Tips on how to use Bates Numbering in PDFs.

What is Bates Numbering for a PDF? Get tips on how to automatically index pages fast.

Bates Numbering (or Bates Stamping) assigns unique identifiers to each page in a collection of documents. It’s a way to index document contents so they’re easier to find later. It’s most commonly used by government agencies and by law firms and medical practices, where sets of documents can have up to thousands of pages each.

Clerks and other document managers used to have to apply Bates Numbers by hand — a tedious and time-consuming process. But now it’s a digital procedure that’s easily automated. Here’s a rundown of how Bates Numbers work, and a step-by-step on how to apply them digitally in a PDF.

How Bates Numbering works.

When you apply Bates Numbering, you assign each page its own number, or a combination of numbers and letters. Sometimes Bates Numbers are arbitrary. But they usually incorporate some combination of elements such as:

And Bates Numbers typically have a prefix or suffix. For example, a paralegal might label the first page of Mr. Smith’s case file with 0001/SMI. The first part of the series tracks the page number, while the second element remains constant and represents the client’s last name.

Add Bates Numbers to a PDF.

To index a PDF using Bates Numbers, all you need is the digital file and a PDF tool like Adobe Acrobat DC. Then follow these steps to automatically add Bates Numbers to each page in the document set:

  1. Open the file.
  2. Click Tools.
  3. Select Edit PDF.
  4. Choose More.
  5. Click Bates Numbering and Add.
  6. Select Output Options to customize the serial numbers.
  7. Click OK.

This applies Bates Numbering to each page in your PDF. Now you can organize and find documents on the fly. Plus, as you add pages or rearrange the document, the Bates Numbers update automatically for you.

Explore everything you can do with Acrobat DC to keep your PDFs organized.