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Measuring 3D objects in PDFs

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Learn how to use the 3D Measurement Tool to measure 3D models in PDFs by creating measurements between points or edges of the model.

Before you begin

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In the new experience, the tools appear on the left side of the screen.

Measure 3D objects

The 3D Measurement Tool enables you to measure four types of measurements, including the perpendicular distance between two straight edges, the linear distance between two points, the radius of circular edges, and the angle between two edges (or three points).

3D measurement display
3D measurement display

  1. To begin measuring a 3D model in a PDF, you need to select the 3D model to render it for tools.

  2. Access the 3D toolbar by right-clicking on the 3D object and selecting Show Toolbar. If the 3D toolbar view is set for consolidated tools, select the 3D Measurement Tool  from the pop-up menu next to the Navigation Tool.

  3. Select the 3D Measurement Tool icon that appears on the 3D toolbar. This will enable Snap Enables and Measurement Types.

  4. Select the options you want in the Snap Enables and Measurement Types toolbar.

  5. Right-click the model background, and change the options as needed. Keep the 3D Measurement Tool palette open.

  6. Measure the 3D model:
    • To measure the distance between two positions on a 3D model, select the start point, and then move the pointer to either another location or an edge.
    • To measure the circumference of a round shape, position the pointer over the shape's edge until a circle appears, then click once.
    • To create and apply an annotation to the measurement, right-click on the object background and select Change Markup Label. Enter a markup label, then measure the 3D model as described previously. Click once to set the endpoint, then click again to set the location of the measurement and label.
    • To save a measurement as a comment, select the Hand tool, right-click on the measurement, and then select Convert To Comment.
    • To stop a measurement, right-click the 3D model and select Cancel Measurement.
    • To delete a measurement markup, select it with the 3D Measurement Tool and press Delete.

    To learn how to rotate, pan, zoom, and snap while you measure, right-click the model and select 3D Measurement Navigation Tips.  

Snap Enables options in the 3D Measurement Tool palette

3D Snap To Edge Endpoints 

Snaps to the entire edge.

3D Snap To Linear Edges 

Snaps to a straight-line segment of an edge.

3D Snap To Radial Edges 

Snaps to a circumference.

3D Snap to Silhouettes 

Snaps to the apparent edge of a part, such as the side of a cylinder.

3D Snap To Planar Faces 

Snaps to the geometric plane making up a face of the part.

Measurement Types options in the 3D Measurement Tool palette

3D Point To Point Measurement  


Measures the distance between two positions on the 3D model. Click to set a start point, and then click another location to set an end point or edge.

3D Perpendicular Dimension 

Measures the distance between two edges taken at a right angle to the starting edge.

3D Radial Dimension 


Measures the radius at the location clicked.

3D Angle Measurement 

Measures the angle between two edges.

Units and markup options

To use the Units and Markup measurement tools, select the 3D Measurement Tool, and then right-click inside the 3D model. Then go to Preferences to find these:

Define Model Units

Select to change the measurement units.

Enable Coordinate Display

Displays or hides the coordinates of the mouse pointer location in the Measurement Info Window.

Change Markup Label

Type the text that you want to appear with the measurement, both in the 3D model area and in the Comments panel. (Not available if Measurement Markup is not selected.)

Disable Measurement Markup

Select when you want to take measurements in a model, but not add them to the document. The measurements are only visible while the current measurement is active. If you start another measurement or change tools, the markup disappears.

Don't Snap To 3D Content

Disables the ability to snap the insertion point to a likely target. Select this option to improve performance when you are working with a large model. Return to Snap To 3D Content to ensure precise measurement in 3D objects.

3D Measurement Navigation Tips

Opens a dialog box that lists the keyboard shortcuts for several navigation shorts. You can use these shortcuts while you are measuring.


Opens the Measuring (3D) Preferences dialog box.

Hide/Show Measurement Info Window

The Measurement Info Window displays the Units And Markup settings for the model. Select to remove the window from the model window.

Hide/Show Measurement Toolbar

Removes/displays the 3D Measurement Tool palette.

Measuring preferences

Change the 3D Measuring preferences to determine how 3D data is measured. To access these options, press Command + K to open Preferences, and go to the Measuring (3D) panel.


In Adobe Acrobat Reader, these preferences apply to PDFs that have commenting enabled.

Use Scales and Units from Model (when present)

Displays measurements based on the model units, if present, generated from the original 3D model. Deselect this option to specify the units of measurements manually. This setting can be changed in the 3D Measurement Tool palette.

Use default display unit

Uses units of measurement that you specify here rather than the measurement units in the 3D model.

Significant Digits to Display

Specifies the maximum number of digits in the measurement number.

3D Measuring Line Color

Specifies the color of the line that appears when you click or drag to measure an object.

Measure Feedback Size

Sets the text size for the measurement display.

Angular Measurements Shown In

Specifies units as either degrees or radians.

Circular Measurements Shown As

Designates whether the diameter or radius is measured for circular parts.

Show Circle for Radial Measurements

Displays the circumference associated with the radial measurement.

3D Snap Settings

Turns on snap and specifies whether points, arcs, edges, silhouette edges, or faces are snapped to. Sensitivity indicates how close the pointer must be to the item being snapped to. For Snap Hint Color, specify the color of the snap line that appears when you hold the pointer over the 3D object.


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