Tips & Tricks

Creating Dynamic Stamps in Acrobat

November 20, 2003


One of the big issues for me this week was: "How do I create my own dynamic stamps in Acrobat 6 - It doesn't seem to work?" So ... after a bunch of emails and some trial and error, I now know how to do it. It's not really documented so I thought I'd pass it along.

What are dynamic stamps?

Dynamic stamps consist of the PDF image of the stamp and a text form field that contains JavaScript to make your stamp dynamic. For example, the Dynamic Stamp "Approved" contains a form field that generates user name, time and date.

Stamps can be stored in [install directory]\plug_ins\Annotations\Stamps\[language] or [user directory]\Application Data\Adobe\Acrobat\6.0\Stamps. There are two methods you can use to create a dynamic stamp in Acrobat 6.

Method One - Stamp Tool

  1. From Commenting Toolbar: Select the Stamp Tool > Create Custom Stamp or From the Menu: Tools > Commenting > Stamp Tool > Create Custom Stamp.
  2. Select the file you want to be your custom stamp. This can be any file type that File > Create PDF > From File supports.
  3. Select a Category and a Name for your stamp.
  4. Go to the Application Data directory (see above).
  5. The PDF that contains your custom stamp will have a "crazy" name (example: UNol_YjtKdIgptuMIQ3LxC.pdf). Open that PDF file. Hint: if you have multiple files in this directory - sort by Date Modified and the "newest" one is where your newest custom stamp is located.
  6. Apply a form field with JavaScript. Hint: you can go to [install directory]\plug_ins\Annotations\Stamps\[language]\Dynamic.pdf and copy one of the form fields from there as a starting point.
  7. Save the PDF.

You now have a custom DYNAMIC stamp.

Method Two -- Page Templates

The alternative way is to use the "old" Acrobat 5 method of creating stamps with page templates.

  1. Place the PDF you want to use as a stamp in the [install directory]\plug_ins\Annotations\Stamps\[language] folder, and then open it in Acrobat 6.
  2. Select Advanced > Forms > Page Templates.
  3. Give your PDF page a "name" - this name should be formatted as < stamp name > = < stamp name > and it will be stored under the menu item of the name of the PDF file. For example if I create a file named "MyStamps.pdf" and I create a Page Template named "MyBox=MyBox", there will be a new Category under Stamps called "MyStamps" which will include a stamp called "MyBox."
  4. Apply a form field with JavaScript. Hint: you can go to [install directory]\plug_ins\Annotations\Stamps\[language] \Dynamic.pdf and copy one of the form fields from there as a starting point.
  5. Save the PDF.
  6. Re-start Acrobat (since it is in the Acrobat installation directory Acrobat won't "see" it until you restart).

You now have a custom DYNAMIC stamp.

What about Reader?

If you want to use custom stamps with Reader (*and* you have "reader-enabled" PDF that has commenting "rights") you can:

  • place your custom stamp in the C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 6.0\Reader\plug_ins\Annotations\Stamps folder and the next time you launch Adobe Reader your custom stamp will be available.
  • use Acrobat 6.0 to create your custom stamp. It will be placed in the C:\Documents and Settings\[user name]\Application Data\Adobe\Acrobat\6.0\Stamps folder. You can either leave it there and Adobe Reader will also look there for custom stamps or move it to the installation folder.
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