pdf annotation/review tool

7 Most Useful PDF Annotation/Review Tools

Khyati Hooda
By Khyati Hooda 16 Min Read

Our habits of printing documents and writing by hand at work are excellent instances of this. However, these habits are significant roadblocks to productivity in a company-wide content review process. We’ll go over all of the pdf annotation/review tools in this article, which can help you with your pdfs. 

Adding any additional text, pictures, or objects to a PDF document is PDF annotation.

Annotating a PDF with specialized software allows users to change the document. During the document review and approval process, this is typically used to leave proposed changes on a PDF.

Adding a text box to the PDF and a sticky note to detail a comment about the asset are all options. Allowing a group of reviewers to annotate the file using the software are all options for contributing feedback. Users can flag an error, suggest revisions, and leave comments inside the same document.

We’ve listed the best 7 PDF annotation software for Windows in this post. These programs are free to use and equipped with features and annotation tools like highlights, notes, text boxes, underlines, shapes, stamps, and signatures. 

Some of these PDF annotators also offer annotations like sticky notes and other PDF annotators. You can also use these programs to share your annotated PDFs via email, Evernote, Dropbox, and Facebook.

Features For PDF Annotation

The text, graphics, and content arrangement are all fixed in a PDF. This makes it even more challenging to change the text or add anything new (as you would, for example, within a Word Document).

Specific PDF annotation software is necessary for users to offer input on a PDF document. Using this program, users can add a comment or an annotation and collaborate with others on the same file.

There are a plethora of PDF annotation/review tools software suppliers on the market. These solutions give users various annotation options to fit a wide range of business needs.

The following are some of the most common PDF annotation/review tools features:

These are some features very common features which you will need in annotating your PDFs:

  • a tool for highlighting
  • A tool for leaving comments
  • Tools for making annotations
  • Users can debate annotations in real-time via real-time collaboration.
  • A text copy-and-paste tool
  • The option to create virtual sticky notes is a great feature.
  • A text strikethrough feature
  • An open-source drawing programs

For example, a collection of shapes, such as arrows, lines, and circles which you can use to clarify which area of the PDF your comment refers to.

PDF annotation/review tools software allows users to leave explicit, well-organized comments in one easy-to-find location. Rather than delivering your PDF through a series of convoluted emails, send it as a single document, where proposed changes can easily get lost, misread, or misapplied. 

Here are the best 7 PDF annotation/review tools.

1. ZipBoard 

zipBoard is a web-based pdf annotation/review tool and assessment solution for documents. It provides a simple method for reviewing various file types, including PDFs, images, videos, URLs, SCORM, and more. 



Collaborating on documents for internal and external stakeholders is faster and simpler with zipBoard‘s centralized proof platform. It also allows you to comment on them. You may even send PDFs to clients without them registering, eliminating the need for time-consuming screen-sharing meetings.

Key features of Zipboard

The following are some features of Zipboard that will help you annotate the PDFs. 

  • ZipBoard offers seamless integration with your ERP system and custom APIs and features. With online visual proofing, you can gain in-context feedback from your collaborators. 
  • Reviewers can directly annotate on their screen, providing contextual feedback with multiple review tools at their disposal.
  •  You can get your files reviewed by your stakeholders and gain feedback based on your needs. You can choose to receive feedback from guest reviewers who do not need to log in. 
  • zipBoard’s straightforward interface is simple to use, particularly for non-IT employees. You can view Kanban and table views and the usual Kanban view. 
  • zipBoard helps ensure confusion-free collaboration by keeping all versions and alterations clear and assigning clear roles to individuals.
  • zipBoard provides its users with unlimited projects and collaborators from the starter plan onwards.
  •  Out-of-the-box integrations include Slack, Jira, Microsoft Teams, Lambda Test, and Wrike.

With zipBoard’s centralized proof platform, collaborating on documents for internal and external stakeholders is faster and simpler. You may even send PDFs to clients without them registering.

2. Adobe Acrobat Reader

Among all PDF viewers, Adobe Acrobat Reader is a pioneer. You may use this free PDF reader to view and annotate PDF documents. This PDF reader provides various annotation tools, such as sticky notes, highlighters, underliners, strike-throughs, text boxes, free-form drawings, stamps, multimedia attachments, and geometric shapes.

You can also add signatures as text, drawing signatures, or pictures of your signature. Check out the comments for a comprehensive list of annotations. You may also filter or search for a specific annotation. After you add annotations, save the PDF on your PC. You may also directly print or distribute it via this application.

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Important features of this application 

Here are some Adobe Acrobat Reader features that will assist you in annotating PDFs.

  • It is fast and has simple functions, but it also has a search function and a terrific zooming function that makes working on small devices painless. 
  • You can use sticky notes or drawing tools to insert comments on PDFs and highlight or underline text.

This free PDF reader provides various annotation tools, such as sticky notes, highlighters, and underliners. In addition, you can use this application to view and annotate PDF files.

3. iSkySoft PDF Editor

iSkySoft PDF Editor (starts at $69/year) is a good PDF editor for people, and it also caters to enterprises. It offers affordable pricing for small enterprises, starting at $109 per user per year, including team management. 

The enterprise tier of iSkySoft includes dedicated tech support, user licensing management, on-demand development, and flexible deployment for groups of more than 20 people.

The PDF editor is available for Windows and Mac (but not for mobile), supporting nine languages. It has a rich interface that mimics Microsoft Word for easy pdf annotation/review tools and editing. 

It allows you to convert PDFs to and from various formats, build forms, alter the layout and text of your PDF, add, remove, and manipulate images, insert, remove, or flip pages, and secure them with passwords, redaction tools, and permissions.

If you wish to annotate a PDF, you may do so with ease using drawing tools, sticky notes, stamps, and comments, and iSkySoft also allows for multi-user collaboration. Optical character recognition technology, which recognizes scanned text from another document and converts it into an editable and searchable image-based PDF, is one of iSkySoft’s most amazing capabilities.

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Main features include:

iSky soft PDF editor can help you annotate PDFs using the following features.

  • Text – modify text using easy paragraphs and single-line styles, and change font type, style, and size as needed.
  • Manipulate photos by adding, rotating, removing, cropping, pasting, replacing, copying, and replacing them quickly.
  • Pages: seamlessly remove, cut, replace, insert, and spit pages while changing page boxes and adding page labels from your document.

Using this application, you can convert PDFs to and from various formats, alter the PDF’s layout and text, add, remove, and manipulate images, insert, remove, or flip pages, and password-protect and redact them.

4. Xodo

Xodo is an excellent choice for individuals who need to edit a PDF but don’t have the funds (or desire) to pay for a professional PDF editor. 

Despite being free, Xodo has a lot to offer in terms of features and a gorgeous, modern UI (available online and iOS and Android apps). Rather than hiding your manuscript in a convoluted and crowded interface, as many other editors do, Xodo concentrates on giving you a primary, straightforward interface.

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Xodo is an excellent app for signing documents because it allows you to generate a signature with a stylus or your finger and save it for future use on other documents. 

Do you want to annotate a PDF document? Filling out forms is similarly straightforward—all you have to do is tap the field and fill in your data. You can highlight and strike out parts, add sticky notes, underline for emphasis, and draw freehand with Xodo‘s many tools. 

It even generates a summary list of annotations that you can access by pressing on any of them.

It also offers a real-time, collaborative workspace, allowing anyone with access to jump right into work and even chat. After creating it, you may sync your document with Dropbox or Google Drive to ensure you’re always working with the most recent version. 

5. Nitro Reader for Windows & Mac

Nitro Reader for Mac and Windows may not have a lot of complex features, but it is still a highly handy PDF annotator. The number of tools offered is limited, excluding more powerful annotation tools. 

However, bookmarks previously added notes and social media sharing are allowed, as is standard annotation, ensuring that the PDF looks clean and professional. In addition, this program can convert PDF files to text and vice versa.

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The important features to consider 

Here are some of the important features of this application:

  • You can personalize the top toolbar to provide easy access to the most features you use.
  • The download is relatively minimal.

It is a highly convenient PDF annotator and can convert PDF files to text and back again.

6. PDFelement Pro – create PDF documents (Windows & Mac)



A top-of-the-line PDF editor can also be used as an exceptional PDF annotator. It has a similar look and feels to Microsoft Word, making it even more accessible to individuals familiar with Microsoft Office tools. 

To leave comments on a PDF to work with your colleagues, you can use various devices such as highlighting, underlining, strikethrough, wave line, shapes, sticky notes, text fields, and hand drawings.

Important features:

Here are some ways that PDFelement Pro can assist you in annotating PDFs.

  • Use sticky notes, text boxes, and freehand drawing tools to annotate PDF files.
  • Using the several pdf annotation/review tools available, add highlights, underline text, or strikethrough text.
  • Text, links, photos, and PDF pages can all be changed.
  • Convert PDF files to Word files, Excel Sheets, PowerPoint, EPUB, and images.
  • Supports password protection to prevent unauthorized changes to the document.
  • Combine, divide, and compress PDF files using OCR technology.

It is an exceptional PDF annotator. It has a similar look and feels to Microsoft Word, making it even more accessible to individuals already familiar with Microsoft Office tools.

7. ClickUp

The pdf annotation/review tools in ClickUp allows you to annotate PDF files and images (.png, .gif, .jpeg, .webp).

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In four easy steps, you can add comments to task attachments:

  • Within a task, open the desired folder.
  • In the preview window’s upper right corner, click “Add comments.”
  • Wherever you wish to add a comment, click on the attachment preview.
  • If you want someone to act right away, add comments and assign them to them.

You can even utilize ClickUp’s Chrome Extension to annotate and prove documents for more versatility.

You may use the Chrome extension to annotate photos, post them as task attachments, and add comments to them – everything is available with ClickUp.

Key Docs are a feature of ClickUp

PDFs can be annotated in several ways, here are the exceptional features of ClickUp.

  • Text: Create, share, and store project- or company-related documents easily with your virtual or in-house team.
  • Comments: Each ClickUp task has its comment box where you can discuss and exchange any relevant files or links. You may even tag people on your team to guarantee that your suggestions are not forgotten.
  • Collaboration Detection: see if your teammates are concurrently adding a comment or viewing a task in real-time. This can be quite helpful in overcoming some of the most typical virtual team issues you’ll encounter when managing distant projects.
  • A notepad is a blank spot where you may rapidly jot down your thoughts and ideas.
  • Mind Maps: To arrange and organize your project-related ideas, make free-form mind maps.

This app allows you to add notes and add comments, signatures, and designs.


One of the simplest ways to add value to your work is to include a well-placed, thorough remark. It’s what can turn a mundane bit of information into something as fascinating as this.

Check over the seven annotation tools we discussed here to get a head start.

While each of these tools is excellent, Zipboard takes the cake with its robust capabilities that make it simple to proof your documents.

This versatile annotation program hits the home run with picture and PDF proofing and a feature-rich Forever Free plan.

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Posted by Khyati Hooda
Khyati is an entrepreneur, marketing consultant and growth hacker. She helps sustainable revenue growth through marketing for SaaS and subscription companies. Her expertise lies in building scalable customer acquisition strategies and implementing effective digital marketing campaigns that drive high-quality, low-cost leads for startups. Khyati has managed over $50M in marketing budgets across various industries including technology, finance, education, retail, consumer goods and more - successfully delivering over 15x ROI for her clients.
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