Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bates Numbering in Adobe Acrobat Professional

Note: Today's Guest Author is Lori Robinett, President of the Mid-Missouri Paralegal Association. I subscribe to the association's blog on my Google Reader. Lori's also an aspiring author who blogs as Elle Robb. Check that out at She's even won some awards at the Ozark Creative Writer's Conference.

By Lori Robinett

Something that almost every paralegal will have to do at one time or another is Bates stamping. When I first heard that term, I thought it must be some very complicated way of numbering. In actuality, it is a fairly simple concept.

Bates numbering is numbering documents in a way that allows you to quickly find specific pages. For instance, if you have a document that has eleven exhibits, you would number the pages that make up those exhibits sequentially, not renumbering for each exhibit.

Bates numbering usually is 6 digits long, and in the past was done using an automatic numbering machine (I've got two Cosco stamps in my drawer right now!). With the stamp, it was a long, slow, tedious process. Thankfully, we now live in a world where technology can be harnessed to make our jobs so much easier!

To begin, scan your documents or combine your documents to create one PDF document.
  • Open your document and click on 'Advanced' on the menu bar.

  • Go down to 'Document Processing' and then you will see a list of options.
  • Choose 'Bates Numbering' and then 'Add'. That will take you to the Bates Numbering dialogue box.

  • Click on the button to 'Include all open PDF documents' and then select your file.

  • Click on Next, which takes you to the Add Header and Footer dialogue box.

  • Click into the Text box where you want the Bates Number to appear (we usually use the Right Footer Text Box).

  • Then click Insert Bates Number. There you can specify the # of digits, the start number, and any prefix or suffix you want (we usually use 6 digits, with whatever start # we need - in case this is a second batch of documents that start with the next # in the sequence - then we use a prefix of UM).

  • Click on OK to return to the Add Header and Footer dialogue box. Check the appearance in the preview screen to make sure it appears the way you want. You may have to change the font (towards the top of the dialogue box).

  • Then click OK and you're done!

******Lori Robinett received her B.S. degree from Central Missouri State University in 1990. She has taken numerous paralegal courses since taking her first job with a law firm in 1994, and has worked her way up from receptionist to legal secretary to legal assistant. After several years of working for private firms, she moved to a position as legal assistant with the Office of General Counsel with the University of Missouri in 2008. Lori is a member of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and is a member of the Paralegal Committee of the Missouri Bar, is currently serving as President of the Mid-Missouri Paralegal Association, and is editor of The Gavel, a regional paralegal newsletter. She is webmaster for and blogs (though not as regularly as she would like).


Tara said...

I will have to try out this feature the next time I have a document with multiple exhibits or inserts. Thanks!

Unknown said...

I have seen so many firms do it so many ways, from stamps to stickers, Adobe, Document Scanning and Capture Software, etc. PSIGEN has a really nice Bates toolset that will even shrink the page to make sure the stamp occurs in whitespace.

Document Scanning for Legal