Is there a free plug-in for Adobe Reader to measure a distance on a PDF?

Is there another free reader out there that has this?

3 Answers 3


Adobe reader itself has a measure feature under "tools/measure":

The measuring tools are especially useful when you need to know the distances or areas associated with objects in a form or computer-aided design (CAD) drawing... The measuring tools are available to Reader users only if the PDF creator enables measuring functionality.


As of this writing, the Linux version of Acrobat Reader is missing the tool. Foxit is another alternative which includes a measure tool.

  • 1
    "The measuring tools are available to Reader users only if the PDF creator enables measuring functionality." -> Does it means we need Adobe Acrobat Pro to create the PDF? Feb 2, 2014 at 13:31
  • @Yud: Nope. Many vector-drawing programs will export measure-ready files. Adobe Illustrator or InDesign, for example. You can measure any file as far as I can tell, but vector drawings will snap the ruler to the edges of bounding boxes/strokes.
    – user483996
    Oct 24, 2016 at 19:29

I am using the free PDF-XChange pdf viewer, and it comes with a measuring tool. Screenshot taken from the free version:

PDF-XChange measuring tool

  • One shortcoming of the tool is that I cannot find where you can change the measuring unit... it will only measure in millimeters ?
    – Veverke
    May 26, 2016 at 9:13
  • For me, it only measures inches, but displays them in meters. But better than nothing
    – piegames
    Feb 15, 2021 at 19:45

Foxit Reader :

check it out here http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/reader/addons.htm it's free, so fast small (no more than 4Mo) and it has a lot of addons including Measure Tools tools.

Includes a distance tool, a perimeter tool, and an area tool that will help you to measure distance, perimeter or area on a PDF page and automatically transform the results into real-world values.

  • 4
    Looks like the measure tools are part of the Pro Pack. It's free for a year. Jul 31, 2009 at 15:23
  • a year is enough I guess :p
    – user3864
    Jul 31, 2009 at 15:37
  • Looks like its baseline these days
    – nmr
    Jan 9, 2022 at 18:46

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