Adding pages features to Acrobat

The pages panel of Acrobat has many features such as rotate, extract, crop and split, but is missing several features that many users would appreciate as standard:

  • Break readers spreads
  • Break printers pairs
  • Reverse page order
  • Interleave two files
  • Duplicate pages in a 1-1-1-1-1-1-2-2-2-2-2-2 sequence
  • Duplicate pages in a 1-2-1-2-1-2 sequence

Breaking spreads and pairs

Breaking readers spreads has been covered on this blog several times so won’t be discussed in this post, but breaking printers pairs has proved to be a little more challenging and an Acrobat-based solution remains to be found.

Reversing and interleaving

Solutions have however been found for the last four of the bullet points. One solution solves two of the missing page features, namely reversing page order; and interleaving two files. The script can be found in this Github repository.

Once added to the javascripts folder of Acrobat, two new items are added to the Edit menu: Collate and Reverse.

The collate option allows another file to be interleaved into the already open PDF. The Reverse function simply reverses the page order of the already open PDF.

An alternative solution for users who want to reverse order lots of PDFs at once may want to make an Acrobat action. From the file menu, select Action Wizard, and Create New Action.


In the new window, click on the “More Tools” panel in the left hand column and choose “Execute Javascript”. The window that should now look similar to this, click on the “Options” button within the Execute Javascript step and type the following in the next window that appears:

for (i = this.numPages - 1; i >= 0; i--) this.movePage(i);

From here, click Save. A prompt will appear asking for a name and description of the action.

Once an action has been made, it can be called upon by navigating to the File menu, Action Wizard, and then selecting the action.


Actions made in this fashion will prompt for a file or files. Once selected, the action will then run and prompt for a save location.

Duplicate pages in a 1-1-1-1-1-1-2-2-2-2-2-2 sequence

Again, this solution is provided in the form of an Acrobat action. It effectively follows the same steps as creating the reversing action but with one important difference – to tick the checkbox “Prompt User”. The script for this action can be found here:


When this action is run, the usual prompt for a file will appear. However, there will be a pause where the javascript console will once again appear. It is at this point the amount of duplicates are typed in.


Duplicate pages in a 1-2-1-2-1-2 sequence

This solution is almost identical to the solution above, except that the script for the action is different. The script can be found in the following forum post:

Other solutions

The action wizard feature of Acrobat is often overlooked. Apart from running custom javascripts, the wizard allows general Acrobat functions such as extract images as tiff, or recognise OCR text to run. Prior to the release of Acrobat XI reader, anyone using Acrobat X reader could not comment or mark-up a PDF unless the file had been specifically saved from Acrobat with commenting enabled. Doing this via the menus is tedious, especially if there are many files enable, but using an action this was quite simple. It was also simple to set the initial views so that a client will see the PDF to fit height, as spreads with the cover turned on.

Having these options available while making the PDF from InDesign would solve this issue permanently… perhaps in future updates of InDesign CC.

Anyone interested in looking for more script based actions may want to have a look at this site and this site.

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