ITS Service Desk

How to annotate and take notes with a PDF document

If you are working with trying to take notes with resources for a class that are in PDF format, there are various tools you can use to take notes and highlight over the top of PDF documents. There are 2 options we recommend for working with PDFs:

  1. Microsoft OneNote
  2. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft OneNote is a multi-purpose tool that allows you to take notes as well as organize and annotate digital class materials. OneNote is available as part of Microsoft Office and can be installed by signing in with your SNC account at In a OneNote notebook you can go to the Insert menu and select Printout to insert a PDF file on onto a page. Then you can either type anywhere on top of your document, or use the tools on the Draw menu to make annotations.



Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

Adobe Acrobat Reader is a tool designed for working with PDFs that is free to download for Windows or macOS. You can download Acrobat Reader DC from Adobe's website by going to and selecting "Download Acrobat Reader."

In order to start annotating PDFs, click on “Comment” on the right side once you open a PDF in Adobe Reader.


After clicking Comment, a toolbar will appear. There are several annotation tools available, but the most commonly used three are highlighted in red:



Sticky note

The first option (starting on the left) is Sticky note. Sticky notes can be left anywhere on a document. After creating a sticky note you can hover over the yellow icon to view it. sticky_note.png


Highlight Text

The second option from the left is Highlight text. This tool allows you to highlight text in various colors.



Add text comment

The third option highlighted option (the 7th button on the comment toolbar) is Add text comment and it simply allows you to type anywhere on the page. 




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