Measure pdf

@Majik Keith, hope you don’t mind me asking this non guitar question directly but you always seem very knowledgeable on computers.

I have a pdf drawing, on my computer, drawn to a given scale. There isn’t a reference dimension on it so I can’t devise my own scale tool. Is there any free software I can use to set the known scale and measure on the drawing?

Not worth buying anything as this is a very unusual thing that I need. Probably never happen again. In truth, 100% accuracy isn’t needed. Just a rough guesstimate.

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I’m not sure of something specific, but it should be possible to import the PDF into a drawing tool and use that with a grid or other measurement.

The obvious approach here would be a CAD system, such as QCAD but this may be overkill for your needs, as CAD tools have quite a learning curve.

The other option could be Inkscape, which I think is a bit easier to use than a full CAD app.

You may be able to resize the imported diagram against a grid or measuring tool as a start.



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I have used a program called Sweet Home 3D to figure out how much furniture I can fit in my apartment and IIRC I imported a pdf of the floor plan and was able to input the scale length and then make measurements, etc.

A guitar is not an apartment, but I think it might work for what you want to do. It’s free and runs on different platforms. At least it was a few years ago when I last used it.

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Thank you both for your input. I’ll look at the options. I actually do have access to a high end cad package but it only runs on windows and I don’t currently have that option.

If you try QCAD, you.may need to use something else to convert the PDF to DWG or similar. It seems QCAD can’t import PDF directly.

I would try Inkscape first, as you can then use that as a convertor if it isn’t suitable itself.



I had done this to replicate a pickguard for a old Kalamazoo bass.
first I traced the old one… then scanned it and made a pdf.
Then I went online and found a PDF to DWG converter. Had to retrace it in 2D cad because it doesn’t create a continues line. Then put it in cam software and it spits out a cnc gcode file I can run on the cnc router table and cut out an exact copy.


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Great info but to be honest all I need is a guesstimate of the dimensions of a rectangular plot of land.

If you know the scale you should be able to measure it and get a guestimate I would think. Like 1 CM = 1 Meter… If ya don’t know the scale then I’m not sure how that would work.


If you open it up on adobe reader. Select more tools. Select measure. If you select a starting point to measure then right click you can change the scale ratio. So if you know something is 1m and adobe measures it as 0.5m you can change the scale ratio.

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I know the drawing is at a scale of 1:200 but I don’t have a full-size copy to measure. If there was a reference dimension on the drawing I could develop my own scale but there isn’t. I might end up getting a full size print of the are of interest

This works great. Good to know, thanks!

Good info, which I knew from looking it up this morning. I don’t have any adobe software and think it’s a paid option?

Hi John, the function is available on the free downloadable adobe acrobat pdf reader. It’s not a paid option.

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If there’s a way that I don’t have to post my email in the forum, I own Adobe Illustrator. I would probably be able to open the file and place a ruler next to the image.
Let me know if that would help.

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I’ll look at that.

I’ll see how I get on with the free version @Socio mentioned to begin with.

Can you upload the file here?

Let me see if I get this right.
You have a pdf that has a sketch of a rectangular (plot of land).

You know the scale is 1:200.

You want to calculate the actual dimensions. Right?

I think you’d need know one more piece of data. Like a characteristic dimension, a reference length in that drawing.
Otherwise, adobe would measure say, 20cm… Scaled by 200, 4000cm, or 4m… And I’m guessing that’s a tiny plot of land, perhaps just enough to plant an olive tree! :herb::grin:

Isn’t there any way to get a reference length?

I often work like that, I get ship drawings that I don’t know the scale even but I know the length or the breadth of the ship so I measure in adobe and do the scaling. It works. But you need to know something more. That’s what I think at least.

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Confidentially issue.

I’d say I want to measure.

As I said at the outset, the problem is that there isn’t a ref dimension. If there was I’d print it out and measure with the reference.

My ‘ship’ drawing is a variation of yours: I don’t know the size of the ship (that’s what I want to know) but do know the scale. I need to load the drawing into a software mentioned in this thread, set the scale to 1:200 and use the measuring tool. I know this’ll work in Catia, the cad package I used at work but I’m now retired. I expect it to work with one of the suggestions made.
I could have the drawing printed full size then use a rule to measure.