Straighten and Deskew PDF Pages in Acrobat XI

I recently received this email from a Michigan law firm:

Is there a straighten image tool for scanned images in Acrobat 11? My scanner is getting older and sometimes pulls documents through with a tilt.

Acrobat deskews (straightens) pages during the OCR process, but what if you do not want to OCR the document?

Acrobat can apply various image processing functions using the Optimize Scanned PDF function such as deskewing, background removal, descreening and more.

In this article, I’ll show you how to:

Where is the Optimize Scanned PDF option?

Optimize Scanned PDF is found in the Document Processing panel which is hidden by default. To access this feature, you will need to show this panel.

Here’s how:

  1. Open the PDF document you wish to straighten
  2. Click the flyout menu at the top of the Tools panel:
  3. Select Document Processing from the list of available panels:

Deskew and Straighten PDF using Optimize Scanned PDF

  1. Open the PDF you wish to straighten in case it is not already open.
  2. Open the Document Processing panel and then click on Optimize Scanned PDF:
  3. To straighten the image without OCRing or changing compression, do the following:
    A) Deselect “Apply Adaptive Compression”
    B) Deselect “Make Searchable (Apply OCR)”
    C) OPTIONAL: See below for Filter Section
  4. The Filter section allows you to apply other image cleanup functions such as background removal, etc. You can experiment with these settings which can be helpful in some circumstances.

A Pre-built Deskewing Action

The steps above aren’t difficult, but if you have a number of documents to deskew or just want to save yourself a few clicks, you can try the Acrobat XI Action I’ve built for you.

Deskew Scanned PDF.sequ (2K)

The above link will take you to Acrobat.com. In the upper right hand corner of the window is a download button:

Save the file to a location you can find easily such as your desktop.

To import the Action

  1. Choose Tools > Action Wizard > Manage Actions.
  2. In the Manage Actions dialog box, click Import.
  3. In the Open dialog box, specify the name and location of the action file to import. Action files have a .sequ extension.
  4. Click Open.

To run the Action

  1. Choose Tools > Action Wizard > Deskew Scanned PDF
  2. Under Files To Be Processed, click Add Files to select the files that you want to run the action on. You can run the action on individual files or an entire folder of files
  3. When all the files you want to process are listed, click Start.