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Marking up changes on your PDF

Useful Tips

Download the free Adobe Reader  from Adobe if you haven’t already by clicking on the image below.


Also scroll down this page to see very useful tips.

Download Adobe Reader

The new version of Reader DC actually sucks when it comes to doing lots of corrections! Here is a link to get the much better older version XI: Download Adobe Acrobat Reader XI

Watch the 10-minute video below or read the instructions below the videos. Either way make sure to read the tips like how to send back a huge PDF with very slow internet.

חדש! סרטון בעברית

Video on how to mark up a PDF in Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

Video on how to mark up a PDF in the older (but much better) Adobe Reader XI

Video on how this improves efficiency

This final video shows what happens next once your corrections are put in correctly and what happens when you don’t! (Also includes instructions on how to download the older Adobe Reader XI if you don’t want Adobe Reader DC.

For people who prefer to read:

Open Adobe Reader XI. On the top right, you will see a Comment button.

Now, open the file, and look (Under that Comment area) for a tool called the Text Correct Markup. (If you are having trouble downloading Adobe Reader XI instead of DC, watch the 2nd video above for explanation as to how to download version 11).

Anchor 1

By default, this is not depressed. When you click on it, you will get this notification:

If you are using the Acrobat Reader DC then you need to  1  click on the Tools and then  2  choose Comment. There is no need to activate Text Edits in Acrobat DC.

Now you can begin inserting markups by simply selecting the text with your mouse, and typing directly on the text. So if, for instance, you want to replace some existing text, rather than first highlighting then deleting, then carefully placing the cursor in the correct position, then typing text, simply highlight the word or sentence you wish to replace and simply type the new text. A pop-up bubble will appear with the new text. To store and hide that pop-up, just hit ESC.


Make sure that you do not use the delete tool to replace the text. In the below example, the words “the chapter” will be deleted, but “this sections.” will not be inserted. If you are having problems with this then check that (a) the Comments List is displaying and (b) that the hand tool is not selected. The arrow tool (keyboard shortcut V) needs to be selected for the replace text functionality to work when highlighting text to replace. Also note that in the sample below, we will be left with 2 spaces, so it’s important to highlight the space after the word you want to delete when hitting the delete key. Scroll down to the bottom for tips like this.


(TIP: If you want to just add a space, simply...type a space. Adobe Reader will put in an “insert” symbol and then a strange blue symbol which seems to be in the wrong place – it’s fine. Do not add more information in the box (like “please add space”) or you will find that text inside your copy!)

In Adobe Reader XI, if you suddenly find that this function has stopped working (if, for example, you used the pencil too), then make sure that the T* is still depressed, as in the picture below.

New Tips
“What else can I do?”


Say you want to italicize some of the text. Simply use the underline tool to create a green line under the text that should be in italics; if you want to indicate some text that is already in italics should be roman, simply use the same underline tool.


If you want to indicate that some words should be in small caps or perhaps bold? Simply use the Add Note to Text tool (the one on the left of the T* above), highlight the words that should be bold, and add the instruction in the pop-up.




”Oh no, you sent me a 300 MB file and I can’t email that back to you? What do I do?”


When you receive the file via a link in wetransfer, you should download the pdf onto your computer and proceed with making your annotations. When that’s completed, there is no need to send back the entire file back via wetransfer, since we already have that file (after all we sent it to you). All we need are the notes that you have made (the “comments”). 

Simply go to the Comments List tab and choose the Options button (circled right at the bottom of the below pictures according to version). 

After clicking on this button, you will see a menu item: Export All to Data File. This will create a very, very small .fdf file that contains only your notes and pointers to their locations in the document. If you have kept the name of the PDF the same, it will be very simple for me to attach this to the 300 MB that I already have. Even if you have changed the name, it’s fine.


Send this tiny .fdf file to me via email. 


“My document seems to be reversed. What do I do?”


If your document is a left-to-right (e.g., an English-language) book and when you view in two-page view everything is reversed, then simply go to the menu item View à Page Display à Show Cover Page in Two Page view.


If that trick doesn’t help, you might be in the wrong direction. This is a little harder to find (okay it’s very hard to find!). Go to the menu Edit à Preferences and then about half way down choose Language (it’s alphabetical). In Default Reading Direction, choose the direction that you need.


New Tips


Tip#: Lowercase

Traditionally, if a word should be lowercase, the proofreader would simply write lc (and conversely Cap). With Adobe Reader, it’s actually better to select the letter that needs to be lowercase and type the lowercase letter (or the whole word if that’s easier).


Why? well for starters, it’s quicker for you. But more importantly, we use software to incorporate the changes and if you type “lc” then the software will replace the word with “lc”! The software is good, but it can’t read


Tip#2: Spaces

Be careful when you use the Replace tool, and make sure you select exactly what you want. Don’t delete a space inadvertently, and also make sure that you don’t delete a word without the following (or preceding) space. Otherwise we will be left with two spaces.


Tip#3: Footnote references

Say the text that you want to replace includes a footnote reference (especially common when the footnote reference and the quotation mark needs to be swapped).


This is a tricky one: You never want to touch the footnote reference as it’s a special character with a bit of “programming”. In this case, just delete the quotation mark and then insert it. This is annoying for the proofreader, but otherwise the footnote reference will be deleted along with the footnote!

Tip#4: Never use the reply feature

This feature is designed for editors talking to each other. When importing into InDesign it will be ignored. It is also extra work to remove.

Tip#5: Mark up bad breaks like a pro

Read this 2-minute article on how to fix bad hyphens: Wonky Hyphenation (

Tip#6: New Paragraph

In Acrobat XI you can indicate a new paragraph by simply hitting the Enter key on your keyboard (making sure of course that you are already in “Edit Mode” by clicking on the T* in the Annotations menu in Acrobat).


In Acrobat DC you need to invoke the edit window in DC, by pressing the the Insert (INS) key on your keyboard. Now you can hit Enter and then Esc. Acrobat will place a pilcrow ¶ to the right and lower of the insert marker. Please note that the Esc key feature might not work on newer versions. On the Mac you can hit ⌥ Enter (option-Enter) instead of using the mouse and hitting Post.

Tip#7: New (and useless) UI on Acrobat DC

In Acrobat DC, Adobe has decided to make the UI more modern and of course even more useless. Fortunately, you can revert to the old UI in DC by clicking on the hamburger menu (3 horizontal lines) and choosing Disable new Acrobat. If you are using a Mac, then you need to go to the View menu on the menu bar in order to disable the new Acrobat.

Any more questions? Don’t hesitate to contact me.

Export data in Adobe Reader XI

Export data in Acrobat Reader DC


Disable new Acrobat!

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