Back in January 2007, we published a tip showing how to use PDF watermarks to add studio-branded “proof” stickers to the PDFs you send clients (Add proofing messages with PDF watermarks). That’s been a popular tip over the last year.

This week we’d like to provide an updated tutorial showing how you can do the same thing using custom Acrobat stamps. In hindsight, using Acrobat stamps does a better job, and is a lot more fun.

Once you’ve created a proof PDF for your client, use the following steps to add a special “proof” stamp in Adobe Acrobat. (You’ll need the full version, not just Adobe Reader.)

Step 1: Build a Stamp Graphic.

To begin, you’ll need to create a graphic to use as your studio’s electronic proofing stamp. In an article for creativepro.com (How to Stamp Proofs with Your Own Brand) Pariah S. Burke showed the graphic he uses, and said, “If you want a proof label like mine, feel free to steal it.” So we did. Below is an example file we created for this tip based on Pariah’s example.


Example Proof Stamp.pdf

While our example file is a PDF, you can create graphics in a number of formats, including PDF, JPEG, Adobe Illustrator (AI), Adobe Photoshop (PSD), etc.

Step 2: Create a Custom Stamp in Acrobat.

To load a graphic as a custom stamp, choose “Create Custom Stamp” in Acrobat’s Tools menu. The menu names vary slightly depending on the version of Acrobat you are using.

Acrobat 8: Tools > Comment & Markup > Stamps > Create Custom Stamp…

Acrobat 7: Tools > Commenting > Stamps > Create Custom Stamp…


In that dialog box, click Import (or Browse), and find the file you want to use as your new stamp. Click OK when you’ve successfully selected the image you want to import.


In the final dialog box, pick a category name (you might group all your custom stamps under a category that is named after your company), name the custom stamp, and then click OK.

Step 3: Apply Stamps to your PDF.

Applying the stamps to a PDF is easy. The quickest method is to select your stamp directly from the Acrobat Stamps menu. The category name you picked when you imported the stamp graphic now shows as an option in the Stamps menu.


If you will be applying stamps more frequently, or have a larger library of stamps to work from, the floating Stamps Palette may be more convenient.

Acrobat 8: Tools > Comment & Markup > Show Stamps Palette


To demonstrate how you might group a collection of stamps in the Stamps Palette, we pulled some examples from the fun Design Police stickers that we covered in another tip this week. While reviewing a PDF proof, you could grab any needed stamps and easily show your feelings about the design.


Source: This tip was inspired by How to Stamp Proofs with Your Own Brand, an article at creativepro.com written by Pariah S. Burke. We owe a mention of thanks to Seattle designer Darlin Gray who sent us the heads-up for this great tip. Thanks Darlin!