The Proofreader's Parlour
A blog for editors, proofreaders and writers
How to install my PDF proofreading stamps
This article contains installation instructions for for most versions of Acrobat and PDF-XChange.
Scroll down the page to find the set appropriate for the platform you're working with.
There's also a video for XChange users and link to the stamps files themselves.
NOTE: Rest assured that you don't need advanced technical knowledge to install the stamps. In fact, you don't need any technical knowledge at all! You simply need to be able to follow the instructions as they are given. I've provided a video tutorial for PDF-XChange users. Some of you may find this more user-friendly than the written instructions.
Please follow my instructions to the letter. I've provided installation support to a number of users in recent years. On every occasion, problems occurred for one of the following reasons:
PDF-XChange (Pro and the free Viewer)
One of the main benefits of using PDF-XChange Viewer is that you can import all my stamps in one go.
For those of you who'd like to watch a tutorial of the steps outlined below, here's a video demonstration in which I talk you through the process, step by step, while actually downloading a set of stamps onto my own computer. It's in screencast format, so you can follow exactly how I navigate my way through the installation.
NB: This is the squeaky-chair edit, a limited-edition version created especially to provide the feel-good factor for editorial freelancers whose home offices benefit from well-oiled swivel-seating arrangements!
* Can't find the AppData folder?
If you can't find the folder, the most likely reason is that the Application Data (or AppData) folder (a hidden folder) is invisible on your computer.
PDF-XChange Editor 6.0
My colleague Helen Mortimor has kindly provided the following installation instructions for use with Editor 6.0:
PDF-XChange Editor 3.0
My colleague Steve Hammatt has kindly provided the following installation instructions for use with Editor 3.0:
Acrobat 9 (Standard and the free Reader)
The first time you do this you’ll have to write in a category (e.g. Red Stamps). When you import a second stamp you can simply select this option. You can also name the stamp if you wish but I didn’t bother, choosing instead to leave the default New Stamp.
When you have uploaded all your stamps and are ready to start marking up your document, select Show Stamps Palette from the stamp icon in the ribbon menu and a box will appear. If you have different categories (e.g. Blue Stamps) you can select these from here.
Acrobat <9 (Standard and the free Reader)
The first time you do this you’ll have to write in a category (e.g. Red Stamps). When you import a second stamp you can simply select this option. You can also name the stamp.
When you have downloaded all your stamps and are ready to start marking up your document, select the drop-down menu from the stamp icon in the ribbon menu, and the categories you have created will be listed along with the defaults. You can then select the stamp from the category you require.
My colleague Jenny Macgregor has very kindly put together some instructions for downloading my proofreading stamps into Acrobat X. Here's her advice...
Here are a few tips to bear in mind when using stamps. Search the Stamps archive for other useful articles and resources.
Louise Harnby is a professional proofreader and copyeditor. She curates The Proofreader's Parlour and is the author of several books on business planning and marketing for editors and proofreaders.
Visit her business website at Louise Harnby | Proofreader, say hello on Twitter at @LouiseHarnby, or connect via Facebook and LinkedIn.
Tips for proofreading PDFs
These days, it's not uncommon to be asked to edit and proofread onscreen. If you're editing in Word, all well and good; you can amend the text directly. If you're tackling designed page proofs, you'll probably be working on a PDF.
The PDF editor's onboard markup tool is one option. Using custom stamps is another, and that's what I'll be exploring today.
Why use customized stamps?
Even in the standard versions of most PDF editors (as opposed to their freely available readers), the tools can be restrictive. For me, punctuation errors are a major problem – I feel that insertion and deletion tools for punctuation marks (and even single letters) are often ambiguous, with the highlight or strike-out line appearing to ‘spread’ further on the page than would be the case on a paper mark-up.
About the stamps …
I created a set of customized stamps that can be imported into my PDF editing software (I have both PDF-XChange and Acrobat).
The stamps are based on the current BSI proofreading symbols and once downloaded can be imprinted onto the page, giving the proof the appearance of its paper cousin.
No more clunky comments and digital sticky notes, and say goodbye to ambiguous highlighting. Now you can keep the comment boxes in reserve for queries to your author or in-house editor.
The following is a sample of just a few of my stamps.
Which software is compatible?
I’ve tested the stamps on Adobe Acrobat (standard version) and PDF-XChange and can confirm that they can be imported (other PDF editors that have stamping functions, such as Foxit and PDFill, may also be compatible, though I’ve yet to verify this – comments welcome!).
What if you only have a free reader/viewer?
No problem – you don't need to have the full paid-for versions of Acrobat or XChange in order to use the stamps.
You can use your free Acrobat Reader as long as you ask the person who has created the PDF to 'enable comments'.
With PDF XChange Viewer, you don't even need to worry about enabling comments – the stamps will work on your PDF as soon as you have uploaded them. An additional benefit of Viewer is that you can import all the stamps in one go.
Can you use the stamps with a Mac?
One of the first questions asked after I posted this article was whether the stamps files would work for Mac users.
I work on a PC but an SfEP colleague has informed me that since the stamps files are PDFs it shouldn't make any difference whether you're working on a PC or a Mac. Rather, the most important thing is that you have the Mac version of your PDF editor, e.g. Acrobat for Mac.
What does the marked-up proof look like?
I’ve been delighted with the results, as have many of my clients. The marked-up proofs using the stamps are much clearer to read, as the two examples show.
There are only four amendments in Example 1, the comment-box version. Imagine how much time it would have taken to select the text, choose the relevant option from the Text Edits menu and write the instruction to the typesetter if all the amendments in Example 2 had been made without using stamps.
And if the typesetter opened up all these comments boxes, what a mess it would have been.
Creating the stamps is the fiddly part and the most time-consuming.
Getting the correct size, so that you don’t have to resize each stamp when you’re working on a set of proofs, takes a little time and, of course, creating each individual stamp can seem painstaking.
However, the job only has to be done once and I’ve been using mine for a couple of years now. It’s worth spending some time playing around with your designs early on in order to make life easier for yourself later.
I’ve created stamps in red, blue and black because my clients have different requirements.
I used Publisher to create the stamps, but you could use any software with a drawing tool. Set up each stamp on a separate page. Once you’ve drawn all your stamps convert the file into a PDF.
Want to use the stamps that I've already created?
I’m happy to share with colleagues who have the same commitment as I do to improving skills and supporting our industry’s professional standards.
To access your copies of my stamps, click here – there's no charge. If you're using PDF-XChange (I'd recommend you do so), make sure you select the stamps labelled "XChange".
Note: Please note that my stamps are based on proofreading symbols as defined by BS 5261-2 (2005). If you are working outside the UK, not all of the symbols may conform to those you are used to working with.
For a set of stamps that use US proofreading marks, take a look at KOK Edit's excellent Copyeditors' Knowledge Base – scroll down to 'PDF'.
Importing customized stamps
For installation instructions, and some useful tips, see my article Installation Instructions for Proofreading Stamps.
Periodically, I create new or modified stamps to deal with an amendment that's cropping up frequently in a job I'm working on. I'll place these additions in the Stamps archive located on the blog sidebar. Drop by now and then to see if there's anything new that's of use to you. I'll name the post with a description of the stamp and I'll include a picture and downloadable file in case you want to add it.
Which PDF editor do you use?
Do you use customized stamps in PDF editors/readers other than Acrobat and PDF-XChange? Please let us know in the Comments section so that others can see which software is compatible.
Louise Harnby is a fiction copyeditor and proofreader. She curates The Proofreader's Parlour and is the author of several books on business planning and marketing for editors and proofreaders.
Visit her business website at Louise Harnby | Proofreader & Copyeditor, say hello on Twitter at @LouiseHarnby, or connect via Facebook and LinkedIn.
If you're an author, take a look at Louise’s Writing Library and access her latest self-publishing resources, all of which are free and available instantly.
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