Using layered PDF files



A Guide by Cut ‘n’ Paste


What is a “layered” PDF?

Some PDF model files that you might encounter, including many of ours from Model Railway Scenery, are Layered PDFs. This means that some or all pages of the PDF file have “overlays” of different colours and/or textures that you can choose from before printing the model out, so as to produce a variety of different finishes on the model.  By having layered files, the overall file size is smaller than having multiple pages with the same parts represented in different colours/textures.


How do I see the layers?

First of all, download the latest version of Acrobat PDF viewer. It’s free from Adobe ( . Earlier versions of Acrobat also work in a similar way, but you might as well get up-to-date!

Now load up the file you have downloaded, which has the layers. On the menu bar, select “View.. Show/Hide… Navigation Panes… Layers:

Click that, and you get a pane on the left which shows all the available layers for each page:

Initially, all layers might be “visible”. You can now choose the ones you want by clicking the “eye” symbol next to them. Only ones which show the eye are visible now:

Do the same for the other pages, making sure that you choose the same textures for each page (careful – it’s possible to print out pages that won’t match otherwise!)


When you’re done, you can print out the model files in your chosen schemes.




Cut ‘n’ Paste

Nov. 2012