What is Bates Numbering and How to Use in PDFs?

Tue. 07 Dec. 202159323
Do you need to know what is Bates Numbering? If you need to apply it to PDFs, check out our guide!
What is Bates Numbering and How to Use in PDFs?

What is Bates Numbering and How to Use in PDFs

Legal professionals, business moguls, and medical experts handle vast collections of PDFs daily. As a result, the ability to efficiently identify and index these documents is paramount. Enter the Bates numbering system, an innovative solution for seamless document processing.

Whether you're a newbie or an expert in your field, understanding Bates numbering will significantly simplify your document management tasks.


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Mastering Bates Numbering can be quite a complicated process, which is why you need a PDF tool that is built for handling complex needs. 

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What is Bates Numbering?

Want to know more about the genius process behind one of our most important numbering systems? We've got some insightful context for you in this section. 


In the late 1800s, Edwin G. Bates, an innovator from New York City, conceived an ingenious device known as the Bates Stamper or Bates Numbering Machine. The Bates Manufacturing Company received numerous patents for this invention between 1891 and 1901.

Subsequently, Bates formed the Bates Numbering Machine Company, which further advanced the field of document organization methods. The primary objective was to enhance the document review tool's efficacy and ease the numbering process.


Bates Numbering, sometimes referred to as Bates Stamping, is a unique indexing technique prevalent among law firms, businesses, and medical practices. This system facilitates easy retrieval of documents by appending specific numbers, dates, or timestamps to PDF file pages.

Bates Numbers, in essence, function as unique identifiers, encapsulating the relationship between pages in a document collection. Typically, these numbers are embedded in the headers or footers of a PDF to ensure structured organization.

How to Use Bates Numbering in PDFs

Understanding the application of Bates Numbers is imperative, especially for those in the legal, business, and medical fields. Here's a step-by-step guide:

1. First, open your document in PDF Reader Pro 

Select "More" > "Bates Numbers" > "Add". Then tap Tools on the main menu -> Bates Numbers; and select ‘Apply’ to customize the serial numbers.


2. Or tap Editor Editoron the toolbar -> Bates Numbers Bates Numbers  

Add an unique prefix or suffix which can be a set of number, case number, firm name or date.



3. Batch add Bates Numbers is supported when selecting Bates Numbers


How to Remove Bates Numbers from PDFs

1. Open the file in PDF Reader Pro.

2. Click Tools/Editor.

3. Select Bates Numbers.

4. Click ‘Remove/Batch remove Bates Numbers’.

5. Select your file and click ‘Remove Bates Numbers’.



Main Points to Consider:

  1. Ensure you have the decryption password for password-protected files before appending Bates Numbers.
  2. For folders with mixed file types, only the PDFs will undergo the Bates Numbering process.
  3. Enhance Bates identifiers' functionality by adding alphanumeric prefixes or suffixes.


Bates Numbering Best Practices

To harness the full potential of Bates Numbering and ensure that your documents are organized efficiently, consider the following best practices:

  1. Maintain Consistency: Once you choose a specific numbering format or sequence, ensure it remains consistent across all your documents. Consistency aids in easy document retrieval and reduces confusion in extensive document collections.

  2. Backup Before Stamping: It's paramount to back up all original PDF files before embarking on Bates Stamping. This ensures that if errors or mishaps occur during the Bates Numbering process, your original documents remain intact and retrievable.

  3. Descriptive Prefixes: Opt for clear, descriptive prefixes that quickly identify the document class. For example, using "MED" for medical records, "LGL" for legal documents, or "FIN" for financial statements can help streamline the document review process.

  4. Avoid Overlapping Sequences: If you're working on multiple document batches, ensure that the Bates Numbers don't overlap between separate PDF documents. This prevents any confusion when referencing documents.

  5. Utilize a Logical Starting Point: Start your Bates Numbers from a logical point, like '0001' instead of arbitrary numbers. This makes for an organized sequence, aiding in future document retrieval.

  6. Apply Numbering to All Pages: Ensure that every individual document within your collection has a Bates Number. Even if some pages seem inconsequential, having a complete record ensures thoroughness and might be beneficial in cases of legal scrutiny.

  7. Consistency in Application: Whether you're working on a 365-page document or everyday document content, adhere to a uniform numbering sequence. For instance, consecutive numbering and sequential numbering, informed by reliable sources, ensure clarity across various business fields.
  8. Prioritize Backups: Before applying Bates stamps or accessing a dialog box for any digital reference, ensure you have safeguarded original copies. This is essential when dealing with medical records, complex documents, or document properties.
  9. Clarity in Prefixes: Use descriptive initiators that not only provide an insight into the document class but also align with the field of law or native production standards. For instance, "MED" could be a prefix for medical records, ensuring quick identification.
  10. Avoid Number Duplication: It's essential that Bates Numbers for additional documents or those in a batch of documents don't overlap, especially when dealing with disclosures of documents or document record fields.
  11. Start with Intuition: Initiate Bates Numbers from a logical point, e.g., '0001', making it easier for document managers or those using a document management platform to identify the document's nature at a glance.
  12. Uniform TaggingEvery document, from business documents to a collection of documents, should be tagged with a Bates Number. This facilitates easier retrieval on platforms like Document Services or when a document request is made.


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Bates Numbering FAQ

  1. Who was the genius behind Bates Numbering?
    Edwin Granville Bates invented Bates Numbering in the late 19th century, revolutionizing document organization.

  2. Is it possible to remove Bates Numbers after applying them?
    Yes, tools like PDF Reader Pro provide features to easily remove Bates Numbers from a PDF. However, always back up the original document before making any changes.

  3. Is Bates Numbering exclusively used in legal circles?
    No. While Bates Numbering is popular among law firms due to the vast amounts of legal documents processed, it's also employed in other sectors such as medicine, finance, and general business for efficient document management.

  4. Can I use alphanumeric sequences in Bates Numbering?
    Absolutely! Many professionals use a combination of letters and numbers to provide additional context about the type of document, especially when managing diverse document sets.

  5. Do I need specialized software for Bates Numbering?
    While there are specific software tools designed for Bates Numbering, general document processing software like PDF Reader Pro and Adobe Acrobat also provide Bates Numbering features.

  6. How do Bates Numbers benefit large-scale document projects?
    Bates Numbers simplify document management, especially in large collections. They allow for easy referencing, retrieval, and organization. In legal or official contexts, they can provide a clear sequence of evidence or document presentation.

By adhering to the best practices and understanding the nuances of Bates Numbering, professionals can streamline their document management processes and ensure efficient, error-free results.

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