Scaling Page Content in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

Before Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, it was not possible to scale pages from e.g. 5×7″ to Letter size, or form A4 to A5 by changing both the page size, and scaling the page content to fit the new page size. All previous versions of Acrobat had to offer was the crop tool, and it’s “Change Page Size” option to either crop out a portion of the page, or to make the page size larger, but in both cases, the size of the page content was not changed.

In Acrobat Pro DC, Adobe introduced a new scaling feature in the Preflight tool. Because Preflight is a Pro-only feature, this is not available in Acrobat Standard.

Acrobat comes with a number of sample profiles that demonstrate the tool, but none of them is very useful (unless all you want to do is scale to A4 sized paged, or always use a certain scaling factor). I will show how a new fixup can be created that actually prompts for the dimensions of the new target page size. In my example, I will scale to a target size of 6×9″, but that can be any size, and you can use other units besides inches as well.

This is a Preflight option, so we need to open up the Preflight tool first (e.g. search for “Preflight” in the “Tools” area):

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Once the Preflight dialog is up, select the “Single Fixups” category (the wrench icon in the screenshot):

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Now use the “Options” menu and select to create a new fixup:

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This will bring up a potentially confusing looking interface – at least if you’ve never been in here before – but when you follow my instructions, it should be pretty straight forward:

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Use a descriptive name for this new fixup, then select the “Pages” category and search for fixups that have “scale” in their name and select the one named “Scale pages”. Now we need to fill in some data in the lower part of the dialog. You see the two orange buttons next to the short and long edge fields? Click them – one after the other – and fill in some values:

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For short edge use these values:

Label: Short Edge (in)
Default Value: 6

Internal Name: short_edge

And, for long edge use this:

Label: Long Edge (in)
Default Value: 9
Internal Name: long_edge

If you are using a unit system different from inches, your default may be different.

Now back on the main dialog, we need to adjust a few more things:

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Set the units to “inch” – or to whatever your preferred units are. The “Fit from inside (add white space)” option specifies that the original page should be scaled so that it fits within the new target rectangle, and that the remaining space, not covered by the original page should be filled with white.

Now you can select the fixup and apply it to your open document. It will prompt you to select a target page size in inches (you can just accept the defaults in your case), and it will scale all pages in your document.

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In a recent update to Acrobat DC, Adobe changed the way variables get added to the user interface. When you just click assigning a variable to either the short or the long edge, Acrobat will not remove the number that is already on the line, and will just insert the new variable at the beginning of the line:

You need to remove the number at the end of the line, so that only the variable (from “<" to ">“) remains on the line:

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27 Responses to Scaling Page Content in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

  1. Juliana says:

    Thank you so much! This was very helpful!!!

  2. Paul says:

    Does this method allow the comments and markups to be scaled proportionately with the document, or are comments ignored?

  3. Karl Heinz Kremer says:

    Paul, as far as I know, it will not handle comments correctly.

  4. bonnie norwood says:

    I never knew a doc could be resized in this way in a pdf. (I knew about using cropping to resize, but most of the time you’re cutting off content, so it prompts that it won’t work.) Thank you so much!

  5. Nita says:

    Yes! Finally a fix to this problem. Thank you!

  6. Miko says:

    Amazing!! Exactly what I needed!! Thank you!

  7. Mike says:

    Thank You Very Much!

  8. Peter Sage says:

    Well done. You have made my day.

  9. Kim says:

    Wonderful fix, clearly described. Thank you very much!

  10. Bob says:

    Thank you!

  11. Mark Williams says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to make this page its much appreciated

  12. Ashley says:

    Hi, I’m feeling really stupid. I’ve tried this PreFlight scaling trick a few times, and never can I get my document to go from 10×10 to 12×12. It becomes like 175×175 or something insanely large. The site I’m trying to upload this photobook requires the document be exactly 12×12 and can’t scale down or up, so I’m struggling here.

    What should go in the Short Edge and what should go in the Long Edge? I have Inches selected as my unit, and “Fit from inside, scale page edges proportionally” selected.

    On the “Specify Variable Value” box, what should go in there if I want to go from 10 to 12? When I put in “12”, the result is 173 inches by 173 inches. When I put in 2, the result is .29x.29 inches. When I put in “1.2”, thinking it might be a multiplier, it becomes 1.2×1.2 inches. So there doesnt seem to be a lot of rhyme or reason behind how it’s calculating these things. Any ideas??? THANK YOU

  13. Karl Heinz Kremer says:

    Ashley, you should be able to enter the dimensions in inches, just like you did. If you want to send me the profile, I will take a look to see what went wrong. You can export the profile by selecting it in the list, and then picking “Export Profile” from the Options menu. Just attach that to an email and send it to the address on the About page.

  14. Paul Wasson says:

    I’m having the same issue as Ashley. I tried playing with some of the “Adjustment” options but didn’t have any luck. I’ll send the profile and some screen shots to your address from the About page. Thanks for checking it out.!

  15. Susanna says:

    I’m having the same issue as Ashley + Paul. (I have units in mm.)
    I finally managed to make my PDF files pages smaller by using 50% percent, instead of trying to use the exact target size I was really aiming to, which was A4 size 210 x 297 mm.

  16. Karl Heinz Kremer says:

    Susanna, I will take a look. All I can say is that it always worked for me – but I do specify my page sizes in inches.

  17. Joan Clark says:

    Thank you for this entry. It finally worked with this. (I didn’t see the update until afterward… that did the trick!)
    There are so many blogs across the internet with people frustrated that Acrobat Pro does not have this feature… If Adobe is listening, I’d say that, while this is a great and professional solution, there really ought to be a more user-friendly way to go about scaling PDFs in Acrobat Pro.

  18. Karl Heinz Kremer says:

    Joan, i doubt that Adobe is listening to comments on my blog. If you want to bring something to Adobe’s attention, try this page:

  19. Patrick Gendre says:

    Thnak you very much

  20. Bill Cherveny says:

    What an excellent article! This works perfectly now is there a way I can make this part of an Action Wizard?

  21. Karl Heinz Kremer says:

    Bill, yes, you can run Preflight profiles in an Action.

  22. sunni says:

    Adobe changed the interface and your instructions no longer work in DC Pro 2018…at least on my Mac.

  23. sunni says:

    Please ignore my previous comment. I overlooked the “wrench” button because I was confused by your use of ‘ “Single Fixups” categories’ (the words do not appear on the page). I suggest you need an additional screenshot to clarify.

  24. Karl Heinz Kremer says:

    Sunni, there actually is a screenshot that shows the wrench icon with a red frame around it. I’ve added a reference to the “wrench icon” to the text before the screenshot.

  25. Luvy says:

    Thank you so much! With your help, I worked it out for “percent” as well.

  26. Harry says:

    Thank you very much for this information. Would have made my week.
    Is there a possibility to change the size of a PDF with control over font size with the preflight tool? For example change the font size and all the other elements and the pdf size change accordingly?

  27. Karl Heinz Kremer says:

    Harry, I am not aware of a solution that would do that. In theory, it’s possible: This can be done in a custom plug-in. If you are interested in something like this, please feel free to get in touch with me via email (my email address is on the “About” page).

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