Question Details

Welcome to the Acrobat Answers site. You're on your way! It won't take you many more points to reach the next level: Participant. And as you accumulate more points, you're also building your reputation with the community and with

Why does Measure tool return wrong quantities?

I use the Measure by entering the noted scale on drawings. I have a drawing that returns the same, incorrect numbers no matter what scale is entered. Document properties note the page is the correct size and the document will print corrently. What would cause this?

Dan Timbol 1173 days ago

Voted Best Answer

<p>Congratulations! The Acrobat User Community selection team has approved your status as Expert in the Acrobat User Community. We appreciate all your past contributions and hope you will continue to support the community by answering questions and participating in the Acrobat Answers Q&A program as you've done in the past.</p>

<p>As an expert, you will get a badge to display on your profile with the level EXPERT next to your name and you have become eligible to be nominated to the Adobe Community Professional Program.</p>

<p>After reviewing the Adobe Community Professional Program information at, please let us know if you are interested.</p>

<p>Someone from the selection team will contact you soon regarding the community professional program. Keep up the good work!</p>


<p>The Acrobat User Community Team</p>

<p>**** Disclosure Requirements for Endorsements Received by Third Parties  ****</p>

<p>If you endorse or refer people to the Acrobat User Community in any venue,  it is our responsibility to ensure that you are aware of required compliance with the <a href="">FTC’s Guidelines</a>. Both you and Adobe can be held liable under federal law for making unsubstantiated claims and for not disclosing your relationship with Adobe. In particular:</p>

<li>Always disclose if you have received any type of incentive – free products, promotional items, travel, gifts, payment, and so on from Adobe. The disclosure must be on the same page as the endorsement.</li>
<li>Be truthful. Endorsements should not be misleading. Never make unsubstantiated or exaggerated claims about the benefits of Adobe products or programs. Any statements or endorsements about an Adobe product must be based on upon your actual experience.</li>

Thank you again for your support of Adobe and the Acrobat User Community</p>

I use AutoCAD a lot and it may be worth noting that most of the time the scale is manually entered so there is always an element of human error. Furthermore, there are plenty of other things that can go wrong such as an incorrect viewport scale and how the layout is scaled in relation to the paper when converting to PDF.

Presuming that everything is perfect and there are no error in the creation of the PDF you may need to check if an option is either on or off in Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat found via:

Edit > Preferences > Measuring (2D) > Use Scale and Units from Docuemnt (when present)

If changing your current setting still doesn't solve your problem then you can setup your own scale ratio:

The following features and settings are available in both Acrobat and the new Adobe Reader XI which is free.

To change your default page units:
This will enable millimeters to be displayed when measuring the page itself or displaying the paper size in the print options etc. We will set the scale ratio for the measuring tool later.

Ctrl + K > Units & Guide > Units
Set 'Page & Ruler Units:' choose 'milimeters' from the dropdown

To change the scale ratio and units:

View > Tools > Analyze
Left click on the 'Measuring Tool'
BEFORE using the tool itself i.e. before you start measuring:
Right click > Change Scale Ratio (top of the list)

Change the settings here but note that the Acrobat/Reader will not remember your changes to the Scale Units but your other preferences with be saved.


If your drawing is say 1: 1000 that would be the same a setting 1mm = 1000mm
But maybe you want to display metres which in that case you would change it to say 1mm = 1m. Note that you can choose an appropriate unit from the last dropdown.

Or if no scale is present but you know the real world dimensions between two points then you could measure between the known points on the drawing; making sure you are set at 1:1 first and then choosing an appropriate setting.

i.e. a wall being 10mm when measured in the PDF but is actually 10m in real worl units, then you would change it to say 10mm = 10m

By Stephen Phillips answered 1173 days ago  |   Comments (0)  |  New Comment


  |   Report
Was this answer helpful?  

Please specify a reason:

Try the next version of

Free trial

Get started with the next version of Acrobat.

Learn what's new >

Topic Experts

1. Karl Heinz Kremer 6250
2. Gilad D (try67) 4450
3. George Kaiser 2560
4. Lori Kassuba 1960
5. Dimitri Munkirs 1910
6. Thom Parker 1830
7. David Austin 1430
See more »

Last 30 Days