Using Adobe Acrobat PDF Comments for Proofing

Using Adobe Acrobat PDF Comments for Proofing sends Adobe Acrobat PDFs of your projects for proofing. The first page generally is your artwork approval form, which helps you and your team know the quantity and dates to ensure we are all on the same page with your proof approval and delivery dates. The pages that follow are the layouts for your project.

Adobe Acrobat offers a free reader for viewing PDFs if you do not already have it on your computer:

PDF comments are' preferred method of receiving edits because they are easy for you to make and send and efficient for your designers/copywriters to receive and understand. This can save you time proofing and waiting on the back-and-forth of the proofing process.

To show your "Comments List," click the "Comments" button to review the comment tools. Click the triangle next to the "Comments List" (if not already visible).

To show your "Annotations," select View > Comment > Annotations, or select the "Comment" button in the task toolbar. Click the triangle next to the Comments List (if not already visible).



Mostly, you'll want to:

Delete text: not replace or do anything else to it, just delete it. Use "Strikethrough" tool (select text and press delete key).

Replace text: delete some text and replace it with other text. Use "Replace" tool (select text and begin typing).

Insert text: the existing text is OK and you just want to add text. Use "Insert text at cursor" tool (position cursor and begin typing).

Highlight text: add a note so you can say something about the text, for example change to bold or make smaller. Use "Highlight Text" tool or "Add a note" (select text).

Add a note: point out a change or correction that is not attached to text.


Delete text:

The "Strikethrough" tool is for indicating text to be deleted and not replaced with anything; it's just a delete.

Strikethrough Tool

Select the text you want to delete, then select the "Strikethrough" tool. A comment will show up in the "Comments List" panel and there will be a red line through the text to be deleted.

Strikethrough Tool 2


Replace text:

The "Replace" tool is for replacing text with other text. It adds a blue strikethrough and an insert caret at the end of the text to be deleted. It also opens a dialog box for the replacement text and adds a comment to the "Comments List" panel.

Replace Tool

You may be tempted to use the "Strikethrough" tool and the "Insert text at cursor" to replace text, but that creates two comments when there should only be one. Plus, it can get complicated as the designer is working through the "Comments List" one at a time.

Replace Tool 2


Insert text:

The "Insert text at cursor" tool is for inserting text at the cursor. Just place your cursor where you want to insert the new text and the text field will pop up. Type your new text in the text field and you're onto your next comment. Be careful with these because the little blue carets can sometimes be hard to find.

Insert Tool

Insert Tool 2


Highlight text:

The "Add note to text" tool is for when you want to communicate something to the designer and none of the three tools above will be clear. For example, if some text needs to be italic or the type appears to be the wrong font.


Using this tool as a replacement for the three tools above means more typing for you. It causes you to have to describe your change with writing, "delete text from the word 'vendor' through the word 'customization'." This is not a great way to go about editing so be sure to utilize the previous tools whenever possible.

Highlight 2


Add a note:

The "Add sticky note" tool adds a note where there is no selectable text. You might use the "Add sticky note" tool to comment about a photo, to change an element of the overall look or add a note about deleting or moving a page. It's appropriate any time the task involves something that isn't selectable.

Add sticky note

Add sticky note 2


Tips and Tricks:

  • It's more efficient to select the text first then the tool. If you get the type selected first, you'll spend less time redoing comments – especially when the text isn't easy to select.
  • Right click and select "Delete" on any comment in the "Comments list" panel to delete.
  • Be careful that your changes are spelled correctly in the comments. The designers update with exactly what you comment, so be sure your type is capitalized and spelled as you intend for your edit.
  • Any comment can be a pop-up note, so there is no need to highlight AND strikethrough AND have a sticky note for the same edit. You can add comments to any annotation you make if you go into the "Comments list". Or, a shortcut is to right-click on the comment and click "Open Pop-Up Note."
  • Use as few comments as possible or it can be confusing for the designer. The "Comments list" is where your designer or copywriter go through your edits and check them off, so be sure they reference the correct location in the design, and make sure they are clear before sending.


Great video on annotations to use for commenting:

How to use Adobe Acrobat commenting tools (images were used from this site):

Acrobat DC help for commenting in PDFs:

Helpful step-by-step for each of the annotation tools in Acrobat DC:

How to use Adobe Acrobat Pro DC to edit and comment on PDF Files:

Posted by Jane Malm - July 13, 2016