Tips & Tricks

Bates-stamping over several sessions

September 11, 2011


Bates-stamping is important if you want to keep track of documents you produce. If you want to know how to do it, watch this video (go to the 13:00 mark for bates-stamping part). Bates-stamping is easy with Acrobat once you've done it a few times. And you should always bates-stamp documents that you're producing.

One common problem, though: you often don't get all of the documents that you need to produce at one time. Hence, you tend to have multiple productions. What happens then?

Well when you get the new documents, you will have already produced a range of documents that, let's say, ends in bates-number 1037. And so you'll be thinking you want to start this batch with bates-number 1038, right? Not necessarily.

If you want to keep the documents perfectly sequenced, then by all means start the next batch with number 1038. Acrobat will let you start your next bates-numbering sequence at any number you want. But, do you really have to do that? (Again, I'm not trying to convince you to alter your current method, just pointing out a workable option).

Let's say you don't care about being perfectly sequenced. How can you still make it so each document gets a unique bates-identifier? The answer is to change the prefix of the bates-identifier for each separate production.

Here's an example of how you might have 4 separate productions, and label them slightly differently to accomplish this objective:

  • HawkinsProd-01-[bates-range]
  • HawkinsProd-02-[bates-range]
  • HawkinsProd-03-[bates-range]
  • HawkinsProd-04-[bates-range]

Obviously, you'd have duplicate numbers in the [bates-range] part of the idenfier. But, you'd still retain uniqueness of identifier based on the first part, "HawkinsProd-[diff #]."

In small cases this might make a lot of sense. Maybe you just want to quickly bates-stamp the new documents and produce them, without having to take the time to find the last bates number. Maybe you like keeping track of when the document was produced.

Anyway, like I said, it's just something to consider. You can create a unique identifier in lots of ways, such as with a prefix or suffix. The bates-number doesn't have to be the only thing that makes the document unique. As long as you can keep track of your documents and have a unique letter/number to identify it with that's enough.

This piece originally appeared on, and has been reproduced with permission.

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