There are loads of nifty features scattered throughout the electronic document tool-chest that is Adobe Acrobat.
Even though I don’t have much occasion to use it, one of my favorite such gems is the Measuring Tool. It’s come in handy on several occasions for the very simple reason that I can quickly and easily measure any map, drawing or diagram, no matter the format. Just convert to PDF, establish the scale, and trace. That’s it.
Maybe you are planning a hike, or buying a condo. Perhaps you are machining a part, or sketching layouts for a floor-plan. In any of these tasks (and plenty others), you might need to quickly and effectively measure objects and distances as represented in a document. Acrobat can do that!
The Measuring Tools may be found under the Tools menu in Acrobat Standard or Professional. Choose from Distance, Perimeter or Area measurement.
Simply enter the scale ratio into the Measure dialog. Select the correct units of measurement and start tracing the object of interest to generate perimeter and area numbers.
On vector graphics, the tool can “snap” to various points in the artwork itself for utterly precise measurements automagically. On raster (bitmap) images such as the map example used here, simply trace right over the area of interest.
When a measurement is complete, the Tool can leave a highlighted annotation on the page displaying the measurement and any other notes you’d like to include. Markup lots of objects, and the tool will export the values to Excel.
Of course, this tool doesn’t come close to the sophisticated measuring systems available in CAD software. For the vast majority of us, however, it doesn’t need to, and we’d never pay that money and go through the brain-damage anyhow. If you can print it or scan it, you can measure it pretty darn well with Acrobat. Some people would pay a lot for this feature alone.
And that’s just one of the toolkits in the Acrobat workshop! More later.
by Duff Johnson