Acrobat Automation—Flatten Annotations

Earlier this week, I was provided multiple PDFs with text markups that did not appear in InDesign.


In my article PDF Markups Missing When Placed Into InDesign, we discussed the source of this type of issue.


In my article Acrobat Automated!, we discussed Acrobat Droplets and I provided an example to embed missing fonts.

In short, annotations are stored on a separate layer from the main document structure. As mentioned in PDF Markups Missing When Placed Into InDesign, one may quickly resort to exporting the PDF to JPEG. While this is one solution, it causes many potential problems.

The best solution is to move annotations and form field content into the main document structure. Adobe uses the term “Flatten Annotations and Form Fields.” Dont mistake this for flattening transparency or converting vector to raster (i.e., exporting to jpeg). This retains all the benefits of a vector document.

Let’s put both of these articles to good use and create an automated solution.


Following the instructions provided in Acrobat Automated!, type “flat” in the Preflight search box and select Flatten Annotations and Form Fields. Continue the process for creating the Droplet.

Now you can drag multiple PDFs on to the Droplet icon and sit back while Acrobat takes care of these problem files.


Additional Notes

Following the instructions in Acrobat Automated! will result in the droplet overwriting the existing document. If you have already placed these PDFs into InDesign, you can easily update the link to apply the changes.

I highly recommend that you make a backup copy of your documents before you apply any type of batch process.