Editing Static PDFs

Adobe Acrobat Pro includes editing functions on its toolbar.  Editing functions in this case means mark-up capabilities.  Although Acrobat Pro has the function to actively edit a PDF, this tutorial won’t address that. 

In this portion of the tutorial, you will learn how to:

  • Insert, Move, Delete a Notes or comment window
  • Highlight, Underline, Cross-out Text
  • View and Hide Comments
  • Run Spell-check
  • Search PDF

Open Adobe Acrobat Pro.  On the icon tool, you will see the Comment & Markup icon. 

screen shot

Clicking on the words, not the pull-down menu arrow will open the Comment toolbar. 

editing toolbar


Notice that the Text Edit pull-down menu allows for the user to add a note, and the mark-ups to replace, highlight, underline, and cross-out text. Note that text within the PDF must be highlighted in order for all of the options to be available.

 text editing submenu


Inserting a note is an effective way to include more substantial comments to a PDF.  Think of the notes function as margins in a paper document.  There are two ways to insert a note.  If you want to place a note where the curser is positioned in the text, you can select the Note Tool tab on the Comment toolbar.  Alternatively, if you have text selected, you can select the pull-down menu of the Text Edits tab on the Comment toolbar and select “Add Note To Selected Text.”  Once the note is inserted, it should look like this: 
screen shot

If you want to close the comment box, click on the x in the upper right hand corner (circled).  This causes the window to collapse, leaving the small yellow icon (also circled) signifying that a note has been placed at this point in the text.  To view the comment box again, simply click or double click on this same icon.

To move a comment, click on the either the comment box (if it is open) or on the comment icon.  Drag the box to where you want it moved.  Moving a comment does not allow you to insert the comment into another part of the document.  It merely repositions where the open comment box appears when maximized.

Let’s say that a colleague has reviewed your document and inserted comments.  You have since looked at the comments and are ready to delete them from your PDF.  To delete a comment, Control + Click on the open comment box or the comment box icon and select delete from the menu which pops up.

You can follow similar steps to insert, move, and delete notes about replacing text, denoted by a carrot, and deleting text, denoted by strike-through text followed by a carrot. 

screen shotscreen shot

These are simple ways to easily draw attention to areas of the text you’re marking up.  On the comments toolbar, you will see an icon of a T with a pen drawing a line through it.  This is the pull-down menu to select if you want to highlight, underline, or delete (meaning strike-through) text.

highlighting toolbar

First, select the text you want to mark-up.  Go to the toolbar and choose the desired effect.  Acrobat Pro will automatically apply the chosen tool to the selected text.  That’s it!

To delete the highlight, underline, or text markups, select the text and Right Click.  From the menu which pops up, select delete.  This deletes the markup not the text itself.

On the commenting toolbar, the Show pull-down menu allows you to view or hide the comments in your document.  To show all types of comments, click on the Show pull-down menu, scroll down to Show by Type and select All Types.  This causes all types of comments, from Note windows to highlighted text to appear.

screen shot

To hide the comments, choose the Show icon from the Commenting Toolbar and scroll down to Hide all comments.

Acrobat Pro has a function to view a list of all the comments apart from the document.  This can be helpful if you want either an overview of the comments inserted or if you want to know which portions of the document were most commented on, from consistent grammar errors to comments requesting more analysis, etc.  On the far left-hand side of the PDF, you will see several tabs labeled “Bookmarks,” “Signatures,” etc.  The bottom tab reads “Comments.”  Click on this tab to view a list of all the comments.  They are organized in the order by which they appear in the document. 

screen shot

To hide this list of comments, click on the x in the top right-hand corner of this sub-window.

In Acrobat Pro, the spell-check function applies only to the comments you add.  To spell-check the original text which was converted to a PDF, check the document’s spelling in the source document (Word, TextEdit, etc).

If you want to check the spelling of the comments, go to the Edit menu and select Check spelling. 

To search a PDF for a word or phrase, press Apple + F to open the Search toolbar.  Enter the word or phrase you want to search for, and Acrobat Pro will search for you.


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