Adobe Acrobat Reader: How to Annotate PDFs

This service is for faculty, staff, students.

There are a variety of technology options to mark-up and annotate PDFs. This can be particularly helpful for digital sheet music that is in .pdf format.

The primary tool available is Acrobat Reader. Zoom can also be used to annotate share mark-ups in real time during a web meeting or synchronous class session. Read our How to use Zoom In-Meeting features for more information on this process.

Annotating in Acrobat Reader on Your Computer

To display annotate (Comment) tools on a PC or Mac computer:

  1. Locate the pdf on your computer.
    1. Open on PC: Right-click the pdf and select Open With > Adobe Acrobat Reader.
    2. Open on a Mac: Click the file to select it.  From Finder, choose File > Open > Adobe Acrobat Reader
  2. Click on the Comment button to display the Comment tools OR from the View menu, select Toolbars > Comment
    Music PDF example in Acrobat Reader

For iOS devices (iPad or iPhone), you can find additional information on using the annotate features in Adobe's Working with PDF help document.

Acrobat Reader Mark-up Tools

You can use the Comment tools to mark up and comment on the sheet music.  The Adobe website contains more details on all Acrobat Reader commenting tools.

Faculty who are looking to use Acrobat Reader for sheet music mark-up may find these tools particularly helpful: 

Acrobat Reader Markup Tools


Use To

Sticky Note comment

Adobe Acrobat sticky note comment icon

 A sticky note has a note icon that appears on the page and a pop-up note for your text message. You can add a sticky note anywhere on the page or in the document area.

Pencil Tool

Adobe Acrobat pencil iconAdobe acrobat icons for changing color and line thickness

You can draw free form with the pencil tool.  Cross-out, add free-form notes and so on. 

You can also use the Change Color and Line Thickness buttons when you select the pencil tool. 

Polygon Tools

Polygon tool icon in Adobe acrobat

You can use the Oval tool for note heads and the Line or Connect Lines tools for stems and beams.  Click the down arrow to see options. 

To report a problem or receive additional troubleshooting, please contact the Tech Desk
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Article ID: 111806
Tue 7/14/20 1:42 PM
Thu 10/13/22 1:26 PM

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