10 Best PDF Annotation Apps for Windows, Mac, Android & iPad: Free and Paid
January 31, 2024
PDFs, known for their reliability and universal format, have long been the go-to choice for various documents.
However, the static nature of PDFs often limits the level of interaction one can have with the content.
When you want to annotate, highlight, markup and comment on a PDF document, you cann’t do so unless you have a PDF annotation app.
PDF annotation apps typically provide a range of features that allow you to draw shapes, highlight text, add notes, and create bookmarks.
They are great for everyone, including students, teachers, business professionals, and anyone working in academia.
There are a ton of PDF annotation tools available today. But which one is the best? Are there any good but also free apps? how many functions does a powerful pdf annotator have？
In this article, we will answer all your questions regarding PDF annotators, and we’ve also curated a list of the 10 best PDF annotation apps on Windows, Mac, Android, and iPadOS.
What is PDF annotation?
PDF annotation is adding suggestions in the form of comments or digital sticky notes to PDF documents in the proofing stage. Think eBooks, white papers, reports, etc.
What are the benefits of PDF annotation?
Annotating PDF is not only a great way to highlight important sections of your document, but it also allows you to store information and collaborate with others.
Another benefit of using an annotation tool is that it’s an efficient means of feedback, which help you remember more and be more productive.
What are the different types of PDF apps?
There are 3 types of PDF apps, including:
1. PDF reader apps help you read PDF files, allowing you to do things like flip through pages, search for phrases, highlight text, and perhaps sign digital forms.
2. PDF annotation apps let you add comments, rearrange pages, add shapes, and insert new text blocks and images.
You can add as much to the document as you want, but you can’t change the core, original PDF text.
3. PDF editor apps allow you to change anything in a PDF. You can also create PDFs and forms from scratch in a PDF editor app.
How to choose the best PDF Annotation Software?
The annotations will make sure that your point of view, along with the original content, is visible to whoever has access to your PDF.
When choosing software, these are the things that you need to ensure that your annotation tool has:
A highlight section.
Copy text function.
Ability to add hand drawings and shapes.
While there are some advanced tools out there that will offer you way more than this, these four features are absolute essentials when it comes to annotation software.
If your software has these, rest assured that your annotation experience will be seamless, and you can actually make alterations to your PDF whenever and however you like.
Other Advanced Features include:
Collect signatures: You can send signature requests and let people sign off on documents to mark them for approval.
Add a stamp: You can add a digital stamp to a document, similar to a stamp of approval on physical documents.
Import/export comments: You can import or export comments from one PDF document to another.
Shareable review links: You can create shareable links to your reviews and send them out to anyone to ask them to review a relevant comment in a PDF.
OCR: The OCR features allow you to convert PDF documents into text format.
10 Best PDF Annotation Apps in 2024
PDF annotators have made our lives much easier. They not only improve productivity at work but also allow you to collaborate seamlessly with others.
Below are the most popular PDF annotation apps to use, some are free and others are not.
1. Adobe Acrobat
Adobe Acrobat is the industry-leading PDF solution, preferred by professionals who want the most powerful editor.
Adobe Acrobat provides software applications and web services to create, edit, annotate, view and manage PDF files.
It offers a wide range of annotation tools, including text highlighting, sticky notes, drawing tools, and the ability to add comments. You can also fill out forms and add your e-signature using your finger or stylus.
Its navigation options like bookmarks, page thumbnails, and search functionality make locating specific information within a document accessible.
It integrates with other Adobe applications, like Photoshop and Illustrator, to provide a seamless workflow.
Optimized for almost all major platforms, you can work on a PDF document by switching between devices and updating the file in real time.
Adobe Acrobat Reader also offers a number of interesting collaborative features, making it easy to share and review PDF documents with others via link.
Supported Devices: Windows, Mac, iPadOS, and Android
Pricing: Adobe Acrobat Reader provides users with basic functionality for free.
$12.99/month (billed annually) for Acrobat Standard, which includes all the core PDF editing features;
$19.99/month for Acrobat Pro DC, which includes advanced features such as redaction tools, searchable PDFs, and document comparison.
Xournal++ is an open-source note taking tool for annotating PDFs, drawing digital sketches, and taking handwritten notes.
The app makes it easy to create new handwritten notes, draw diagrams and doodles, and sketch out your thoughts. It is best used with a graphics tablet or stylus.
Xournal++ lets you import and open PDFs inside the app so that you can scrawl text on or draw and doodle over documents directly, no additional app or library is needed.
All of the tools available when note taking are available when marking up a PDF document. You can draw free hand in various colours and thicknesses, apply shapes, arrows and callouts, add text, move things, and more.
When you’re done you can choose to export your annotated PDF as a PDF — PDF export actually works here, too — or save it as a Xournal++ file for future editing.