Tips & Tricks

Extracting Content from Acrobat

March 05, 2004


Suppose you have a multipage document and you want to remove a part of it for another purpose, such as combining it with other information for another document. In this tip, I'll explain how to separate, or extract, a portion of a document.

  1. Let's extract several nonconsecutive pages from the same document. First, we'll group them together. In the Pages pane's thumbnails view, click page 5 to select it, and then drag it up to the current page 2 position. A solid line appears above page 4. As the page is moved, a solid line shows where it will relocate if you release the mouse.

  2. Now the three pages we want to work with are in consecutive order and can be selected as a group. Click page 2 to select it, and then Shift+click page 4 to select all three pages.

    A selected thumbnail and its page number are framed in black; as you drag the thumbnail, a solid black line indicates where the page is moved if you release the mouse.

  3. Choose Options > Extract Pages from the Pages pane menu. The Extract Pages dialog opens. Because we selected the pages in the Pages pane, the page numbers (2-4) already appear in the dialog.

    Preselected page thumbnails are listed in the Extract Pages dialog when it opens.

  4. Click OK to close the dialog. Acrobat extracts the pages and creates a new document. As Figure 5.16 shows, the document filename includes the "Pages from" prefix.

    The new document is named according to its source.

    Note When working on complicated projects I leave the default "Pages from" names. It helps to organize content, the location of some documents, and where they originated.

  5. Save the new file and close it. Acrobat returns you to the original document.

  6. In step 1 you moved pages to make selecting pages for extraction a one-step process. Before finishing, you should restore the order of the document. Choose File > Revert to open the dialog shown below. Click Revert to return to where you started before the extraction, with the pages in their original order.

Use the Revert command to restore your document to its last-saved status.

Deleting Pages for Good

If you're sure that you want to permanently separate content from one document into two (or more) documents, click the Delete Pages After Extracting option in the Extract Pages dialog. Be warned, however: If you choose this option, the extracted pages will be permanently removed from your original document.

Extracting from a Large Document

This tip shows a quick and simple method for reorganizing the pages in a short document to make extraction a one-step process. For large documents, that isn't always a good idea. It is too easy to get confused, extract pages you don't need to or forget those you do, costing you time in the long run. In a large document, it is simpler to extract groups of pages and then recombine them into one new document.

To the default "Pages from" names that Acrobat gives to extracted pages, I append a number for each separate group, such as "Pages from xx.pdf 1" and "Pages from xx.pdf 2". Later, when I combine the extracted material into a single document, it's simple to arrange them numerically, and I don't have to spend time trying to figure out which extracted pages go where.

This tip is excerpted with permission from "Adobe Acrobat 6 Tips and Tricks: The 100 Best" by Donna Baker, published by Peachpit Press/Adobe Press, Copyright 2004 Peachpit Press.

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