About actions

When you apply one or more routine sets of commands to your files, you can save time and keystrokes by using an action—a defined series of commands with specific settings and in a specific order that you apply in a single step. You can apply an action to a single document, to several documents, or to an entire collection of documents. You can even scan documents and combine several documents into a single PDF before running an action.

Acrobat DC provides some predefined actions. You can also create your own actions. You can access and manage the actions by clicking Tools > Action Wizard.

Adobe Acrobat DC also lets you export and import actions and commands so that you can share them with others.

Note:

The actions interface and architecture replace the batch script mode available in the earlier versions of Acrobat. Most of your Acrobat XI batch scripts can be imported as actions; some scripts require minor changes.

Run an action

Acrobat DC includes several simple predefined actions that you can use to streamline your work. These actions represent common tasks that you routinely perform to prepare files for distribution. You do not have to open any of the PDF files before you begin to run these actions.

Note:

You can avoid password prompts when you run a sequence on PDFs that require passwords. Automate password entry, or specify a security method for these files in the Action Wizard panel of the Preferences dialog box. If you select Do Not Ask For Password, PDFs that require passwords are not processed.

  1. Choose Tools > Action Wizard. A list of available actions is displayed under the Actions List in the right-hand pane.

  2. Choose the action from the list. The right-hand pane changes to display each task included in the action, as well as any instructions provided by the author of the action.

  3. 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 the currently opened file, or add more files, folders, or email attachments.

  4. When all the files you want to process are listed, click Start.

  5. If Acrobat prompts you, provide additional information, such as output location and settings.

A progress indicator displays the status of the currently running process or task. A check mark identifies completed actions or tasks. On successful completion of all tasks, “Completed” status is shown in the panel.

Note:

You can click Stop in the panel to stop processing an action. Acrobat saves any files that have already been processed as defined in the action. You can click Resume to continue the Action or click the cross icon before the action name in the RHP to exit from further processing of the action. 

Create a custom action

To make your action easier to follow, you can group steps into panels, add divider lines, and include instructions. You can limit the action to specific files, apply it to all files within a folder, or let the user choose a file from various sources such as a scanner, web page, or Clipboard.

  1. Choose Tools > Action Wizard.

    The Action Wizard toolset is displayed in the secondary toolbar.

    Note:

    A list of available actions is displayed under the Actions List in the right hand pane.

  2. In the secondary toolbar, click New Action.

    The Create New Action dialog box is displayed.

  3. To apply the action to a specific file or to all files within a folder, click the File or Folder under Files To Be Processed (on the right). Navigate to the file or folder and click Open.

  4. In the Choose Tools To Add pane, expand the panels, and double-click a task to add it. You can add multiple tasks. The tasks are executed in the order in which they appear in the Action Steps To Show list on the right.

  5. To predefine options for a task, click Specify Settings.

  6. To have the action prompt the user to select options, click the Prompt User check box.

  7. Add other tasks as required.

  8. Fine-tune the action using the buttons on the right. Add a new panel grouping, instructions, or a divider line, or move or delete items in the list.

    Creates a new panel grouping at the bottom of the current set of tasks. When prompted, type the name of the panel, and click Save.

    Adds instructions below the currently selected task. When prompted, type the instructions, and click Save.

    Adds a divider line below the currently selected task.

    Moves the currently selected item up the list. You can move a task, instructions, a divider line, or an entire panel grouping.

    Moves the currently selected item down in the list. You can move a task, instructions, a divider line, or an entire panel grouping.

    Deletes the currently selected item. Be careful what you select. You can delete an entire panel grouping.

  9. Click Save.

  10. In the Save Action dialog box, enter a name and a description for the action and click Save.

Manage custom actions

Use the Manage Actions dialog box to edit, rename, copy, delete, reorder, import, or export actions.

Edit an action

  1. Choose Tools > Action Wizard.

    The Action Wizard toolset is displayed in the secondary toolbar.

    Note:

    A list of available actions is displayed under the Actions List in the right hand pane.

  2. In the secondary toolbar, click Manage Actions.

    The Manage Actions dialog box is displayed.

  3. In the Manage Actions dialog box, select an action and click Edit to change the tasks or settings. You can also use the Edit Actions dialog box to review an action, and exit without saving changes.

    Note:

    You cannot edit the actions that are available out of the box.

  4. To add tasks, expand the panels under the Choose Tools To Add pane and click a task.

  5. Click Save.

  6. In the Save Action dialog box, edit the description, if required, and click Save.

Rename an action

  1. Choose Tools > Action Wizard.

  2. In the secondary toolbar, click Manage Actions.

  3. In the Manage Actions dialog box, select an action and click Rename.

    Note:

    You cannot rename the actions that are available out of the box.

  4. In the Save Action dialog box, enter a new name and description, if required, and click Save.  

Copy an action

You can duplicate an action, and you can modify the tasks in the action before you save the copy.

  1. Choose Tools > Action Wizard.

  2. In the secondary toolbar, click Manage Actions.

  3. In the Manage Actions dialog box, select an action and click Copy.

  4. In the Save Action dialog box, enter the action name and description, and click Save.

    A new copy of the selected action is created and added to the Select An Action list.

Delete an action

  1. Choose Tools > Action Wizard.

  2. In the secondary toolbar, click Manage Actions.

  3. In the Manage Actions dialog box, select an action and click Remove.

    Note:

    You cannot delete the actions that are available out of the box.

  4. In the confirmation dialog box, click Yes.

Export an action

  1. Choose Tools > Action Wizard.

  2. In the secondary toolbar, click Manage Actions.

  3. In the Manage Actions dialog box, select an action and click Export.

  4. In the Save As dialog box, specify the name and location of the file for saving the action. Action files have a .sequ extension.

  5. Click Save.

Import an action

  1. Choose Tools > Action Wizard.

  2. In the secondary toolbar, click Manage Actions.

  3. In the Manage Actions dialog box, click Import.

    Note:

    You can also double-click a .sequ file to import an action.

  4. In the Open dialog box, select the action file to import and click Open. Action files have a .sequ extension.

  5. In the confirmation dialog box, click OK.

    Note:

    If an action contains JavaScript, then an alert message is displayed stating that the selected action contains JavaScript. Click Import to continue or Cancel to abort the import process.

Automate password entry for actions

Before you run actions on PDFs that are encrypted or password protected, you can set your digital ID to enter required passwords automatically.

Note:

 Specify a security method for these files in the Action Wizard panel of the Preferences dialog box. If you select Do Not Ask For Password, PDFs that require passwords are not processed.

  1. Open the Preferences dialog box.

  2. Choose Signatures in the Categories on the left.

  3. For Identities & Trusted Certificates, click More.

  4. On the left, open Digital IDs and select Digital ID Files.

  5. In the list on the right, select an ID and then select the following commands from the top bar:

    Login

    Logs in using the specified digital ID. Type the password and click OK.

    Logout

    Logs out using the specified digital ID when you have finished running an action.

Create and manage custom commands

Custom commands allow you to preconfigure commands such as Watermark and Header & Footer to reduce the amount of time each command would take to set up. This saves time for repetitive tasks.

Custom commands are single-step and applicable to the current document, while actions are multi-step sequences and applicable to multiple files.

Create a custom command

  1. Choose Tools > Action Wizard > New Custom Command.

  2. The New Custom Command dialog displays a list of customizable commands in the left pane. Choose a command that you want to customize.

  3. Change the command label and tool tip, if you want. Also, choose whether you want to see the command-specific options when the command is run.

  4. Click Command Options. Select or specify appropriate values or options in the dialog box and then click OK.

  5. Click OK to save the new custom command.

    The command is displayed under the Custom Commands section in the right pane.

Run a custom command

  1. Choose Tools > Action Wizard.

  2. In the right pane, under the Custom Commands section, click the command's name.

Manage custom commands

Use the Manage Custom Commands dialog box to edit, copy, rename, remove, reorder, import, or export commands.

  1. Choose Tools > Action Wizard.

  2. In the Manage Custom Commands dialog box, choose the command in the list, and then click the appropriate button. Follow onscreen instructions or prompts to complete the task.

  3. Once you are done, click Close.

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