The Bates stamp got its name from a turn-of-the-century inventor, Edwin G. Bates. He patented a handheld stamping machine in 1891 used to number documents for easy identification and retrieval.

Today, Bates’ numbering system is still in use, mainly in the field of law. But the tedious process of hand-stamping documents has largely disappeared. Most firms and court systems today prefer electronic numbering on PDFs. These electronic numbers are used in automation of document management via third-party software, as well as to display to users.


How Bates Numbers are applied today: A Brief Explainer

This tool is now an integrated feature of PDF software such as PDFelement. This software makes indexing documents simple through automation. It also empowers users to fully customize their Bates numbers. PDFelement allows you to rank pages with numerals or letters; a prefix and or a suffix. You can select numbering font, style, colour, rotation and arrangement. You’re then free to place the number wherever you like on the page. You can choose to affix a number to a single page or page range. You can also remove numbers.

Originally, a lawyer or paralegal might spend many hours Bates stamping stacks of legal paperwork. Today, much of that task is automated, giving you greater control over your Bates numbers and let you process large complex documents or a number of documents in minutes. That saves time and money, and frees paralegals to focus on more important work, such as legal research.

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Posted by Faisal Khan

Faisal connects market and document trends with PDF technology. ​ His focus is on growing our global market reach and impact so that we can make a meaningful difference for our business clients. Outside of work, he enjoys volunteering, wildlife photography, hiking, playing games, and travel.

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