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Annotating Digitally

Annotating with Adobe reader

Whether you are using a PC, Mac or even a mobile device, Adobe Reader offers a variety of annotation tools to assist you with marking up and making notes on pdf files.

If you don't already have Adobe Reader installed on your computer, head over to the Adobe site and download and install it. If you plan to use it on your mobile device, search for "Adobe Acrobat Reader" in the App Store or Google Play Store. Be sure to update your reader to the latest version before using this guide.

The free reader comes with annotation tools that will allow you to highlight, underline, draw, and comment. You can even save and share your annotations. To access all of the tools available, select the Comment option from the menu on the right.

Comment option in Adobe Reader


From here, the Comment menu bar will appear above your document.


Adobe Reader Comment Toolbar


To use the tools, select which option you would like. In the example below the highlighter option has been selected.


Highlighting in Adobe Reader


To change the color of the markup tool, select the color options.

 Color options for Adobe Reader markup



Each tool will also bring up a comment box. Comments can be included with highlighting, underlining, or drawing tools.

Comment that goes along with the highlighting option in Adobe Reader


To simply comment without using one of the other markup tools, select the Add Sticky Note icon and place it anywhere on the document to add a note.


Adding a sticky note to Adobe Reader PDF


Comments will appear on the right side of the document, sorted by page and listed with the icon that matches what type of comment was made (i.e. highlight, sticky note, underline).

Comments in Adobe Reader Sidebar

If you would like to remove something that's been highlighted, underlined, or commented, select the corresponding box from the menu on the right, select the triple dot icon (...) and choose Delete from the menu. This will remove the markup and any corresponding comment.

Delete Annotation from Adobe Reader

Once you've finished your annotations, be sure to save the document. You can open it later and view your annotations, edit and continue to add comments. You can also send the saved document to another person to view, comment and annotate.

Note: If you are using the citation management tool Zotero and choose the option to download pdfs to your desktop, you can open the documents in Adobe Reader and annotate them. Just be sure to save your changes.

For more information about Adobe Reader's annotation and markup tools, please visit the Adobe User Guide