This instructable explains how to use Adobe Acrobat XI to create a multi-page letter sized PDF file from image files where each image is resized to fit the page but with a consistent margin around each image. You may have a need to compile a series of images for someone to print on a printer, and you may want to scale those images to fill the page but still leave a margin to prevent parts of the images near the edge of page from being cropped by the printer. Or you may just want to leave margins for the user to write notes or to punch holes in the pages before putting them in in a binder.
The problem is there is no obvious way to set page margins when creating a PDF file within Acrobat. When you go to the page setup dialog box in Acrobat, the page margin settings are greyed out (see above). Because of this limitation in Acrobat, what should be very simple now becomes a multistep process. This instructable will show you the trick to set page margins, but it assumes you are OK with left/right margins the same size and top/bottom margins the same size.
Step 1: Open Adobe Acrobat XI and Click "Combine Files Into PDF"
Open Adobe Acrobat XI from your desktop and get the default dialog box shown above.
From here, click "Combine files into PDF"
Step 2: Click and Drag Your Images Files Into the Combine Files Dialog Box and Then Click "Combine Files"
Now you can click and drag all sorts of document types, including image files, into the combine files dialog box and click the Combine Files button.
In this case we are creating the PDF file from two different sized images. After dragging the two image files into the dialog box, it looks like the figure above. Now click the Combine Files button.
Step 3: Review the First PDF File You Created and Open the Print Dialog Box
After clicking combine files from the previous step, you will have created the first of three PDF files needed in this process. By default, Acrobat names this file "Binder1.pdf" and opens it on the desktop. The figure above shows this first PDF file with Page Thumbnails enabled. From the File menu in the top left, select Print.
Step 4: From the Print Dialog Box, Select the Adobe PDF Printer, and Click Properties
After selecting the Print command in the previous step you will see the Print dialog box (see above). From here, make sure that the printer type (first line of the dialog box) is set to Adobe PDF. Then click on the Properties button to the right of the printer type.
Step 5: Add a Custom Page Size - Part 1
Clicking on Page Setup in the previous step opens the Adobe PDF Document Properties dialog box shown above. Make sure the Adobe PDF Setting tab is selected. Now click the Add button to the right of the Adobe PDF Page Size setting.
Step 6: Add a Custom Page Size - Part 2
After clicking Add from the previous step you will see the Add Custom Paper Size dialog box shown above. By default, the fields show the values for a standard letter size page.
You now need to create a smaller size page to "print" to. But how small? That depends on what size margins you want for your final letter sized PDF output. For example, if you print to a custom sized page of 7.5” x 10” you will be able to ultimately create a letter sized PDF with half inch margins all around each image. If you print to a custom sized page of 6.5” x 10” you will be able to create a letter sized PDF with half inch margins on the top and bottom but 1” margins on the left and right sides of each image. Let’s try the first option to create half inch margins all around.
Step 7: Add a Custom Page Size - Part 3
Update the fields in the Add Custom Paper Size dialog box: give the Paper Name field a recognizable name like "7.5-10", set Width to 7.5 , and set Height to 10. After updating these fields, the dialog box should look like the figure above. Now click the Add/Modify button in the lower left to create your new custom page size.
Step 8: Selected the New Custom Page Size You Created
After creating your new custom page size by clicking Add/Modify button you are brought back to the Adobe PDF Document Properties dialog box. In the middle of the dialog box, click on the pull-down arrow for the Adobe PDF Page Size field. Now select the the name of the custom page size you just created, 7.5-10, as shown above. Then click OK.
Step 9: Print to Adobe PDF Using the New Custom Page Size
After clicking OK to set the new custom page size, you are brought back to the Print dialog box shown above. Make sure the “Fit” radio button is selected under Page Size & Handling on the left side.
Notice that the print preview section on the right side of the Print dialog box now shows the page size is 7.5“ x 10”.
Now click Print to create your new "interim" PDF file with a new file name.
Step 10: Review the Interim PDF File You Created and Open the Print Dialog Box
After clicking Print from the previous step, you will have created the second of three PDF files, your interim PDF. By default, Acrobat will open the new PDF file on your desktop. From the File menu in the top left select Print, as shown above.
Step 11: From the Print Dialog Box, Select the Adobe PDF Printer, and Click Page Setup
After clicking Print in the previous step you will see the Print dialog box (see above). From here, make sure on the top line that the printer is set to Adobe PDF. Now click on the page Setup button on the lower left.
Step 12: Change Page Size From Custom Back to Letter - Part 1
After clicking Page Setup in the previous step, the Page Setup dialog box is displayed. Notice that the page size is still the custom "7.5-10" size you created before. Change the page size field back to letter size by clicking on the pull-down arrow and selecting "letter" as shown above.
Step 13: Change Page Size From Custom Back to Letter - Part 2
After selecting the "letter" page size the Page Setup dialog box should appear as shown above. Click OK in the Page Setup dialog box.
Step 14: Change Page Sizing From "Fit" to “Shrink Oversized Pages”
After clicking OK in the Page Setup dialog box of the previous step, you will be returned to the Print dialog box as shown above. Note that under Page Size & Handling, the “Fit” radio button is selected. Change that by clicking on the “Shrink oversized pages” radio button.
Step 15: Click Print to Create Your Final PDF File With Margins
After selecting "“Shrink oversized pages” the print preview section on the right side of the Print dialog box (shown above) shows the image is scaled to 100% and is centered, thus creating the margins you desire. Now click the Print button in the lower right and save to your final PDF file using the file name of your choice.
Step 16: Review Your Final PDF File
After clicking print and saving to the file name of your choice, Acrobat will display your final PDF file. With Page Thumbnail view enabled, it should look something like the figure above. You are done!