View Full Version : Annotate PDF files?

12-03-2004, 10:07 PM
I have a problem. I am trying to find a way to put comments or annotations on the side of PDF files. The PDF file itself has a security restriction of "No commenting", so Acrobat Reader 6 doesn't let me do so.

Is there any software out there which would allow me to add comments etc. onto the edges of PDF files? This is all for personal use, so freeware would be preferred.

12-03-2004, 10:25 PM
Hi Somebody. As far as I know, you would need Acrobat Writer but the costs would hardly be justified for the task you have in mind.

12-03-2004, 11:19 PM
Acrobat Reader/Adobe Reader is just that - a reader. It doesn't write.

If the level of protection prevents writing, then the full Adobe product still will not allow the document to be edited.

I tend to distribute my reports in a protected mode. As I take responsibility for the content I need to know that any copies redistributed are the original and are unchanged. Thats what Adobe pdf format is all about.

But, having said that, you can easily put comments in the margin. Print the page out and use a pen?

13-03-2004, 07:59 AM
Thanks guys.

The problem is that the document I want to annotate/comment on is a script for a play (90something pages long). We have purchased useage-rights, and are paying royalties on gross ticket sales, so in my opinion we would have the right to annotate the script for own use (production notes/cues for technical crew), as long as we do not print the file, and destroy it afterwards.

Printing out and using pen - I can type a lot faster than I can write by hand, and it is also clearer and editable on the computer. It would be a last-resort, but I want to try doing it electronically on the computer first.

Is there any freeware which would allow me to make annotations on the file, although the actual annotations are stored as a separate file (ie. opening the 2 files in a special reader will put the annotations over the top of the PDF, as though they are all in one file)?

13-03-2004, 09:34 AM

I don't know how long your file is, but you could select all the text (Ctrl + A or Edit, Select All), copy it to the clipboard (Ctrl + C or Edit, Copy) and paste it into a wordprocessing application (Ctrl + V). There you could add your comments. Just a thought.

Oxie (Lyn)

13-03-2004, 12:02 PM
Hi somebody. Another option - time versus money - try an OCR scan of a couple of printed pages. You may touch lucky and have the OCR recognise most of the text - depends a lot on the font used. I've had OCR fail to recognise almost every word on a page but just occasionally it does a good job. Good luck. Interested in your outcome.

Graham L
13-03-2004, 01:37 PM
As GF has pointed out, part of the idea of PDF files is that the provider has the option of enforcing the "correctness" of the text, by not allowing modifications.

It's not completely hopeless ... talk to someone with a Linux system. As well as the official Adobe reader for Linux there is the Ghostscript (Postscript) interpreter which can handle PDFs and should be able to produce a text version of the contents which you could annotoate to your heart's content. The free (GPL) PDF viewer might also have a means of producing a text version ... I haven't played with it at all so I don't know.

Billy T
13-03-2004, 05:22 PM
Just an idle thought here, but assuming that they make genuine PDF files, would one of the ersatz PDF programs out there open a genuine PDF and allow editing? I assume that users are entitled to edit their own work so that means that PDFs created with those prograams must be editable.

As I said, it's just a thought.


Billy 8-{)

13-03-2004, 05:49 PM
Thanks for the comments. I don't actuall want to edit the PDF file, I simply want to add "annotations" or notes which hang off the side of the "page", and refer to a particular point in the page.

I have tried copying/pasting to a word processor, but all the formatting is lost. I have also tried using a PDF-Word converter, which worked ok, but once again lost some formatting.

I have got Jaws PDF Editor which allows me to add comments which hang off the side of the pages, which seems to work.