Creating Dynamic Stamps in Acrobat

One of the big issues for me this week was: ‘How do I create my own dynamic stamps in Acrobat 6 – It doesn’t seem to work?’ So … after a bunch of emails and some trial and error, I now know how to do it. It’s not really documented so I thought I’d pass it along.

What are dynamic stamps?

Dynamic stamps consist of the PDF image of the stamp and a text form field that contains JavaScript to make your stamp dynamic. For example, the Dynamic Stamp ‘Approved’ contains a form field that generates user name,
time and date.

Stamps can be stored in [install directory]plug_insAnnotationsStamps[language] or [user directory]Application DataAdobeAcrobat6.0Stamps. There are two methods you can use to create a dynamic stamp in Acrobat 6.

Method One – Stamp Tool

  1. From Commenting Toolbar: Select the Stamp Tool > Create Custom Stamp or From the Menu: Tools > Commenting > Stamp Tool > Create Custom Stamp.
  2. Select the file you want to be your custom stamp. This can be any file type that File > Create PDF > From File supports.
  3. Select a Category and a Name for your stamp.
  4. Go to the Application Data directory (see above).
  5. The PDF that contains your custom stamp will have a ‘crazy’ name (example: UNol_YjtKdIgptuMIQ3LxC.pdf). Open that PDF file.

    Hint: if you have multiple files in this directory – sort by Date Modified and the
    ‘newest’ one is where your newest custom stamp is located.

  6. Apply a form field with JavaScript.

    Hint: you can go to [install directory]plug_insAnnotationsStamps[language]Dynamic.pdf and copy one
    of the form fields from there as a starting point.

  7. Save the PDF.

You now have a custom DYNAMIC stamp.

Method Two — Page Templates

The alternative way is to use the ‘old’ Acrobat 5 method of creating stamps with page templates.

  1. Place the PDF you want to use as a stamp in the [install directory]plug_insAnnotationsStamps[language] folder, and then open it in Acrobat 6.
  2. Select Advanced > Forms > Page Templates.
  3. Give your PDF page a ‘name’ – this name should be formatted as < stamp
    name > = < stamp name > and it will be stored under the menu item of the name of
    the PDF file. For example if I create a file named ‘MyStamps.pdf’ and I
    create a Page Template named ‘MyBox=MyBox’, there will be a new Category
    under Stamps called ‘MyStamps’ which will include a stamp called ‘MyBox.’
  4. Apply a form field with JavaScript.

    Hint: you can go to [install directory]plug_insAnnotationsStamps[language] Dynamic.pdf and copy one
    of the form fields from there as a starting point.

  5. Save the PDF.
  6. Re-start Acrobat (since it is in the Acrobat installation directory
    Acrobat won’t ‘see’ it until you restart).

You now have a custom DYNAMIC stamp.

What about Reader?

If you want to use custom stamps with Reader (*and* you have ‘reader-enabled’ PDF that has commenting ‘rights’) you can:

  • place your custom stamp in the C:Program FilesAdobeAcrobat 6.0Readerplug_insAnnotationsStamps folder and the next time you launch Adobe Reader your custom stamp will be available.
  • use Acrobat 6.0 to create your custom stamp. It will be placed in the C:Documents and Settings[user name]Application DataAdobeAcrobat6.0Stamps folder. You can either leave it there and Adobe Reader will also look there for custom stamps or move it to the installation folder.

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