After cropping anything by using the crop tool in Adobe Acrobat, how do I ensure that the cropped area is fixed and can't be seen even when I increase the crop margin?

For example: how would I crop the following example (image and text) to ensure the image and the part "I don't want to include this text" are really removed, and not hidden somewhere in the result?

enter image description here

Adobe Reader's crop tool only seems to hide the cropped part; it does not really remove it:

Reader's Crop Tool

  • 1
    Could you post a screenshot or anything to further explain what you're trying to resize and where you're watching it in? – Ivo Flipse Apr 5 '10 at 12:51

Using Adobe Acrobat X

You can do this with a Preflight fixup. It is annoying to set up, but pretty easy to use after that.

  1. Tools Print Production Preflight Select single fixups Options Create New Preflight Fixup
  2. Name Permanent crop
  3. Fixup category Pages
  4. Type of fixup Set page geometry boxes
  5. Source MediaBox
  6. Destination Relative to TrimBox (meaning "use the dimensions of the TrimBox").
  7. OK
  8. Fix

How to REALLY crop a PDF

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    This is the best answer! Works. If you are looking for setting to crop box just replace the destination to be CropBox. Keep all values at zero because it is a relative setup. – emem Jun 25 '15 at 9:11
  • The linked tutorial page is provides much more details and is really helpful. Thank you. – Xin Apr 18 '16 at 20:03
  • It cost me a while and some frustration before I discovered this: the numbers you enter should be NEGATIVE. So for example, if you want to remove the left 2 inches of the page, you should enter Left: "-2" (Unit: inch). (This was what worked for me; YMMV.) – Kenny LJ Feb 2 '18 at 2:34
  • Also, in addition to the above steps, you also have to Remove hidden information (see some of the answers below). Otherwise, there will still be hidden text/images in the cropped-out areas, as you can see if you click on "Edit PDF". – Kenny LJ Feb 2 '18 at 2:36
  • For Acrobat DC (latest version of Acrobat), it's (5) Pagebox: "MediaBox"; and (6) Dimension based on: "Relative to TrimBox". – Kenny LJ Feb 2 '18 at 2:52

In Acrobat DC,

Type "redact" in the Search Tools... field at the top of the right sidebar, then choose "Remove Hidden Information."

Type 'Redact' in Search Tools... field

In Acrobat X,

  • Tools
    • Protection

      • Hidden Information

        • Remove Hidden Information

It works with me...

If the purpose is just to hide the information that was cropped, this works. But if you want to actually make the page smaller, this doesn't do that. The full document is still the original size, with the cropped portions turned white.

Using Adobe Acrobat 9,

  1. Create a temporary folder, place the pdf to be cropped there
  2. Crop the file using Adobe Acrobat
  3. Open the Adobe cropped pdf file
  4. Select File -> Export -> Image -> PNG
  5. Click "Save"
  6. Go into the temporary folder, select all the PNG files, right click select "Combine supported files in Acrobat"
  7. Click "Combine files"
  8. Save the newly combined file. This file has is permanently cropped and is of the same quality as the original
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    This tool rasterizes my vector graphics in Adobe Acrobat X. Not useful for me... – krlmlr May 29 '12 at 10:04
  • Excellent answer, it works for me. The problem is that after I do it, my file is ten times bigger! What happened!? – lmat - Reinstate Monica Nov 16 '12 at 17:34
  • Ha, but then, I "save as reduced size pdf" and the size is now .2 times the original size. For clarity, the original (from scanner) was 2.01M, the sanitized was 23.15M, and the sanitized, reduced is .44M. ::wags head:: – lmat - Reinstate Monica Nov 16 '12 at 17:36
  • As mentioned, the Tool rasterizes my vector graphics. How do I prevent the vectors from getting rasterized ? – harveyslash Aug 20 '14 at 15:08

The simplest way is to print as PDF (again) the cropped document. Since the crop tool of Acrobat just hides the area from printing, the resulting new PDF document will not show the hidden areas anymore.

In the latest version of Acrobat (at least with v10) printing to pdf from pdf is "not supported". However, the earlier suggestion to remove hidden information and objects using the "protection" area of the tool box was helpful. Specifically, it removed the items I was trying to crop out. However, I have yet to find a way to change page size in a permanent way using the latest version of Acrobat Pro.

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    I was able to print to another PDF today for a cropped page in version 10.1.0, and in the print properties I was able to change the pagesize. – Lance Roberts Jul 25 '11 at 17:32

Go to Document → Examine Document.

There you can press "remove" to delete the hidden information.

  • Note that in Acrobat 8, this does remove entire elements but not image data that is outside the cropped area. It seems to work more as you’d expect in Acrobat 9 and later. Always verify! – Nicholas Riley Mar 25 '14 at 0:13

Adobe pdf's retain pieces of information often when you don't want it too... there was even a case recently where the military where blacking out text but in a second layer, which once removed made a lot of classified information readable.

Its hard to tell what adobe keeps and doesn't, if there is information you don't want in the pdf I think your best bet is not to put it there in the first place... if it is a picture, copy it out of adobe, crop it, and paste it back into a brand new pdf.

I'm not entirely sure that any of the listed tools will actually crop it properly like you want.

  • Do you have other Adobe tools? I had this problem before when preparing a phone bill for someone else. I only wanted to generate the pieces pertinent to that person. I ended up doing it offline (as Dan suggested) and then creating another, new PDF file. I think you can even crop using Windows Paint... – nicorellius Apr 6 '10 at 18:09
  • @nic and Dan: for some testing in another question, the OP wanted to crop text (and maybe some graphics), while still being able to select (and copy) the remaining non-cropped text... (Difficult, if not impossible.) – Arjan Apr 6 '10 at 20:23

I found this AppleScript on another site Mac Production Artist Tips and Scripts :

tell application "Adobe Acrobat Pro"
  tell active doc
    repeat with i from 1 to count of pages
      tell page i
        set cbox to crop box
        set media box to cbox
      end tell
    end repeat
  end tell
end tell

Hope that helps. It's crazy that there's no easily accessible method to ACTUALLY crop pages in Acrobat.

I needed to modify it because I needed to crop to the trim box thus:

tell application "Adobe Acrobat Pro"
  tell active doc
    repeat with i from 1 to count of pages
      tell page i
        set tbox to trim box
        set media box to tbox
      end tell
    end repeat
  end tell
end tell

I built a tool that handles basic redaction free PDF Redaction tool. When you upload the document, it gives you the ability to draw redaction marks and on the way out flattens it completely removing any embedded information and sanitizes metadata. You could use this to crop the page, just be ware that this will rasterize any vector graphics you have on the page.

  • Thanks for the heads up. In OP's case it looks like the goal is to crop within a page size. To achieve that effect, you could draw large white strokes to white out the area, however, this will not actually change the size of the page. It will also fully rasterize your document, so if you have vector graphics this won't specifically work. – levinology Jan 31 '19 at 8:25
  • Is it supposed to work in Firefox? I am stuck on step 2 "preparing document". – d-b Apr 28 '20 at 0:42
  • Hey d-b @d-b we're experiencing an infrastructure outage. Hoping to have it fixed soon. – levinology Apr 29 '20 at 3:59

I have had some success cropping and then printing to Adobe PDF in my printer selection. This is an option that I believe comes with a full version of Acrobat. There are many other programs and downloads that can provide such a "printer".

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