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Method for Bates Numbering a library of pdf documents

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The following explains how to Bates number a collection of pdf documents contained in a library of folders in Windows. See for a video explanation of the process.
Bates numbers, named after inventor Edwin G. Bates of New York City, are identifying numbers which are applied to a collection of documents. Bates numbers were historically applied using a mechanical stamp but now software is available to do it paperlessly. In the legal context Bates numbers are typically sequential numbers applied to an entire library of documents, with the last page number being the number of pages in the entire collection i.e. numbering does not restart at one for each new document in the set but runs continuously through the entire set and so allows reference to each page by its unique number.
While various Bates stamping software is available, the method explained here is for Adobe Acrobat Pro and for a library of solely pdf files in Windows. The process for importing the Bates numbers into Excel is also explained.
Step 1: Prepare the library and put the parent folder path on the clipboard
Although the process can accommodate non pdf files within the library to be Bates numbered, only pdf documents can be actually numbered and so typically a clean library of just pdf files is prepared before Bates numbering. To check for non pdf documents in the library, search for “NOT .pdf” (without the quotes) using the Windows search tool, and checking that only folder names, and no documents names, are displayed in the list of search results:
Image 1
Documents not in pdf format detected in such search should typically be converted to pdf before proceeding.
Once the library is prepared, copy the path of the parent folder to the clipboard by clicking in the address bar and then pressing Ctrl + C:
Step 2: Add the Bates numbers using Adobe Acrobat Pro
In Adobe Acrobat Pro go to Tools / Stamp / Bates Numbering / Add:
Then click Add Files / Add Folders, and paste the path from the clipboard into the “Folder” field of the “Browse for Folder” dialog box:
That should result in the list of files to be Bates numbered being displayed in the Bates Numbering dialog box; proceed by clicking the Output Options button at the bottom of that dialog box:
In the Output Options dialog window, check the box to “Create log file”, and make a mental note of the log file save location listed below that checkbox:
You can use the settings in the “File Naming” section in the middle of the Output Options dialog box shown above to modify the original file names if you wish. After adjusting the settings to your liking, click the “OK” button at the bottom right of the “Output Options” dialog box.
Back on the Bates Numbering dialog window, click “OK” and then specify the options for your Bates numbers. For example:
  1. Click in the “Right Header Text” field.
  2. Click “Insert Bates Number” to open the “Bates Numbering Options” dialog box.
  3. Leave the default as 6 digits, specify a Prefix, and press OK.
  4. Consider increasing the font size.
  5. Consider decreasing the margins.
After finalizing the settings, click OK to run the Bates numbering process, and check that the completion message confirms that all files were successfully Bates numbered:
Step 3: Importing the Bates numbers into Excel
It is often useful to have an Excel spreadsheet that lists the documents in the library, has links to open the documents, and lists the Bates start and end number for each document in the library.
The video at explains the process for creating a list of documents in Excel with links to open the documents. Briefly stated, it can be done as follows:
  1. Search for “.pdf” (without the quotes) in the Windows search tool to identify all of the pdf documents in the library of documents to be included in the list.
  2. Press Ctrl + A to highlight all of the hits revealed by the above search.
  3. With the cursor over any highlighted document, hold down Ctrl, right click, and then select “Copy as Path” from the right click menu to copy the paths of all selected files to the clipboard.
  4. Paste the paths into an Excel spreadsheet that is saved into the parent folder that contains the library of documents. 
  5. Using Find and Replace with nothing, remove the beginning part of the paths up to and including the slash after the name of the parent folder. The result will be a listing of the “relative paths” to the files i.e. the paths of the files relative the location of the spreadsheet.
  6. Make a duplicate copy of the column containing the relative path data and then prepare a list of linked documents as follows:
    1. Apply the =hyperlink(cell reference, “link text”) formula to one of the columns of relative path data to create hyperlinks to each of the documents.
    2. Use the “Text to columns” tool on the Data tab of the ribbon in Excel to split the other column of relative paths into columns of useful data i.e. folder, subfolder, file name, file date (the file date is easily extracted if the file naming convention YYYY-MM-DD_Description.pdf was strictly followed for all files in the library). 
Once you have your list of linked documents prepared you can import the Bates number data from the log file that was created during the Bates numbering process in Adobe Acrobat Pro:
  1. Go to the “Data” tab of the ribbon in Excel.
  2. Go to the “Get External Data” tab of the ribbon, and click on the “From Text” button.
  3. Select “All Files” from the file type list in the bottom right of the “Import Text File” dialog box. This is necessary to ensure that the “.log” file type will be displayed in the File Open browsing window.
  4. Browse to location specified for the log file to be saved during the Bates numbering process in Adobe Acrobat Pro, and select the log file (which will likely be named “Bates.log”).
  5. Click the “Open” button to import the file.
After clicking Open as described above a Text Import Wizard dialog window will be displayed. The appearance of the Text Import Wizard may vary depending on your version of Excel, but you should:
  1. Select the option to import “Delimited” data.
  2. Select “Tab” from the list of delimiters.
  3. Select a suitable location to import the data; typically to the right of the data already in the spreadsheet.
The imported Bates number data will have three columns: File Name, Start Bates Number, and Ends Bates Number.
The final step is to ensure the Bates numbers are on the correct rows i.e. that they match the file names and other data that was already in the spreadsheet before the Bates numbers were imported. To achieve this:
  1. Sort the three columns of newly imported Bates number data by the File Name column.
  2. Using Custom Sort (in order to sort by a column other than the left most column of the data set), sort the data that was pre-existing on the sheet by File Name.
After sorting the two data subsets the Bates numbers should line up with the other document data, and you can check that using the links.
You could now delete one of the File Name columns i.e. two of those are not required. As well, you may wish to move the Bates number columns further to the right where they will be more visible.