Delete Blank Pages in Acrobat 9

Happy Thanksgiving; hope you had a great day.

Suppose you’ve just published a book for a client, and now the client needs a low-res online version. Every chapter in the book had to start on a right-hand page (or “recto”), so some pages in the book were left blank to accommodate this detail. That’s fine for printing, but you don’t want blank pages in an online version.

After cropping out the printer’s marks and optimizing the PDF to make it web-ready, what you might normally do is use the pages panel to find the blank pages, and delete each one. There’s an easier way, however, using Acrobat. Go to Advanced…→Preflight to bring up the Preflight panel. Click on the Single Fix-Ups button, then click on Pages, and finally, select “Remove Empty Pages”. Then click the “Fix” button in the lower right hand corner of the dialog.

There is one caveat. Say you forgot to include blank pages when you created the printer PDF, so you created a blank page in Acrobat, and inserted that into the PDF several times. In this case, “Remove Empty Pages” doesn’t work, because Acrobat blank pages are not really empty. (I petitioned the good folks at Acrobat Users Community and you can find that discussion here.) They have what are called “XObjects”. For a good description of XObjects in PDFs, the blog Prepressure has a good overview.

Before you can use “Remove Empty Pages,” you’ll need to go to your Contents panel: View→Navigation Panels→Content. When the dialog opens, select the blank page. You should see two items listed: Annotations and XObjects: Form. Select XObjects: Form, and right-click or control-click to bring up the contextual menu. Then select “Delete”.

View→Navigation Panesl→Content

Right click or control-click to bring up this menu.

Now you can use “Remove Empty Pages” to delete the blank page. You might get a short error warning, but the end effect is that the page is gone.

See ya soon.

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