How do I Measure a Floor Plan in a PDF Format?

By Jose Leiva

Updated September 15, 2017

A floor plan is a drawing of a building's layout.
i house plan image by Jon Le-Bon from

A Portable Document Format (PDF) file can be read in any computer, without any regard to the computer’s platform, so long as a PDF reader is present. The PDF reader Acrobat Reader is free and available for download from Adobe (see Resources), the creator of the PDF format. PDF files contain anything from written-word documents to floor plans. If you have a PDF floor plan that you need to measure, doing so doesn’t require any special software or skills, just a key that informs you of the scale of the floor plan.

Double-click on the PDF floor plan to open the PDF file.

Locate the key for the scale of the floor plan. Note that the key usually looks like a long line representing a foot on the floor plan, similar to the key on a map.

Hold a ruler over the line and mark the length of the line on the ruler.

Measure the floor plan with the ruler, noting how many times you use the line measurement. Note that if you use the line measurement twice, then the measurement equals 2-feet (if the key indicates the length of the line is equal to 1-foot).