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How to Measure PDF

Apr 12 2024

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Discover how to include measurements for distance, perimeters, and areas directly onto your PDF page online. Get detailed steps on how to use Xodo to add accurate and customized measurement details on PDF drawings, blueprints, or designs.

Measuring PDFs isn’t a common PDF task you normally come across, but the need for it can span across sectors – architecture, engineering, design, and construction, just to name a few.

These industries deal with highly technical PDF drawings containing detailed data. So it can seem complicated when collaborating on PDFs that need measurement data included. But it doesn’t have to be.

If you’re looking for a user-friendly PDF measuring tool, look no further. You can measure PDF documents online with Xodo. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through Xodo’s measuring tools, showing you how to:

  • Use Xodo’s PDF measurement tools
  • Customize your measurement options
  • Add annotations to the measurements you insert

Let’s begin.

How to measure PDF documents

You can measure PDF drawings digitally and online with Xodo, which means you don’t have to install complex CAD applications or separate PDF tools.

Measuring can be done on many objects in a PDF and for many reasons. Xodo’s measuring tools, for instance, can be applied and be useful in several scenarios. Some include:

  • Calculating the size of a room or the square footage
  • Adding an appropriate scale to diagrams and floorplans
  • Analyzing architectural plans and survey data
  • Planning out a product design for manufacturing

How to measure a PDF online

Follow the steps below to start setting up your PDF:

1. Go to Xodo’s online PDF Editor tool.

2. Upload your PDF.

3. In the drop-down menu on the toolbar, select Measure. Then use any of the measuring tools that appear on the toolbar: Distance, Arc Measurement, Perimeter, Area, Ellipse Area, Rectangular Area, and Count Measurement.

Measuring PDF online

How to measure distance and length

The Distance tool is the most common tool used to measure distance in PDF between two points on the page. Depending on the scale, this tool can be used to measure length, as well.

To get started, follow these steps:

1. Click on the Distance tool (the Ruler icon).

2. Then click on your measuring start point on your PDF page and drag the mouse to your end point.

At this point, you can also adjust the caption and leader lines to better insert your measurements against the existing PDF drawing.

To do so, activate the selection tool in the interface and click on the measurement. Then click on the blue dotted handle attached to the measurement caption and then drag it outside of the leader lines to place it to the side.

You can also click and drag that same handle up and down or side to side to move the lead lines away from covering important information.

Moving measurement caption and leader lines

How to measure arc length

PDFs with more complex drawings that involve curves, arches, or circular objects can also be measured directly on the page with the Arc measuring tool.

1. Click on the Arc Measurement tool.

2. To measure a curved line, click on the starting point of your curve, then click on a midpoint, and lastly, click the endpoint along the desired arc’s length.

You’ll then be able to adjust the arc a bit further if needed by scaling and resizing the curve by clicking and dragging on the blue handles.

Measuring arc lines on PDF

How to measure a perimeter

When you need to measure the length around a region or an enclosed area, use the Perimeter tool. You can start measuring a perimeter by following the steps below:

1. Click on the Perimeter tool.

2. Click on your starting point and drag your mouse to the end point of one side of your perimeter. Click to set the end point.

2. Then add another side of your perimeter by moving from your last end point to your new end point. Click to set the end point.

3. Repeat the process for every side until your perimeter is fully defined.

4. Double-click to tie off the perimeter.

Measuring the perimeter on PDF

How to measure areas

Xodo is also flexible enough to let you measure area in PDF. Xodo has three tools for measuring different shapes of areas. Use the one that best suits your needs in setting and defining the area you wish to measure.

Measuring Area:

1. Click on the Area tool on the toolbar.

2. Then click on the page to specify the starting point of your area. Move your mouse to start drawing out the region, clicking to set your anchor points as many times as needed.

3. To close the defined area, simply double click from where your cursor is, or go back to the starting point and on the square target icon.

Measuring area on PDF

Just as you did with the distance measuring tool, you can move the measurement caption to avoid covering any information.

Activate the selection tool and click on the area measurement. Then click and drag the blue dot handle attached to the caption anywhere within the blue frame surrounding the area.

Measuring Ellipse Areas:

1. Click on the Ellipse Area tool.

2. Click and drag to size and scale your circle as needed.

3. Simply let go of the mouse button to tie off your ellipse area.

You can move the measurement caption for ellipse areas, as well. Using the Selection tool, activate the circular measurement, and then click and drag the handle to move the caption around inside the blue editing frame. 

Measuring Rectangular Areas:

1. Click on the Rectangular Area tool.

2. Click and drag to create a rectangle around the area you wish to measure. Then simply let go of the mouse button to set and anchor the rectangle.

You can move the measurement caption to avoid covering any information using the same steps above.

How to count measurements

When dealing with PDF drawings, you can automatically count and display the number of measurements in your PDF. You can use Xodo’s Count Measurement tool to do this. Here’s how:

1.Click on the Count Measurement tool.

2. Click on the page where needed to place the count measurement checkmark.

3. To view the measurement count, activate the Selection tool and click on one of the checkmarks. Xodo will display an overlay with the Count measurement stats.

How to set measuring tool options

Now that you have the basics on how to insert your measurements on the page, here’s a closer look at the customization options you have for scaling and measuring your objects.

Customize measurement line appearance

To start, you can easily customize the appearance of your measurement lines.

Click on a measurement tool, and depending on the tool, you’ll get some or all of the following options:

  • Stroke: Create thinner or thicker lines to improve visibility of your measurements.
  • Opacity: Adjust the opacity to make measurement lines either translucent or opaque.
  • Colour: Select a specific colour for your measurements.
  • Style: Customize the formatting style for the beginning, middle, and end of your line segments.
Customizing measurements in PDF

With each measurement tool, you can save up to 4 settings so you can toggle between each group of settings for your different needs.

In addition, you can simulate how you work with CAD applications while in Xodo by activating the snapping option.

Checking on the Enable snapping for measurement tools option, you’ll see the below shapes as you create your line measurements:

  • A square: Indicates an endline.
  • A circle: Indicates a point on a line.
  • A triangle: Indicates the middle point of a line.
  • An “X”: Indicates an intersection between two lines.

Customize scale measurements

When you measure an object, you’ll see the displayed overlay of the object’s measurement card. The information in this box is determined by the scaling settings you customize.

Here’s a look at how to define your measurements accurately.

1. Select a tool and the current scale will show in the overlay.

2. Click on the drop-down menu. The existing scales will be displayed with the current scale being used highlighted in blue.

3. You’ll have several options:

  • Select a scale to use from the list.
  • Create a new scale. To do this, click on the Add New Scale button and set your new units and measurement values. Click on Calibrate. When prompted, select two points on the page to seta dimensional reference. Once you set those two points, click on Apply.
  • Select a Preset scale (up to 1:1000).
  • Customize the measurement precision in either decimal (up to 0.0001) or fractional units (up to 1/64)

4. Once you’ve set the details of your scale, click on Create.

Customizing PDF measuring tool scale online

Edit measurement units and scaling

If you’ve set measurements and need to adjust or make revisions, you can easily edit your measurements.

1. Click on the object to activate its measurement card.

2. Click on the Scale drop-down menu.

3. Select another scale preset, create a new scale, select a preset, adjust your precision values, as covered above.

How to add annotations to your measurements

Because you're measuring complex and highly detailed PDF drawings, Xodo lets you add comments and notes to your inserted measurements as you would with an annotated PDF.

Once you’ve inserted your measurements, follow these steps:

1. Click on the Comments icon in the upper right-hand corner of the interface.

2. Click on the object you wish to add a note to.

3. In the expanded side panel, add your note to the measurement in the field provided. You can also edit measurements by clicking on the 3 horizontal dots and selecting Edit, modifying your values, and clicking on Save.

Start measuring complex PDFs with confidence!

You’re now all set to measure PDF online using Xodo and are able to not only customize and set your measurements, but add annotations to them, as well.

The result? A good set of skills - and tools - to get you started! With over 30 tools for editing text, converting to other formats, or signing PDF forms, Xodo is powerful enough for any complex PDFs that come your way!

Explore Xodo's Tools Today!
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Reena Cruz

PDF Productivity Expert

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