How to Import/Place an Image in a PDF

Just a bit over three years ago, I sat in the audience of my first legal technology conference.

At the time, I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed with the industry terminology and workflow despite my eighteen plus years of experience in the software industry.

At this event and others, I was able to meet many legal technology speakers who were very helpful in bringing me up to speed.

Craig Ball, Esq., veteran speaker and expert in electronic discovery, was one of the first on the circuit that welcomed me. We had an opportunity to talk about the legal market and Acrobat. I always look forward to seeing him at legal trade shows around the country.

The very first time I met Craig, he discussed how he used Acrobat to present information and shared a frustration with the product.

“I can’t just place an image into a PDF. Why not?”

In Acrobat 6 and 7, there was a multi-step process to create a stamp and place an image, but that was a lot of work.

In Acrobat 8 Pro and up, placing an image is much easier. Craig . . . this one’s for you!

Placing an Image on a PDF Page

Acrobat can place following image types directly on a page:

Follow these steps to import and place an image on a PDF:

  1. Open the PDF file on which you want to place the image
  2. Choose Tools—>Advanced Editing—>Touchup Object Tool
  3. Right-click and choose Place Image…
  4. A standard file dialog will appear:
  5. Select an image file and click Open

Adjusting the Appearance of the Imported Image

Acrobat allows you to make a number of changes to the image once it is placed.

When the Touchup Object tool is active (Tools—>Advanced Editing—>Touchup Object Tool), right-click to see the following options for your placed image:

Selecting an Image

Click once with the Advanced Editing Tool to select an image.

If multiple images and objects are nearby, it can be a challenge to select the right one.

Control-Shift-Click (Option-Shift-click on the Mac) to cycle through the stacking order of images.

Moving an Image

  1. With the placed image selected, click and drag.
  2. Your cursor will change to this:

To scale an image

  1. Move the cursor over the corner point (handle) of the image.
    Note: You need to be exactly on top of the corner point, so mouse carefully!
  2. The cursor will change:
  3. Click and hold the mouse button to scale the image.

Cropping an Image

One possibly confusing aspect of working with images in Acrobat is that notion of Clipping Region. A clipping region acts as a mask and is the mechanism Acrobat uses to crop images.

You can Set a Clipping Region to crop an image, or Delete the clipping region to uncrop the image.

If you try to crop an image that already has a Clipping Region, Acrobat will ask you to delete the existing one.

To crop an image:

  1. Right-click on the image and choose Set Clip
  2. Your cursor will change to:
  3. .
  4. Move exactly over a handle (corner point) of the image and the Crop Tool will appear:
  5. Move the cursor to crop the image.

Rotating an Image

If you right-click on an image, you’ll find a number of built-in options such as Flip Horizontal, and Rotate Clockwise.

To freely rotate an image:

  1. Right-click on the image and choose Rotate Selection
  2. Move exactly over a handle (corner point) of the image and the Scale Tool will appear:
  3. Move the cursor to rotate the image.

Final Thoughts

The Touchup Object tool can also be used to delete or move text and vector objects in the file, so you may need to be a bit careful when using it.

To use some of the tools—such as cropping or rotating—you have to be very accurate in the cursor placement.

Acrobat is not intended to be a page layout or drawing program. Notably, there is not Bring Forward or Send Backward capability. If you select an object with the Touchup Object tool and choose Cut it to the clipboard, you can paste it in front of other objects on the page.

If you have an object selected, and Paste or choose Place Image, the selected object will be replaced.

So, Craig, I know it’s been three years, but I remembered!