How do I edit a PDF?

by Jackie Zoppa on 2018-03-26T16:02:00-03:00 | 0 Comments

A colleague just sent you a document for review…but it’s a PDF. How are you supposed to edit it or make comments?

Using PDF annotations and markup tools—that’s how! Editing a PDF document doesn’t have to be intimidating; it can be just as easy as editing a text document. Built-in tools in most PDF reader programs let you comment and make suggestions. Using these tools to provide feedback allows the author or your collaborators to see exactly where your suggested changes are located in the document.

PDF Editing in 3 Steps

1. Turn on annotation and markup tools

Depending on which PDF reader program you're using, you may have to:

  • Click on the ‘View’ menu, then ‘Comment’, then ‘Annotations’
  • Click on the ‘Tools’ menu, then ‘Comment’
  • Click on the ‘Comments’ menu, then ‘Show Comment & Markup Toolbar’

The Comment toolbar should appear along the top and Annotations and Comments List should appear along the side. Depending on your program's default settings, they may look a little different. If the toolbar doesn’t appear, try searching your PDF reader program’s Help menu for ‘annotations’ or ‘comments’.

2. Add sticky notes (comments)

From the Comment toolbar or from Annotations on the right-hand side, you can now add ‘Sticky Notes’ (like digital Post-it® notes) or highlight text within the document.
To add a ‘Sticky Note’, click on  in the Comment toolbar or click on ‘Sticky Note’ under Annotations. Then click within the document wherever you would like the note to appear. If you decide to move the note after you’ve typed it, you can drag the icon to wherever you’d like, just like peeling a physical sticky note off a piece of paper and re-positioning it.

3. Highlight specific text

To highlight text, click on  in the Comment toolbar or click on ‘Highlight Text’ under Annotations. Move your cursor to the beginning of the text that you want to highlight, then click and drag your cursor to the end of the section. You can also add a ‘Sticky Note’ next to highlighted text, which helps indicate the exact text you’re referring to in the note.

It’s that easy! Once you’ve tried commenting and highlighting, test out other annotation functions in the toolbar, like ‘Insert’, ‘Replace’, or ‘Strikethrough’ text (often indicated by ). These let you select and edit text to suggest alternate wording or additions, or delete unneeded text, just like the “Track Changes” function in Microsoft Word.

Lara Killian


Jackie Zoppa

Library Technician, Patient Pamphlets
Nova Scotia Hospital, Central Zone

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