Crop PDF pages with millimeter precision – with the Acrobat Pro online version

Crop PDF precisely

Today I had the problem that I had to prepare documents for the printer, but I didn't create the templates, but a graphic designer created them years ago and made the following mistake:

The document is a two-page PDF with no bleed added to the first page, but the second page does have one. This is of course a no-go for the printer and they asked me if I could please remove the bleed from page 2.

Update June 08.06.2024, XNUMX: New variant with InDesign

Today I found a way: I simply create a new document of the appropriate size in InDesign, place the PDF in it and then export the document as a PDF. Maybe it's an easier alternative to my instructions below. 😊

Acrobat Pro and Preview on the Mac don't help

I thought it wouldn't be as easy as it sounded - and it was. Neither the Preview app nor Adobe Acrobat Pro have a function to crop a page in millimeters.

You can search for “Zusch” at the top right of the Acrobat Pro search and find the tool relatively easily.
At the top right of Acrobat Pro's search you can search for “Zusch” and find the tool relatively easily - but that doesn't exactly cut it.

There is only one tool with which you can draw a frame, which then basically describes the size of the new page. Absolutely not of use if you want to cut a document to exact dimensions for a printing company. I also tried the macOS Preview app, but it has the same problem: it only allows you to crop by eye - and strangely enough, printers aren't happy with that. ;-)

Unfortunately, cropping in Acrobat Pro only works with the handle, but not with entering values.
Unfortunately, cropping in Acrobat Pro only works with the handle, but not with entering values.

Acrobat Pro online version is the solution

Luckily I found a way to get the cutting done fairly accurately. Anyone who has booked the Adobe Cloud subscription can also use the online version of Acrobat Pro with this license. These can be found at:

https://acrobat.adobe.com

You log in there and then find the option “Crop PDFs” under the tools, as shown in the screenshot here.

The Acrobat online tools also have the function to crop a PDF.
The Acrobat online tools also have the function to crop a PDF.

Once you have started cutting in the online version, you will find the option in the side area to select the unit of measurement and then set the distance to the right, left, bottom and top edges. I admit, this is still impractical because of course you prefer to enter the final format, but unfortunately Adobe didn't plan for that.

To determine the correct values, you have to know the current dimensions of the PDF file and then subtract the size of the final format from it. Then you enter these values ​​for each edge and confirm the cutting.

Attention: The form fields do not like numbers with commas, instead you have to use the period as a separator. I only noticed when I was almost desperate.

Here you can see where to enter the values ​​for the distance to the edges.
Here you can see where to enter the values ​​for the distance to the edges.

This meant I got my PDF to “almost” the right size. Why only almost? Because you often have PDFs with dimensions that are a bit crooked in the decimal area. And you can't necessarily enter numbers with three decimal places in the margins. This way you still get a size that the print shop can work with.

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6 comments on “Crop PDF pages with millimeter precision – with the Acrobat Pro online version”

  1. Hi Jens,
    why not via Adobe inDisign? By the way, it was worth using my Mac mini with “Tiger” 🤓, which is of course getting old. But the old Adobe versions CS2 Adobe Acrobat Pro (I think 7.0) still run and were available legally and free from Adobe. I had a similar problem.

    1. Hello Ernst! Because my PDF has font in vectors and the print quality suffers if you open it in Photoshop and then convert it to pixels. If you have pixel graphics anyway, you can of course also work with Photoshop.

      But I found a way today: I simply create a new document of the appropriate size in InDesign, place the PDF in it and then export the document as a PDF. Maybe it's an easier alternative to my instructions. 😊

      1. Hi Jens,
        That's exactly how I would have done it in Photoshop: just placed in a new, suitable document and done.
        But, as the saying goes: Many roads lead to Rome!
        Have a nice weekend
        Seriously

    2. Hello Gunnar! Yes, I came up with that today. Is the better and faster option. :) Unfortunately I didn't come up with the idea soon enough.

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