Join Anne-Marie Concepción for an in-depth discussion in this video Customizing the toolbars, part of Acrobat 9 Pro Tips and Tricks.
- View Offline
You have probably opened up hundreds of PDFs in Acrobat and Reader and if you are like most users, you simply accept the interface that's given to you. It's not very clear at all that a whole lot of toolbars and panels, dingbats and who's-its can be customized so that only the what's-its that you use all the time are open and they are in the position where you would like them to be. All right, so let's just start out with talking about the toolbars. There are a bazillion toolbars in Acrobat, and what we are looking at here in this document that I have got open is the default toolbar arrangement. If you have not done anything different to the toolbars.
Now I don't know about you but I have never used these dropdown menus here or someone who actually use a form -- I'll probably come right up here to the Forms menu. So to me this is wasting real estate. Let's turn this off. You turn on and off the toolbars from the View > Toolbars menu. And the one going across the top, what is the name of that toolbar? Kind of hard to tell, isn't it? It's actually the Tasks toolbar and it may take you some hunting and packing, if you forgot which one is which. But if instead of going right to the View menu, you right-click at the bottom in that toolbar, you will see a flyout that says Show/ Hide Toolbars, which is the same command that we were just looking at, except check this out one of them has an asterisk. That is the name of that toolbar.
If we just choose Tasks now, that will hide that toolbar. Now we have a little bit more breathing room. Like, I do a lot of my work on a laptop where vertical real estate is at a premium and I hate having lots of toolbars stacked across the top. Now, if I open up another PDF, I go to File > Open and let's say that I open up Magazine-draft. It has remembered that I don't want that Tasks toolbar to be there.
So I have just customized the toolbar arrangement for all documents that I open from now on. Now I have another document open behind that newsletter. If I come down here and choose dragonwell.pdf, you see the dragonwell.pdf still has the Tasks toolbar. So the rule is this that when you open up a PDF, it automatically assumes the most recent customization of toolbars that you did for any previous PDF. But from then on while it's open, it remembers customizations for itself.
So for example, let's say that in the dragonwell.pdf document that we want to open a different toolbar. So I'll go to Toolbars and I'll say, I don't know, Advanced Editing. Now if I switch to a different document that I have opened, Advanced Editing doesn't appear on those documents. But it is still remembered for dragonwell. Now let me close these documents. Just pressing Command+W or Ctrl+W will close this one as well. Now, we only have our Magazine and I'm going to once again go to View > Toolbars and open up Advanced Editing. Now, I want to go ahead and open up one of those files that we just opened like dragonwell.
Now Advanced Editing appears there and it appears for the brochure. So do you see what's happening is that your last customization that you did, now becomes the default for all new PDF that you open. What we are missing here though is a way to save these workspaces. It's the way to save your panel arrangements. So I beseech you to please go to adobe. com and in the main search field, type in feature request. That will bring you to a form, you can say the product we are talking about is Acrobat and Reader and we would like to be able to save our panel and toolbar arrangements.
Let's say that you have customized it, now you would like to go back to how it was when you started. That's easy enough. You can just go to View > Toolbars and choose Reset Toolbars and now you see that here is the default arrangement from when you first start Acrobat. But there is no way to say undo or to choose your preferred view, which is to have the Advanced Editing toolbar appear here and the Tasks toolbar disappear. So unfortunately I can't think of the way, I have tried rebuilding Preferences and making a copy of the Preferences. It's a fact that they are actually saved with the PDF document, not with the program. I think that confuses the issue.
I just want to make sure that you understand that you can do a whole lot of customization to the toolbars and to the tools within those toolbars, as you will soon learn. But it's really hard to save them permanently. Just keep in mind that that's just something got to deal with. So that Reset Toolbars command that I just ran only applies to this current document. Remember that's the rule. It did not do anything to our other documents because they are still open. It's only if I close Magazine-draft and then open it again, that you will see it has the default set of toolbars.
While you are working with the toolbars, I think it's kind of a pain, to have to always come up to the View menu and go down the toolbar, especially since it's kind of buried here. So I'll almost, always right-click to open and close toolbars. You can do that as long as you right-click anywhere within an existing toolbar. If you right-click in an area where there is no toolbar, like this empty gray area on the right, then you will see the same list of toolbars. The ones with the checkmarks are currently showing. The ones without obviously are not showing. One that I use a lot is Advanced Editing, so I'm going to open up that one.
I'm going to close Tasks like I did before. I'm just right-clicking and choosing Tasks. Like I would never click the icon for Print. I'll just actually go to the File menu and choose Print or press Command+P or Ctrl+P. I suppose the Print icon has its fans, as does the Save and so on. Now, the problem again is what is the name of this toolbar so that we know which one to close and now hopefully you remembered what I said when we started out, which is right-click anywhere in the toolbar, go to Show/Hide Toolbars, find the one with the asterisks and turn it off.
Now I would like Advanced Editing to be part of this toolbar. I don't know always want it floating around on the screen. So notice that you can drag this little corrugated area next to the toolbars and pop right into position. Another toolbar that I use a lot is the Commenting toolbar. So I'm just going to right-click anywhere, go to Show/ Hide Toolbars, choose Comment & Markup, it initially comes in this floating. I'll just sort of tuck it in over here, so I don't mind to having a second row here. Finally, another one that I use a lot is the Typewriter tool. So I'll choose that one as well, there you go and I want to squeeze the Typewriter toolbar in here. Will it fit? Why yes, it does. So even though it doesn't look like it's going to fit, Acrobat will often just sort of squeeze up all the other ones.
So I like that feature. Now, I maybe don't want them to be squeezed and maybe for example you would rather have the Commenting tools elsewhere. Well, you can actually doc these toolbars just about anywhere in the window that you would like. So to get them out of the toolbar, we'll drag again from that little corrugated area, and now they are floating and now I can bring this for example to the bottom. Just drag it all the way to the bottom of the screen, and ta-da! We have another toolbar row there. We could even add the Typewriter tool down there, if we prefer it there. Now we just have two thin rows. What if we wanted to put the Advanced Editing toolbar elsewhere? You can drag it to the right, where it becomes a column of tools.
Sort of like a Tools panel, and let's go crazy and get another toolbar. Let's try Redaction, which is one that I felt amused and we will bring this one over to the left. All right, so tools that have long labels, sometimes don't work real well vertically because I don't know if you noticed, but it loss the labels. But if you already know what the icons are, you don't need the labels. You can sort of surround a page with your toolbars, which is unlike any other Creative Suite program. So I love that feature, and I think it's one that very few people know about.
Remember though that if we now quit out of Acrobat or close this document and don't do any more customization to the toolbars for any other documents, this is going to be the default toolbar arrangement for all new PDF that we open. So probably, this is not the best way, because they usually don't want to take up this much room with the toolbars. So I'm going to quickly get rid of some of these by closing them and I'm going to drag my Commenting toolbar back up over here, and my Advanced Editing toolbar back up over here to the right and my Typewriter toolbar over here and oops! I think I dropped it in the wrong place.
This is the way that I like my toolbars to be and that's how we'll leave them for now. By the way, if you don't want to see any of the toolbars just temporarily, don't worry. Just pressing F8 will temporarily hide the toolbars and F8 again will bring them back up. And if you forget that keyboard shortcut, you can just go to the View menu > Toolbars and choose Hide Toolbars. So it will say either Hide or Show. Now that you have spent a couple of minutes arranging just the exact toolbars that you use all the time, and putting them where you like them to be, you are going to be amazed that how much time that's going to save you in all of your PDF work from now on.
- Discovering secret toolbars
- Tweaking PDFs to increase search engine rankings
- Importing, sizing, and cropping images
- Creating a signature stamp for business correspondence
- Making PDF Portfolios backward compatible
- Embedding search indexes in long PDFs
- Decreasing PDF file size for faster downloading
- Turning comments into text with a free Acrobat script