big fat menu

How do I annotate my PDF files?


Students in the School of Medicine and in the School of Nursing have found some free applications useful for adding and saving annotations in PDF files, on either Windows or Macintosh computers. So the next time you need to make notes on that PDF, don't print it: try one of these tools instead.

Step by Step: 


PDF XChange Viewer is a free application preferred by many of the Library's patrons, and is available for download or can be accessed on public computers in the Library.


  • Install PDF XChange Viewer, open the program, then open the PDF you would like to annotate.
  • Add your notes, highlights, boxes, etc, to your PDF document, then save it with your annotations.

  • Using these tools, you will be able to mark up the PDF file with your annotations. The next time you open the saved document, all of your notes will appear.



The built-in Preview program suits most Macintosh users' needs for simple note-taking in PDF documents.


  • Double-click any PDF saved on your Macintosh to automatically open it in the Preview application. If you have another PDF program set as your computer's default (such as Adobe Reader), instead of double-clicking, you should right-click the file and select Open With --> Preview.
  • Click the Annotate tool to get started.

  • Experiment with the tools at the bottom of the page. Mouse over the tools on the toolbar for 3 seconds to see what they do.

  • For example, the font tool (noted as Aa), on the far right of the bottom bar, will allow you to change the font size of your annotations.

  • Once you are done annotating, save the file and close the program. The next time you open the file, all of your annotations will be there.


For more information, contact the Service Desk at (434) 924-5444.