How to remove Google watermarks from Public Domain scans

First, to be clear I am in no way trying criticize Google or insinuate that somehow the “Digitized by Google” watermarks are inappropriate or unethical. Maybe unnecessary though. Certainly, I’m most appreciative of Google’s funding for digitization, their hosting and providing free access to, their contribution to archive.org and the providing of searchable metadata through Google books. Nothing but praise can be given for these invaluable works to be widely available. Thank You!

However, there are all sorts of circumstances where that watermark on every page can be a problem. The main one is printing. It is trivial to skip printing the opening page with the Google notice on it. But I’d rather not waste the toner or integrity of the source document with all the little watermarks. Similarly, if high-quality images need to be extracted, especially for use in serious documents, the watermarks are a drag.

I eventually figured out a simple, non-scripted method for creating a source to print from. Assuming you have some version of Adobe Acrobat (not just reader):

  1. Run Advanced->Pre-flight routine “Put all transparent objects on layers” run to new output.
  2. Open new output
  3. Open layers (left bar)
  4. Turn visibility of any transparency layers off (save)
  5. Technically you can stop here; just to get a print or take screenshots.

From here there are a couple options:

  • From the layer menu you already have open select the cog-wheel (gear) at top-left and select “Flatten Layers”. This method is undo-able if you don’t save afterward.
  • Export to your preferred output as you would normally create a document.
  • Use Advanced->Print Production->Flattener Preview. I always run it at the highest settings, but the transparencies are off so it shouldn’t make a difference. Be aware this makes the file unnecessarily larger.
  • You can also flatten transparencies in Pre-flight

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From the File-Making section of Circle of the Mechanical Arts: PDF: circle-of-the-mechanical-arts_file-section_re-set   We shall introduce this article with some admirable observations on the progress of mechanical discovery, exemplified in an account of machines for cutting files, by Mr. Wm. Nicholson. “The folly and consequent distress of pursuing experiments in chemistry, for the sole purpose of […]


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