An annotation is extra information that adds more context to a document.
Markings on a book, highlighting text, circling or crossing out words, or adding notes to a page are all examples of annotations. If you’ve ever underlined a word or made markings in a book, then you’ve used annotations.
PDF annotations are objects (text, images, shapes, etc.) added to a document to provide more context or information about the contents of the document.
When you annotate on a paper document, it’s permanent. However, you can add annotations to PDFs without ruining the underlying content. This is one major benefit to using annotations on PDFs rather than on paper.
You’ll often see the terms “annotate”, “markup” or “comment” used interchangeably, but they refer to slightly different things.
Annotations are objects is added to a page to provide additional contextual information about the contents of the document or page. Not all annotations are visible.
Markup type of annotation that is visible on the document.
Comments, or notes, are a specific type of text annotation that you can attach to a spot on a PDF page.
Note: Not all annotations are visible (for example, certain watermarks). This means that all markup and comments are annotations, but not all annotations are markup or comments.
Anytime you want to add additional information about the contents on the page, annotations are your best friend. Since PDFs are so widely used across industries, you may find yourself annotating PDFs on a weekly or daily basis. Annotations are especially common when proofreading or revising work.
If you’re part of a team, annotations are vital for streamlining collaboration and ensuring everyone is on the same page (no pun intended).
If you’re not in a team, annotations help you organize ideas on the page, easily find and recall information, and quickly pick up where you left off. Annotations make take notes on PDFs more efficient.
Some of the most useful reasons for using annotations include:
There are a few common tools to annotate and markup your PDF. You may already have annotations you use regularly, or you may not.
Here’s a short list of the most useful annotations to use on PDFs:
This is the easiest way to annotate a PDF with PDF Writer. PDF Writer is more affordable than Adobe Acrobat Pro DC's expensive annual cost (which is currently US$179.95 per year), yet offers a full set of powerful annotation tools.
Handwriting is a great way to annotate any PDF in exactly the way you want. PDF Writer makes it easy to handwrite directly on PDFs.
PDF Writer makes it easy to highlight specific words, passages, or entire areas of a page.
Note: you can also highlight entire areas or sections of your document by going to the Markup tab > Area Highlight button.
PDF Writer makes it easy to comment and add notes to PDFs. Comments are perfect for collaborating with others, or leaving helpful notes to yourself.
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is a household name, although it has an expensive annual cost, and is can be overcomplicated with features and tools.
There are also free methods to add annotations to your PDF documents. The annotations you can add using free methods are often limited to the most basic annotations, and these methods often involve more steps, take more time. Formatting and spacing issues are common with some free methods (especially the Google Drive & Microsoft Word methods)
Note: formatting and spacing issues are common when using this method.
Note: this method requires access to Microsoft Word. If you don’t have Word, you can use the Google Drive method above.
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is a household name, but it’s complicated and expensive (at US$179.95 per year). Yes it can add annotations to PDFs, but there are often more features then we really need, which makes it challenging if you want to add annotations quickly and easily.
Fortunately, PDF Writer is affordable, easy to use, and powerful. It was a full suite of annotation and markup tools – giving you more control over your PDF documents. It makes annotating PDFs a breeze, and includes a lifetime license; meaning you pay once and PDF Writer is your forever.
Below are some of the features that make PDF Writer so great:
Features of the program:
Free Trial or Buy PDF Writer now!
Unless specified, we’ll answer these FAQs using PDF Writer. But the answers should still be applicable regardless of the PDF tool you’re using, although exact steps/names of tools may differ slightly depending on what program you use.
Can Adobe Reader add comments?
Yes. Adobe Reader is capable of adding limited comments. In Adobe Acrobat Reader, press: Tools > Comment > Add sticky note.
How do I annotate PDFs in Adobe Reader?
Press: Tools > Comment > click on the desired markup tool > begin marking up the PDF document.
Can you annotate on a PDF?
Yes. The easiest way to annotate on a PDF is with PDF Writer. Open the PDF in PDF Writer, then press: Markup tab > select your desired markup tool > begin marking up your document.
How to highlight notes on PDF?
Press: Markup tab > Highlight text OR Area Highlight.
How do I view annotations in PDF?
Press the Markup tab > View/Hide Annotations > Show all annotations.
How do I markup a PDF?
Press the Markup tab > select the Markup tool you want to use > begin marking up your document.
How do I add a note to a PDF?
Press Add note > click location on the PDF where you want to add the note > click the comment icon > type your note.
How do I annotate a PDF in Google Chrome?
You can’t annotate PDFs in Google Chrome. You can make limited annotations in Microsoft Edge, or you can use a paid PDF annotation tool such as PDF Writer.
How to make PDF annotations permanent?
You can set a password on your PDF to prevent others from removing the annotations you’ve created. To do this: Press Secure tab > Password > select “Require a password to change security settings and access specific functions” checkbox > set a password > confirm password > Changes allowed: “None” > Finish