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PDF properties and metadata

  1. Acrobat User Guide
  2. Introduction to Acrobat
    1. Access Acrobat from desktop, mobile, web
    2. What's new in Acrobat
    3. Keyboard shortcuts
    4. System Requirements
  3. Workspace
    1. Workspace basics
    2. Opening and viewing PDFs
      1. Opening PDFs
      2. Navigating PDF pages
      3. Viewing PDF preferences
      4. Adjusting PDF views
      5. Enable thumbnail preview of PDFs
      6. Display PDF in browser
    3. Working with online storage accounts
      1. Access files from Box
      2. Access files from Dropbox
      3. Access files from OneDrive
      4. Access files from SharePoint
      5. Access files from Google Drive
    4. Acrobat and macOS
    5. Acrobat notifications
    6. Grids, guides, and measurements in PDFs
    7. Asian, Cyrillic, and right-to-left text in PDFs
  4. Creating PDFs
    1. Overview of PDF creation
    2. Create PDFs with Acrobat
    3. Create PDFs with PDFMaker
    4. Using the Adobe PDF printer
    5. Converting web pages to PDF
    6. Creating PDFs with Acrobat Distiller
    7. Adobe PDF conversion settings
    8. PDF fonts
  5. Editing PDFs
    1. Edit text in PDFs
    2. Edit images or objects in a PDF
    3. Rotate, move, delete, and renumber PDF pages
    4. Edit scanned PDFs
    5. Enhance document photos captured using a mobile camera
    6. Optimizing PDFs
    7. PDF properties and metadata
    8. Links and attachments in PDFs
    9. PDF layers
    10. Page thumbnails and bookmarks in PDFs
    11. Action Wizard (Acrobat Pro)
    12. PDFs converted to web pages
    13. Setting up PDFs for a presentation
    14. PDF articles
    15. Geospatial PDFs
    16. Applying actions and scripts to PDFs
    17. Change the default font for adding text
    18. Delete pages from a PDF
  6. Scan and OCR
    1. Scan documents to PDF
    2. Enhance document photos
    3. Troubleshoot scanner issues when scanning using Acrobat
  7. Forms
    1. PDF forms basics
    2. Create a form from scratch in Acrobat
    3. Create and distribute PDF forms
    4. Fill in PDF forms
    5. PDF form field properties
    6. Fill and sign PDF forms
    7. Setting action buttons in PDF forms
    8. Publishing interactive PDF web forms
    9. PDF form field basics
    10. PDF barcode form fields
    11. Collect and manage PDF form data
    12. About forms tracker
    13. PDF forms help
    14. Send PDF forms to recipients using email or an internal server
  8. Combining files
    1. Combine or merge files into single PDF
    2. Rotate, move, delete, and renumber PDF pages
    3. Add headers, footers, and Bates numbering to PDFs
    4. Crop PDF pages
    5. Add watermarks to PDFs
    6. Add backgrounds to PDFs
    7. Working with component files in a PDF Portfolio
    8. Publish and share PDF Portfolios
    9. Overview of PDF Portfolios
    10. Create and customize PDF Portfolios
  9. Sharing, reviews, and commenting
    1. Share and track PDFs online
    2. Mark up text with edits
    3. Preparing for a PDF review
    4. Starting a PDF review
    5. Hosting shared reviews on SharePoint or Office 365 sites
    6. Participating in a PDF review
    7. Add comments to PDFs
    8. Adding a stamp to a PDF
    9. Approval workflows
    10. Managing comments | view, reply, print
    11. Importing and exporting comments
    12. Tracking and managing PDF reviews
  10. Saving and exporting PDFs
    1. Saving PDFs
    2. Convert PDF to Word
    3. Convert PDF to JPG
    4. Convert or export PDFs to other file formats
    5. File format options for PDF export
    6. Reusing PDF content
  11. Security
    1. Enhanced security setting for PDFs
    2. Securing PDFs with passwords
    3. Manage Digital IDs
    4. Securing PDFs with certificates
    5. Opening secured PDFs
    6. Removing sensitive content from PDFs
    7. Setting up security policies for PDFs
    8. Choosing a security method for PDFs
    9. Security warnings when a PDF opens
    10. Securing PDFs with Adobe Experience Manager
    11. Protected View feature for PDFs
    12. Overview of security in Acrobat and PDFs
    13. JavaScripts in PDFs as a security risk
    14. Attachments as security risks
    15. Allow or block links in PDFs
  12. Electronic signatures
    1. Sign PDF documents
    2. Capture your signature on mobile and use it everywhere
    3. Send documents for e-signatures
    4. About certificate signatures
    5. Certificate-based signatures
    6. Validating digital signatures
    7. Adobe Approved Trust List
    8. Manage trusted identities
  13. Printing
    1. Basic PDF printing tasks
    2. Print Booklets and PDF Portfolios
    3. Advanced PDF print settings
    4. Print to PDF
    5. Printing color PDFs (Acrobat Pro)
    6. Printing PDFs in custom sizes
  14. Accessibility, tags, and reflow
    1. Create and verify PDF accessibility
    2. Accessibility features in PDFs
    3. Reading Order tool for PDFs
    4. Reading PDFs with reflow and accessibility features
    5. Edit document structure with the Content and Tags panels
    6. Creating accessible PDFs
  15. Searching and indexing
    1. Creating PDF indexes
    2. Searching PDFs
  16. Multimedia and 3D models
    1. Add audio, video, and interactive objects to PDFs
    2. Adding 3D models to PDFs (Acrobat Pro)
    3. Displaying 3D models in PDFs
    4. Interacting with 3D models
    5. Measuring 3D objects in PDFs
    6. Setting 3D views in PDFs
    7. Enable 3D content in PDF
    8. Adding multimedia to PDFs
    9. Commenting on 3D designs in PDFs
    10. Playing video, audio, and multimedia formats in PDFs
    11. Add comments to videos
  17. Print production tools (Acrobat Pro)
    1. Print production tools overview
    2. Printer marks and hairlines
    3. Previewing output
    4. Transparency flattening
    5. Color conversion and ink management
    6. Trapping color
  18. Preflight (Acrobat Pro)
    1. PDF/X-, PDF/A-, and PDF/E-compliant files
    2. Preflight profiles
    3. Advanced preflight inspections
    4. Preflight reports
    5. Viewing preflight results, objects, and resources
    6. Output intents in PDFs
    7. Correcting problem areas with the Preflight tool
    8. Automating document analysis with droplets or preflight actions
    9. Analyzing documents with the Preflight tool
    10. Additional checks in the Preflight tool
    11. Preflight libraries
    12. Preflight variables
  19. Color management
    1. Keeping colors consistent
    2. Color settings
    3. Color-managing documents
    4. Working with color profiles
    5. Understanding color management

View document properties

When you view a PDF, you can get information about it, such as the title, the fonts used, and security settings. Some of this information is set by the person who created the document, and some is generated automatically.

In Acrobat, you can change any information that can be set by the document creator, unless the file has been saved with security settings that prevent changes.

  1. Choose File > Properties.
  2. Click a tab in the Document Properties dialog box.

Document Properties


Shows basic information about the document. The title, author, subject, and keywords may have been set by the person who created the document in the source application, such as Word or InDesign, or by the person who created the PDF. You can search for these description items to find particular documents. The Keywords section can be particularly useful for narrowing searches.

Note that many search engines use the title to describe the document in their search results list. If a PDF does not have a title, the filename appears in the results list instead. A file’s title is not necessarily the same as its filename.

The Advanced area shows the PDF version, the page size, number of pages, whether the document is tagged, and if it’s enabled for Fast Web View. (The size of the first page is reported in PDFs or PDF Portfolios that contain multiple page sizes.) This information is generated automatically and cannot be modified.


Describes what changes and functionality are allowed within the PDF. If a password, certificate, or security policy has been applied to the PDF, the method is listed here.


Lists the fonts and the font types used in the original document, and the fonts, font types, and encoding used to display the original fonts.

If substitute fonts are used and you aren’t satisfied with their appearance, you may want to install the original fonts on your system or ask the document creator to re-create the document with the original fonts embedded in it.

Initial View (Acrobat only)

Describes how the PDF appears when it’s opened. This includes the initial window size, the opening page number and magnification level, and whether bookmarks, thumbnails, the toolbar, and the menu bar are displayed. You can change any of these settings to control how the document appears the next time it is opened. You can also create JavaScript that runs when a page is viewed, a document is opened, and more.

Custom (Acrobat only)

Lets you add document properties to your document.


Lists PDF settings, print dialog presets, and reading options for the document.

In the PDF settings for Acrobat, you can set a base Uniform Resource Locator (URL) for web links in the document. Specifying a base URL makes it easy for you to manage web links to other websites. If the URL to the other site changes, you can simply edit the base URL and not have to edit each individual web link that refers to that site. The base URL is not used if a link contains a complete URL address.

You can also associate a catalog index file (PDX) with the PDF. When the PDF is searched with the Search PDF window, all of the PDFs that are indexed by the specified PDX file are also searched.

You can include prepress information, such as trapping, for the document. You can define print presets for a document, which prepopulate the Print dialog box with document-specific values. You can also set reading options that determine how the PDF is read by a screen reader or other assistive device.

Add a description to Document Properties

You can add keywords to the document properties of a PDF that other people might use in a search utility to locate the PDF.

  1. Choose File > Properties.
  2. Click the Description tab, and type the author’s name, subject, and keywords.
  3. (Optional) Click Additional Metadata to add other descriptive information, such as copyright information.

Create document properties

You can add custom document properties that store specific types of metadata, such as the version number or company name, in a PDF. Properties you create appear in the Document Properties dialog box. Properties you create must have unique names that do not appear in the other tabs in the Document Properties dialog box.

  1. Choose File > Properties, and then select Custom.
  2. To add a property, type the name and value, and then click Add.
  3. To change the properties, do any of the following, and then click OK:
    • To edit a property, select it, change the Value, and then click Change.

    • To delete a property, select it and click Delete.

    To change the name of a custom property, delete the property and create a new custom property with the name you want.

Edit document metadata

PDF documents created in Acrobat 5.0 or later contain document metadata in XML format. Metadata includes information about the document and its contents, such as the author’s name, keywords, and copyright information, that can be used by search utilities. The document metadata contains (but is not limited to) information that also appears in the Description tab of the Document Properties dialog box. Document metadata can be extended and modified using third-party products.

The Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) provides Adobe applications with a common XML framework that standardizes the creation, processing, and interchange of document metadata across publishing workflows. You can save and import the document metadata XML source code in XMP format, making it easy to share metadata among different documents. You can also save document metadata to a metadata template that you can reuse in Acrobat.

View document metadata

  1. Choose File > Properties, and click the Additional Metadata button in the Description tab.
  2. Click Advanced to display all the metadata embedded in the document. (Metadata is displayed by schema—that is, in predefined groups of related information.) Display or hide the information in schemas by schema name. If a schema doesn’t have a recognized name, it is listed as Unknown. The XML name space is contained in parentheses after the schema name.

Edit or append document metadata

  1. Choose File > Properties, click the Description tab, and then click Additional Metadata.
  2. Select Advanced from the list on the left.
  3. To edit the metadata, do any of the following, and then click OK.
    • To add previously saved information, click Append, select an XMP or FFO file, and click Open.

    • To add new information and replace the current metadata with information stored in an XMP file, click Replace, select a saved XMP or FFO file, and click Open. New properties are added, existing properties that are also specified in the new file are replaced, and existing properties that are not in the replacement file remain in the metadata.

    • To delete an XML schema, select it and click Delete.

    • To append the current metadata with metadata from a template, hold down Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS) and choose a template name from the dialog box menu in the upper right corner.


    You must save a metadata template before you can import metadata from a template.

    To replace the current metadata with a template of metadata, choose a template file (XMP) from the dialog box menu in the upper right corner.

Save metadata as a template or file

  1. Choose File > Properties, click the Description tab, and then click Additional Metadata.
  2. Select Advanced from the list on the left.
  3. Save the document metadata, and then click OK:
    • To save the metadata to an external file, click Save and name the file. The metadata is stored as a file in XMP format. (To use the saved metadata in another PDF, open the document and use these instructions to replace or append metadata in the document.)

    • To save the metadata as a template, choose Save Metadata Template from the dialog box menu in the upper right corner, and name the file.

View object data and metadata

You can view the metadata information of certain objects, tags, and images within a PDF. You can edit and export metadata for Visio objects only.

Object Data tool in Acrobat
Use the Object Data tool to view object grouping and object data.

View object metadata (Acrobat Pro)

  1. Choose Tools > Edit PDF > Edit Text & Images.

  2. Select an object, right-click the selection, and choose Show Metadata. (If Show Metadata is unavailable, the image has no metadata associated with it.)

View and edit Visio object metadata

  1. Choose Tools > Measure > Object Data Tool.

  2. Double-click an object on the page to show its metadata.

    The Model Tree opens and shows a hierarchical list of all structural elements. The selected object’s metadata appears as editable properties and values at the bottom of the Model Tree.


    The selected object is highlighted on the page. Use the Highlight Color menu at the top of the Model Tree to choose a different color.

  3. To edit the metadata, type in the boxes at the bottom of the Model Tree.
  4. To export object metadata, from the options menu, choose Export As XML > Whole Tree to export all objects in the Model Tree, or choose Export As XML > Current Node to export only the selected object and its children. Name and save the file.

Export Visio object metadata

  1. Choose Tools > Measure > Object Data Tool.

  2. Double-click an object on the page to show its metadata.
  3. From the options menu  , choose one of the following:
    • Choose Export As XML > Whole Tree to export all objects.

    • Choose Export As XML > Current Node to export only the selected object and its children.

  4. Name and save the file.
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