until they fix this problem…. Follow these steps. Its painful, but, works.

    1. crop pages.
    2. print pages.
    3. scan back to computer.

    This way, it will truly be cropped. Good luck.

  13. Becky Says:

    Bill, rather than printing and scanning, if you print to a PDF, the image is really cropped and remains digital. No degradation on image quality either.

  14. ajaxx Says:

    1. totally agree with SC Abbot and Danito – I got many booklets to prepare, and i need to save and import crop properties in different documents, which is missing.
    2. hate this lossless cropping – when i import a cropped document in other document, the cropped area appears again, and i have to calculate a new cropping for the newly imported pages, and i got more than 20 such documents – its pain in the ass!
    Adobe, please make lossy crop tool, please!

  15. Roger Pearse Says:

    I’ve just bought Acrobat, and this cropping stuff is really, really poor. The best sort I ever saw was in Abbyy Finereader 8 (in FR9 the twits at Abbyy ruined the user interface), where you had a square on each page in turn and could just hit ‘crop’, or move it on the page.

    Lossless cropping? Who thought *that* up?

    Pity the OCR is so rubbish too. And the interface is pretty unfriendly.

    Adobe need to consider that a lot of PDF’s these days are images of book pages. We scanned the things in, now we want to work with them.

  16. Brian Says:

    How do you “Print to Adobe PDF?” so you can print using current view?

    That is confusing, please explain.

  17. Says:

    Select Print then open advanced options from print dialog to get current view

  18. chrisg Says:

    OK people…learn how to use the “Crop Tool”
    after cropping in acrobat (to do all pages or a page range, use that option in your crop dialogue)
    when you import into InDesign … select ‘Import Options’ (its at the bottom of the select import file window) select the appropriate “crop to” option (most likely “crop”)…
    BAM! the page is cropped to the page size …
    Seriously though, printing and re-scanning??? ever herd of a PostScript file? – use distiller with appropriate compressions on to turn it into a PDF.

  19. chrisg Says:

    ALSO look in InDesign under scripts (Automate>Scripts – i think) navigate your way to “import multipage PDF” it will import every page into its own page you do NO work (if you have cropped correctly/ have your page size set up) set your page size up to the original size then once all pages are imported i think you can just change the document set-up to the “NEW” page size, it should resize from the centre (putting your unwanted crop marks outside the page boundary)

  20. Shawn Says:

    I’d agree with chrisg on how to do this (his second post). I was wracking my brain trying to figure out how to crop in Acrobat. I then thought “why not just place it into a new InDesign file, letting the marks and bleeds fall outside of the page boundaries. Use the script to place multi-page PDF’s into InDesign quickly. Then, export a new PDF with no bleeds and marks. Worked great. Of course, this requires having access to InDesign.

  21. kEISHA Says:

    How can I crop a PDF file in 7.0 or 9.0 versions?

  22. Bob Says:

    I wanted to print a USPS click and ship label but only use a single 8.5 x 5.5 inch shipping label, rather than a full 8.5 x 11 sheet that has 2 labels on it. What I figured out was to check the option to have the label from USPS print without the receipt so it only takes up half a page. I then have the USPS online label print to my computer as an Adobe PDF. Then, open the pdf in Adobe Acrobat of the USPS label you have just saved. Go to Document — Pages — Crop, then adjust bottom margin to 5.5.” Then, print to Adobe PDF. When the print windows pops up, to the right of “Adobe PDF” is “Properties.” Click on Properties — layout tab — advanced — paper size — Postscript custom (doesn’t matter if you have a postscript printer or not) — paper size — width 8.5, height 5.5 (or whatever size you want, should be the same size as when you adjusted the margins in crop) — paper feed direction –long edge first — ok — ok — ok — ok to print as Adobe PDF. Now the label is saved as 8.5 x 5.5 instead of 8.5 x 11.

    Why I did all this was because the printer I was using jammed if I put in a 8.5 x 5.5 label and it was expecting a 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper. Some printers may do fine with shorter paper than it is expecting, but in case your printer doesn’t, you can try this method.

  23. jR harper Says:

    Wow. I just printed to PDF. The original file was 3.9 megs. The final, with a ton of cropped pages in it, was 10.2 mb! Huh? Why is there no lossless cropping? This is inane!

  24. TechCF Says:

    Print to PDF is no good as you loose all OCR text and bookmarks. I use a lot of image over text PDFs, some PDF/A. I need to crop away a lot, and still have all pages the same size. Need to do manual crop, one page at a time.

  25. KIds Says:

    How can scale the page with adobe acrobat?
    can u help me?

  26. Danny Says:

    This is ridiculous. I have good reasons to want to actually crop the document. There’s sensitive information that I don’t want exchanged with other people in the cropped-out part, and of course I’d like to reduce the file size without reducing resolution. None of the methods mentioned above work for me. Printing to pdf almost works, but each document I’m cropping has a different size, so I have to set a custom page size in the print-to-pdf advanced dialog box each time, and I still seem to be losing some resolution.

  27. Gary Hussey Says:

    I’ve not read through all the comments here but there seems to be a common problem exporting high quality images from a batch of “virtually cropped” pdfs. If all you truly need is the images and you don’t need the PDF data objects such as text, embedded images and objects, you can use photoshop batch processing to crop to the PDF’s defined crop, trim or art boxes. This process will however flatten the PDF rendering all textual data non existent and irretrievable accept by OCR (optical character recognition) software (very expensive stuff).

  28. TheAvenger Says:

    Another trick: use Optimize scanned PDF which will remove the cropping information and leave you with a normal file.

  29. Lloyd Design Says:

    For users with Distiller – Once you have cropped the page to view as required on screen (in Acrobat), export as postscript file, and then distill the postscript file to create new PDF file – all surplus information now gone

  30. Fonaset Says:

    Many regards to “Jim” he has sorted the problem. Others are just talking too much which never work. Jim idea works like magic – trust me guys.

  31. James F Says:

    Thanks to M Weiss.

    First crop your pages as necessary, then go to File > Print

    Once in the Print screen switch the “Name” dropdown from whatever printer you are using to “Adobe PDF”.

    This creates a file without the stuff that Adobe thinks it was a good idea to save even though you cropped it…

  32. Amy Says:

    Solution for importing cropped doc into Indesign.
    1. Crop document in Acrobat
    2. Place PDF into Indesign.
    3. Tick ‘Show Import options”
    4. Under ‘General’ Tab select ‘crop’ in the ‘crop to’ drop down box.

    It Places the cropped size.

  33. Greg B Says:

    1. Crop pages (can do all at once in v8)
    2. PRINT to PDF
    3. in dialog, PROPERTIES
    4. ADD new paper size = to your desired final crop size
    5. Select this in the Paper Size pulldown.
    6. Print

    Worked for me to take an oversized document including ALL printers marks (!!! why do people do this?) and cropped down to 208.5 x 273.4mm. At the same I also reduced the file size to turn it into an online catalogue before sumbitting to a Page Flipper. Went from 74MB to 5MB and looks great on screen.

  34. A.J. Says:

    Great Answer from Greg B above…

    And Becky said pretty much the same thing earlier up…

    Print to PDF and you’ve Truly cropped it… (So simple, I can’t believe I never thought of trying that b4).

  35. JP Says:

    Don’t forget that Adobe doesn’t WANT you to be able to do this, so it’s not a matter of them ‘realizing’ what people need to be able to do with their software. They’re not going to provide features that make violating copyright easier (like permanently cropping scanned pdf pages). It’s about business, which is about not only Adobe making money, but also the book publishing industry, which has a significant interest here. The name of the game is: open your wallet, provide your credit card number to all askers, witness how nice an friendly they become…

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