Batch Printing PDFs (and other files) using Acrobat 9

Maybe it isn’t popular or “green”, but law firms still print a lot.

For example, recently I received this email from a paralegal:

Can I batch print PDFs? We received a few hundred files on a CD and the attorney wants me to print them all out. I can’t convince her to review them online . . .

While we’d all like to print less, evaluating documents on the computer screen is challenging for many legal professionals for both physiological and cultural reasons.

Batch Printing Illustration

I’ll discuss how you can:

Batch Printing via Portfolios

A PDF Portfolio is a single PDF “envelope” that can contain multiple documents such as PDF, Word, Excel, TIFF, etc.

A nice feature of PDF Portfolios is uninterrupted Batch printing. Acrobat can preview and print all files within the portfolio.

Even better, Acrobat can convert many types of files to PDF along the way including Word, Excel, PPT, TIFF, JPEG and other file types, too.

Want to know more about Portfolios?- Article on creating Creating Closing Binders - The Case Analysis section of my blog has several articles - See a short movie on creating PDF Portfolios

Get the Files into the Portfolio

Follow these steps to import your files into a PDF Portfolio and print them. ( Acrobat 9 Standard or higher required)

I recommend placing all your files into a folder on your hard drive or network. It’s OK if the documents are in sub-folders.

  1. Open Acrobat
  2. Click the Combine button on the main toolbar, or choose
    File> Combine then choose Merge Files into a single PDF
  3. Menu selection picture
  4. The Combine Files window opens.
    A) Click the Portfolio button
    B) Click the Add button and choose Add Folders, then browse to the folder of files you wish to print.
    C) Click the Options button
  5. In the Options window, check “Convert all Files to PDF when creating a portfolio”, then click OK.
  6. Click the Combine Files button.
  7. Conversion happens quickly if your source files are PDFs. If you have lots of non-PDFs, Acrobat will convert each file type to PDF. That can take a bit of time, so get some coffee while you wait.
  8. When complete, Acrobat will ask you to name and save the Portfolio.

Printing the Files in the Portfolio

To batch print all the files in the Portfolio:

  1. Choose File> Print
    A) In the Page Range section, choose All PDF files
    B) You have several options here. I generally recommend choosing Fit to Printable area.

A Few Tips

Acrobat will honor the page layout and print settings saved with an Excel document. e.g. custom margins or page orientation. It’s a good idea to check these settings in the XLS files before the combining step.

Here are two Preferences changes you can make to resolve these issues.

Ensuring all Worksheets are Converted

An easy preferences change will ensure that all worksheets in the Excel document are converted:

  1. Choose Edit> Preferences
  2. Click the Convert To PDF category
  3. Locate Microsoft Excel in the list
  4. Click the Settings button
  5. Enable “Convert entire Excel workbook”

Shrinking Excel docs to fit on a single page

Changing a preference in the Excel PDF Maker will reduce the number of PDF pages created.

  1. Open Microsoft Excel
  2. For Office 2007, choose the Acrobat ribbon
    For Office 2003 and earlier, choose the Acrobat menu
  3. . . . then choose Preferences
  4. Enable the checkbox “Fit Worksheet to a single page”
  5. Click OK and exit Excel


A Note about Email Portfolios