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Printing documents in Acrobat X and Reader

Learn how to use the general and advanced printing settings in the print to PDF dialogs for Acrobat X and Reader.

By Lori Kassuba – March 2, 2011


In this tutorial, learn how to use the general and advanced printing settings in the print to PDF dialogs for Acrobat X and Reader. Depending on the printer, you have numerous features available for printing PDF files, including scaling content, printing just a portion of a page and printing comment summaries.

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Printing documents in Acrobat X and Reader

Lori Kassuba – March 2, 2011

The Acrobat and Reader X Print dialog contains numerous features for printing your PDF files, ranging from scaling content to printing just a portion of apage.

In this video tutorial, we’ll explore the Print dialog in detail and provide tips and suggestions for printing various types of PDF content.There are a few different ways to bring up the Print dialog, by clicking on the Print icon in the toolbar, or by selecting File > Print, or by using thekeyboard shortcut Ctrl + P on Windows or Cmd + P on the Mac.

There are several components to the Print dialog.

So, the first step is to determine what elementsyou want to print, since PDF files can contain comments, stamps, and form fields.

The dropdown menu under the Properties button titled Comments and Formsallows you to select what elements you want to print in your document.

Notice how the preview display below changes based on what you have selected in the dropdown.

If you have a pre-printed form in which you would like to print just the form field data, be sure to select Form fields only from this dropdown.

This will allow you to print only the form field information, which is especially useful at tax time if you have an existing pre-printed form.Since I have comments in this particular document, I can use the Summarize Comments button at the bottom of the Print dialog to bring them all together.

Acrobat will prompt me if I want to include the text of summarized comments in the document being printed.

Click Yes.

And then another temporary PDF file isthen generated, which can be seen in the page preview.

If a particular page contains a comment, then the next page will display a text summary of thecomment.

I can either print this comment summary file or create a PDF of it.

If you prefer to print comment summaries using a different layout, you’ll need to exit the Print dialog, select the Comment pane, Comments List panel, and Create Comment Summary underneath the options menu.

Here you willsee the layouts available for printing comment summaries.

This step is different than how you changed the layout of your summarized comments in Acrobat 9.

Also, the ability to change the comment summary layout is only available in Acrobat and not Adobe Reader.After determining what to print in your PDF document, let’s review the various techniques for printing.

The first thing to note is that what displays in theProperties menu will change depending on what printer you have selected.

For example, if I select the HP OfficeJet Pro 8500 printer, you can see that thisparticular printer supports duplex printing.

However, if I select the much older HP OfficeJet G85, it has far fewer options and does not support duplex printing.It’s important to note that your printer, and not Acrobat or Adobe Reader, determines whether or not you can print duplex.

So, if your printer supportsduplex printing, make sure this feature is turned on in the Properties menu.

Also the terminology for duplex printing may vary based on your printer.

For example, it may be referred to as print front and back, print both sides, or 2 sided.

If your printer doesn’t support duplex printing, you can always first print the front sides and then reload the pages to print the back sides.The Print Range section of the Print dialog determines the pages to output.

You can print an individual page, a range of pages, or nonconsecutive pages.

For example, I’ll type pages 1-3, 5, and 7-.

The hyphen at the end is a tip to print through the end of the document.

This is handy if you don’t rememberexactly how many pages are in your document.The slider previews the range of pages to print, to visually ensure the pages selected are correct.

In this case it tells me exactly which pages of this 14-page document I’m printing.

Another useful part of the Print Range section is the ability to print a particular view of this document.

If I zoom into a particular portion of this page, and then select the Print dialog, Current view, I can print just this view of the document.

Another way to do this is touse the snapshot tool, this is located underneath the Edit menu, and allows me to copy a particular portion of my document.

And then when I select the Printmenu, you'll see this portion of the page automatically appear in the preview.The Page Handling section of the Print dialog provides detailed control over the print output.

This is where you can print multiple copies, scale, tile, rotate,and control the paper source.

The Fit To Printable Area from the Page scaling pulldown, scales small pages up and large pages down to fit the paper source.

The Shrink To Printable Area resizes only large pages to fit the paper and prints small pages as they are.

You can also magnify or reduce a PDF by anexact percentage by selecting the Tile All Pages from the Page Scaling pulldown.

This exposes the Tile Scale % option.

If you don’t see the tile options in themenu, make sure Print as Image or, for Acrobat only, Separations, or In-RIP Separations are not selected in the Advanced Print menu.

For Tile Scale, type the percentage you want to magnify or reduce the PDF.

And then click any other option to refresh the Preview at the right.The Tile Large Pages from the Page Scaling pulldown is useful if you send files to service centers for printing on large format inkjet printers.

Then, when youneed a proof on your desktop printer for an oversized print, you can print multiple pages of tiled sections of the larger image.

You have choices for displaying scaling, overlap areas, cut marks, and labels.

You can save paper by using the Multiple Pages per Sheet option, also known as N-up printing.

When this option is selected, you can specify settings for PagesPer Sheet, Page Order, Print Page Border, and Auto-Rotate Pages.

N-up printing in Acrobat is independent of N-up printing features of a print driver, so select N-up printing either in Acrobat or in the print driver, but not both.You can also print a multipage document as a booklet when you select Booklet Printing from the Page Scaling pulldown.

Acrobat or Reader will lay out thepages two per sheet.

When you collate, fold, and staple the double-sided sheets, the result is a single book with the correct page order.

Additional controls appear beneath the Page Scaling pop-up menu.

In the Booklet subset pop-up menu, select one of the following options: Both sides, if your printer supports automatic duplex printing.

Front side only, Back side only, if your printer can't automatically print both sides.

Remember you can always first print thefront sides of the paper then reload those pages and print the back sides if your printer doesn’t support duplex printing.

Leave the Sheets from boxes asthey are, Acrobat or Reader will determine which sheets must print to accommodate the print job.

Finally, choose an option from the Binding pulldown menu.The Auto-Rotate and Center checkbox, which appears when I select Fit to Printable Area or Shrink to Printable Area, adjusts the page orientation tomatch the orientation specified in the printer properties.

If for some reason you do not want Acrobat to auto-rotate pages make sure you uncheck this box andyour page will print out exactly as it displays.

For example, this second page is rotated, if I uncheck the Auto-Rotate box, it will print out rotated on a portrait page instead of landscape.

On Windows only, if your PDF file contains different page sizes, like letter and legal, you can specify that the different-sized pages print on the correct paper size.

The option Choose Paper Source by PDF Page Size tells a printer to select the paper tray that best suitsthe document size.

The Print To File checkbox is available only on Windows.

It creates a device-dependent PostScript file of your PDF document.

However, the resulting filecontains code for enabling and controlling specific printer features, making it less compatible with other printers.

For better results when creating PostScript files, use the Save As > More Options > PostScript command.

The Save As PostScript command is not available in Adobe Reader.The Print Color As Black option (available only on Windows) can be used to save ink.

It forces all nonwhite color to print as black.

This option is useful forprinting engineering drawings that have lightly colored lines.

This will print colors as black, not grayscale.

If the checkbox is dimmed, try clicking on theAdvanced button to make sure that Acrobat Default is selected in the Settings pulldown.You can also print color as shades of gray to save ink if you’re using Acrobat Professional.

In the Advanced print menu, simply select Composite Gray from theOutput Color pulldown.In Acrobat only, not Adobe Reader, you can set up an individual PDF file to default to certain print dialog options.

To do this choose the File > Properties command, and select the Advanced tab.

The center section of this tab allows you to setup default characteristics for the Print dialog.

For example, I can set the number of copies to print for this particular document.

You’ll need to save the file to apply these new defaults, and this will need to be donefor each individual PDF that you want to preset with a printing option.One last note regarding printing PDF Portfolios, you can print the component PDFs in a PDF Portfolio individually or together.

Documents print in alphabetical order, regardless of the order of files.

To print only certain PDFs, select those PDFs, in this case I'll select the first two documents, andselect the File > Print command.

The selected PDF files button is automatically highlighted and is available only when multiple PDF files are selected prior tobringing up the Print menu in the PDF Portfolio.After a detailed review of the Acrobat X Print dialog, you can see that there are many methods to control the page range, scaling, medium size, and color tosuit whatever type of PDF document you are printing.

Products covered:

Acrobat XAcrobat Reader

Related topics:

Convert Word to PDF online, Convert Excel to PDF online, Convert PowerPoint to PDF online, Create PDFs

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Comments for this tutorial are now closed.

Lori Kassuba

6, 2016-02-12 12, 2016

Hi Kyle Romney,

Do you have Auto portrait/landscape turned on in the Print dialog?


Lori Kassuba

6, 2016-02-12 12, 2016

Hi Bonnie McKinnon,

Have you tried making sure that this didn’t get set in your Printer Properties?


Bonnie McKinnon

5, 2016-02-04 04, 2016

Even though I set the printer options to print to landscaped - everywhere I saw the option I selected it - but it would only continue to print portrait pages which I did not want at all.  Why has this suddenly changed when it is so very necessary and should be a very simple selection - left just as it was??  Please advise - thanks.

Kyle Romney

5, 2016-02-01 01, 2016

Is there a way to set the default print setting to print in landscape mode.  90% of my printing I need in landscape mode and I always have to take the extra step to check the landscape box.

Lori Kassuba

7, 2016-01-15 15, 2016

Hi Susan,

One way to do this is to make sure this setting is set under File > Properties > Advanced tab “Paper Source by Page Size” for each PDF you create.


Susan Hopkins

10, 2016-01-07 07, 2016

I created a MS Access database that exports files to PDFs.  The PDF document is created in Adobe Reader XI.  The document is set up to print on 14 x 8.5 paper.  When another uses tries to run this report from their computer, the print settings of 14 X 8.5 are no longer there.  What needs to be done to ensure everyone can print the PDF document on 14 x 8.5 paper?

Lori Kassuba

6, 2015-11-10 10, 2015

Hi Mathew Skaria,

Can you provide more background on the problem you’re experiencing? What OS and version of Acrobat/Reader are you running?


Mathew Skaria

7, 2015-11-03 03, 2015

I can’t see the printer which i installed in my pc, when i am giving PDF prints….

Please help

Patty Friesen

3, 2015-04-05 05, 2015

Hi Brian,

Can you please post your question in the Acrobat forum so our experts can help you interactively:



brian rowe

8, 2015-04-02 02, 2015

i am trying to print a normal pdf invoice from supplier off my printer, but printer comes up with not enough memory, therefor i cannot print have you got a soloution for me please.
this is the only invoice i cannot print off

Lori Kassuba

2, 2015-01-16 16, 2015

Hi guy,

Try making sure that the Adobe Reader PDF plug-in for your browser is set as the default. Some browsers have their own PDF viewer. Here are some tips on how to do this:



8, 2015-01-13 13, 2015

trying to print a pdf from an email everytime i try to print it goes to a file save. i have gone to advance but no check box anyone have any ideas

Lori Kassuba

3, 2014-12-09 09, 2014

Hi Muhammad Idrees Khan,

Under the Advanced button in the Print dialog make sure you don’t have Print to File checked.


Muhammad Idrees Khan

6, 2014-12-07 07, 2014


I am trying to print a file from acrobat 9 but every time I print it goes to create save pdf file and saves the file but d not print. I have checked the printer setting, selected printer, checked printer properties, even try to use other printers but still same problem.

Mohammed Abdullahi

9, 2014-06-22 22, 2014

Received with thanks. It was indeed very helpful.

Lori Kassuba

7, 2014-02-12 12, 2014

Hi Jennifer,

Try seeing if this problem is related to security by temporarily turning off Protected Mode under Edit > Preferences > Security (Enhanced).



7, 2014-02-11 11, 2014

I get the print error “no pages selected for print” what does this mean? I have the radial button for All pages selected and the pages show in the print preview screen. I am so frustrated!

Tommy R. Hill

3, 2013-09-01 01, 2013

This was a very useful video.  Narrator has a pleasant voice but how about annunciation?  The word is “prinTer” not “prinner”.  If I heard “prin-out” one more time I would go nuts. 
Actually couldn’t listen to the whole thing.
As PRINTING is the subject of the video, wouldn’t you think that this young lady could at least pronounce the word correctly?

Lori Kassuba

4, 2013-03-26 26, 2013

Hi Daniela,

If you are printing using the “Multiple” button in the Print dialog make sure that you have the checkbox for “Print page border” turned off.



4, 2013-03-23 23, 2013


Ao imprimir as folhas estam saindo com uma linha em volta como se fosse uma borda. Já tentei tirar essa linha/borda, mas não consigo. Se alguém puder me dar uma dica e agradeço.

When printing sheets, pages are coming out with a line around like a border. I’ve tried taking out this line / edge, but I can not. If someone can give me a hint and I thank.


Lori Kassuba

3, 2013-02-26 26, 2013

Hi Walther,

This cannot be done using the free Adobe Reader. But if you have Acrobat then you can just use the Extract or Split command to do this. Here is a tutorial on the subject:



1, 2013-02-20 20, 2013

Como puedo imprimir algunas paginas de un archivo en PDF a otro archivo en el mismo formato PDF?

How do I print some pages of a PDF file to another file in the same format PDF?

Christine Willson

11, 2013-02-07 07, 2013


I would have loved to hear more about printing quality ... printing a best copy, navigating between best and draft, if there are such things and a way to save on ink with a draft copy….?


Hi Christine,

The only reason these types of things were not covered, is because they’re specific to the printer driver you’re using not Acrobat. However, Acrobat/Reader XI did introduce the “Print in Grayscale” command in the print dialog to save on ink.



5, 2013-01-03 03, 2013


Just wondering how can one make in Acrobat X (on Mac) the printer settings last for the next job?
(Printer and page size) In acrobat 9 it was ok and after Upgrade I must set all the settings any time I send something to printer - pretty annoying…

thanks for any help


2, 2012-11-02 02, 2012

When printing PDF with editable fields, how can I be sure to get all text in larger fields that appear to scroll down?

Tony Day

9, 2012-10-27 27, 2012

I would like draft to be my default.  How can I do this.

This sounds like a printer property—so you’ll need to set it under the Properties button next to the Printer selection in the print dialog.

Lori K.

Adriano Podda

2, 2012-10-25 25, 2012

Hello, lately my Acrobat Reader 9 been locked, I can’t print and
I can’t figure out how can open it.
Please, may you help me.
Thank you, I will appreciate.
Adriano Podda

Hi Adriano - please make sure your using the latest update for Adobe Reader. There were some printing issues in an earlier release.

Lori K.

sayed ahmed

10, 2012-10-21 21, 2012



10, 2012-09-26 26, 2012

Do you know if the adobe reader X has all the print options available? I am hoping to print some high quality prints to a canon pro 1 printer (when it arrives!) and wondered if I would need to update the adobe software to enable all the print options that one would see with a ‘paid’ version of adobe? Any help much appreciated.

There are some differences between the print menus in Adobe Reader and Acrobat Std or Pro. These mainly involved the Advanced portion of the print dialog. Here is a link to more information on these settings:


valice R. Hohman

3, 2012-09-07 07, 2012

I am trying to place a stamp “DRAFT COPY” on the pdf document I would like to know how I can do this.
Sgt Hohman
St Robert Police Dept.

Hi - I would suggest posting your question to the forum, so that we can interactively help you with this:



4, 2012-08-20 20, 2012

This was a very useful video.  Narrator has a pleasant voice but how about annunciation?  The word is “prinTer” not “prinner”.  If I heard “prin-out” one more time I would go nuts. 
Actually couldn’t listen to the whole thing.
As PRINTING is the subject of the video, wouldn’t you think that this young lady could at least pronounce the word correctly?

Hi Diane,

Glad to hear you found the video useful. I’ve passed along your comments regarding enunciation to the author.


Comments for this tutorial are now closed.