Adobe Acrobat Pro: Working with Book Scans

Many times a PDF document is scanned from a book, placing two book pages onto a single page in the PDF document (example below). While this saves time in the scanning process, it can produce some difficulties for those accessing the document from a screen reader or using the read-aloud tools because the PDF reader doesn't know where the correct page order.

Example of a PDF page scanned from a book.

There is a way to split these two pages into single pages within the PDF. Know that there will be clean up to do after this is complete. The tools mentioned in this guide will help with the document cleanup.

The steps to convert a book-scanned document into a single-pages document is as follows:
  1. Click File > Print.
  2. Choose Adobe PDF as the printer.
  3. In the print dialogue:
    - Click Properties > Layout > Advanced...
    - From the Paper size drop-down select PostScript Custom page size.
    - Enter the desired height and width. In this case I used 11" for the width and 8.5" for the height.
    - Click OK.
    - Click OK.
    - Click OK.
  4. Click Poster under Paper Sizing & Handling.

    Tile scale was 100%. Tile only large pages was checked. At this point you should see a preview with the double page straddling two printed pages in the preview.

  5. Click Print.
Once this is complete you will need to go through and clean up the document, cropping out all the white space from around the pages, removing any blank pages running OCR, and optimizing the document. The tools mentioned in this guide will help with the document cleanup.


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