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Digital Annotation Tools: Annotating PDF's

A Few Helpful Tools for Annotating PDF's

Adobe Acrobat has several helpful tools for editing PDF's.  A few of the most helpful include the ability to create a new PDF; edit an existing PDF; comment on your PDF; organize the pages of your PDF, and to "enhance" your PDF.  Each is briefly described below.

Editing PDF's

Adobe allows you to edit existing PDF's.  This includes moving, rearranging, deleting and editing existing text and images; adding new text or images of your own; cropping pages; adding headers and footers; and more.  Access the edit feature by selecting it from the Tools menu at the top left of the interface.

Commenting on PDF's

Adobe allows you to "comment" on your PDF, which functions similarly to Westlaw and Lexis's annotation features.  You can highlight text by clicking and dragging it.  You can also add your own notes to the text, which can be accessed by clicking on the comment bubble icon, or in the running column on the right-hand side of the page. 

"Comment" includes many more features, including the ability to create text boxes, adding text, striking through text, adding and drawing shapes on the text, and more.  To explore these and more features, select "Comment" from the Tools menu in the top left corner of the Adobe interface.

Creating PDF's

"Create PDF" allows you to convert or combine existing documents into PDF's.  This can be especially useful when you want to consolidate a sequential group of documents or screenshots into one single PDF.

Converting or creating a PDF is fairly straightforward; select "Create PDF" from the tools menu, and select the option that's right for you.

To combine multiple screenshots or documents into a single PDF, select "Multiple Files" and "Combine Files," and then click and drag your files into the desired order.  Note that the documents you combine do not need to be in PDF format already; they can be word documents, screenshots, or many other formats, and Adobe will still convert them to a single PDF file.   


Organizing PDF's

"Organize Pages" allows you to re-organize the pages in your PDF.  You can change the order of individual pages by clicking and dragging them into their desired places.  You can insert pages by clicking the "+" symbol between the two existing pages you are looking at, or from the "insert" option at the top of the page.  You can delete pages by clicking them, and then clicking the trash can icon.  And finally, you can "extract" pages.  The extract feature is especially helpful if you want to extract select pages from a much longer document, and turn them into a separate PDF.  

"Enhancing Scans" in PDF's

"Enhancing Scans" allows you to convert an un-searchable image of a text into a full-text searchable PDF.  Though not always necessary, when you do encounter a scan of a document that is just an image (meaning your computer cannot read the text on the page), "Enhancing Scans" is indispensable for turning it into something you can easily search.

To enhance your PDF, select "Enhance Scans" from the Tools menu, and then click "Enhance" from the top bar.  From there, click "Scanned Document," and follow the prompts.  After you've enhanced your PDF, you will be able to full-text search within it.