I have more than 1000 PDF files. Each file contains 3-4 pages. I need to change header and footer on the first and last page of each file.

Is there a way to automate this process so I can do them all at once?


Best is not defined. I would use one of InDesign, GhostScript, Acrobat DC, Distiller, or python for this. However, I would definitely not even consider Photoshop for this its just the wrong tool for the job.

Approach would depends on what tool I would use, and whether or not I need to create archival versions if the PDF files*. First i would see if text touch up tool of Acrobat DC could do it for me. If not i would prepare my headers in a appropriate software like InDesign or Illustrator. Then i would write a script (javascript, postscript or python depending on what tools i have at my disposal) to chop the pages up and merge header and footer. Then depending on what app i am using i would either export all pages or just export the front/back pages as separate files and merge the middles together with the original files.

I would just prefer to regenerate the PDF files form originals. But exact steps depend on what app i have at my disposal, so i can not say for sure exact steps as it depends on nature of things I am to do. Hire somebody to who has done this before to do it for you, it is cheaper and faster.

* In other words can i strip the first and last page or do i need to replace them by adding replacing pages so that the original first page stays intact but inaccessible unless you view all versions


It depends on the PDF files. In some cases, there isn't an easy way to automate detecting the header/footer, and then modifying it.

For that reason, the best way to solve this is to modify the source file and/or process generating the files, and then re-generate the PDFs. How you'd do that would depend on the source files.

If that is not possible, you have (depending on your header/footer) have some luck using the Action Wizard in Adobe Acrobat Pro. You can perform an action on a directory of PDF files to remove and insert a new header/footer.

Other than Acrobat, I'm not aware of any other software that could easily (meaning without scripting) automate directly modifying the PDF file.

  • Acrobat pro is now acrobat dc and to swap header you probably need to script in acrobat too. – joojaa Oct 25 '16 at 18:44

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