How to Add and Remove Bates Numbering on a PDF


So, you are dealing with a massive stack of PDF documents and wondering how to identify them in relation to each other. Fortunately, the Bates numbering system allows you to do just that!

Although many people find them intimidating, there's no need to worry because adding Bates numbering to your PDF documents is easier than you might think!

In this blog post, we'll go over how to add Bates numbering and remove it from an existing document.


What Is Bates Numbering?

Bates numbering, also called Bates stamping, is the standard way to add numbers or letters to identify a document. If you are looking for a way to index your legal documents and label them for easy retrieval, this numbering system is one you should consider.

Bates numbering assigns unique numbers to all the pages within your document. The numbers then act as unique identifiers of the various pages, and describe the relationship between those. You should always place Bates identifiers as headers or footers in your document.

How to Add Bates Numbers to a PDF

The key to adding Bates numbering to your files is to remember that. Bates numbering system works on PDF files. This means that you should either create your files in PDF format or in a format you can easily convert into PDF.


To add Bates numbers to your PDF, you'll first need to click on Tools; this will open a secondary toolbar.

Tools options, create & edit

Once you've opened the secondary toolbar, click on Edit PDF.

Edit PDF window with editing tools and select a file button

On the Edit PDF toolset, click on More, then on Bates numbering, and select Add.

Bates numbering, add or remove options

After completing the previously mentioned steps, a Bates numbering dialog box will appear. Here, you'll need to choose the Add files option.

Bates numbering add files dialog box

Click on Add Files > Add Files again.

Bates numbering, add files, add folders options

On the next screen, you can select your file of choice. Pick this before progressing to the following steps.

Add files dialog box

You'll need to delegate a folder where your saved files should go. Do this by clicking on Output Options. Here, select your preferred settings and tap OK to save your options.

Output options dialog box

On the following screen, click on the Header and Footer dialog box to position your cursor on the preferred location.


Add Header and Footer dialog box

Select the Insert Bates Number option. The option will prompt you to fill in the following fields:

  • Number Of Digits: Key in the number of digits that make up your Bates number.
  • Start Number: This is the number that is assigned to the very first page on your list.
  • Prefix: Fill in the text or characters you want to add before your Bates number.
  • The Suffix: Fill in the characters you intend to appear after your Bates number.

Click OK to insert the Bates number to your file. You can further edit the Bates number and how it appears at this point, too.

Header and footer preview dialog box

How to Add Bates Numbers to PDFs in a Folder

To add Bates numbers to PDFs in a folder, you'll first need to click on the Tools option. This will lead to a secondary toolbar.

Tools options, create & edit

On the secondary toolbar, select Edit PDF.


Edit PDF window with editing tools and select a file button

An Edit PDF toolset will appear once you've completed the previous step. When it does, go to More, and then to the Bates Numbering option. Click on Add.

Bates numbering, add or remove options

A Bates Numbering dialog box will appear on your screen. Select the Add Folder option.

Bates numbering, add files, add folders options

When the list of folders appears on your screen, select your folder of choice.

Add files dialog box

Choose the intended folder where the saved files should go by clicking on Output Options. Select the best settings, then click on OK to save your settings.

Output options dialog box

From here, follow the same final three steps that we included in the single PDF process of Bates Numbering.

Remember that this process will only add Bates numbering to the documents that are already in PDF form. This process will not include any other document format into the Bates Numbering Series.


Adding Bates Numbers to Existing File Names

If you want to quickly identify your files using the Bates system, you could do this by adding a Prefix or Suffix to the file name.

Firstly, open the intended PDF in the Acrobat software.

Opened PDF file

In the next screen, click on Tools.

Tools options, create & edit

Go to the Edit PDF option when you've progressed through the previous screen.

Edit PDF window with editing tools and select a file button

Clicking the Edit PDF option will open an Edit PDF toolbar. There, click on More, then on Bates Numbering, and finally on Add.

Bates numbering, add or remove options

On the following screen, select the Output Options on the Bates Numbering dialog box.

Bates numbering add files dialog box with output options button

Once you've completed the above, click on Add to original file names.

Output options dialog box add to original file names

Enter %BATES_NUMBER_KEY% in the fields as you prefer (i.e., the Insert Before or the Insert After).

Output options dialog box insert before or after

Click on OK to implement the changes to your files.


Output options dialog box OK and cancel buttons

Editing Your Bates Numbers

Once you have inserted the Bates Numbering into your file, you can easily edit and manipulate the numbering system as you desire.

Ordering the Bates Numbers

For instance, you can change the order of assignments within your Bates numbers. To do this, click on the particular file you want to move and select the Move Up or Move Down option. You could also drag the file to the intended location.

Adding More Files to Your Bates Numbering Series

One essential step in adding files to an already numbered document is to remember the last Bates number you applied in your series. This way, your numbering will continue from where you left off.

Follow the general procedure for adding the Bates numbering as shown above. After adding the relevant files into your document, select the Insert Bates Number option.


Headers and footer dialog box with insert bates number option

You need to check the last number on the already numbered documents. On Start Number, insert the number that follows the last number (e.g. if 009 was the last number, the start number should be 010).

Bates numbering options dialog box

You can then add the Suffix or Prefix based on your previously inserted Bates identifiers. Ensure that all the components of your identifier match your overall Bates Series identifiers.

Bates numbering options dialog box prefix and suffix

Finetune your settings to include all your preferences and click OK to effect the changes.

Appearance options and preview

Finding Pages Within Your Bates-Numbered PDFs

If you need to locate certain Bates-numbered pages and access them, you do not have to do it manually. You can use an automated method that allows you to carry out an advanced search. To start looking for your file quicker, select the Edit option.


Edit drop down menu with options

Click on Advanced Search. This will prompt a field that will allow you to key in any part of your Bates number.

Advanced search panel

For specific pages, type the exact number. This will help you quickly find your intended page. Type the prefixes or suffixes if you are after a particular series of pages within your PDF files.

Advanced search panel keyword search

In the Where Would You Like to Search category, choose All PDF Documents In.

Advanced search panel location search option

Click on Browse For Location. Here, specify the location you would like to browse for your pages.

Choose folder to search window

After completing the above, click on Search.

 Click on Search

How to Remove Bates Numbers From a PDF File

Once you decide to remove the Bates numbering from your documents, all you have to do is follow a simple process that seamlessly removes the Bates identifiers from each of the pages in your document.


First, find and open the intended PDF document with the Bates identifiers.

Find and open the intended PDF document with the Bates identifiers.

After doing the above, click on Tools and then on Edit PDF.

Tools options, create & edit

The secondary toolbar will appear in the next window. Here, click on More—then on Bates Numbering.

Bates numbering, add or remove options

Once you've passed through to the next part, click on Remove.

Dropdown menu from edit more option, bates numbering remove option

Bates Numbering PDFs: Key Points to Note

Here are some very essential points to note as you work with your Bates Numbering system.

  • In case you select a folder containing diverse file formats, only the PDF files in your folder will be added.
  • You may also need to enter your password to any of the password-protected files within the folder. Depending on the number of pages and your Bates numbering system, the prompt to enter your password may appear a number of times.
  • You can also include alphanumeric characters in your Bates identifiers. Adding alphanumeric prefixes and suffixes boosts the functionality of your Bates identifiers, making them easily accessible.

What You Need for Bates Numbering PDFs

To easily add Bates numbering to your PDFs, you must have Adobe Acrobat software. Other versions, such as the Acrobat DC Pro, allow you to automate your Bates numbering series. This makes it easier to edit your Bates numbers and keep track of them.


Acrobat also has plenty of shortcuts to help you navigate your PDF. With the latest update, you do not have to worry much about your Bates Numbering process.

Bates Numbering Is Best for Your PDFs

Dealing with PDFs can leave you frustrated. Unlike your regular Word documents, they require detailed processes to edit and manipulate. Luckily, you can do all the editing using advanced PDF software. You can even access your PDF editor on the web! So next time, no need to fret over your Bates numbering system- we’ve shown you how easy it can be.


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