How to Annotate a PDF File in Google Drive

What? Don’t print my handouts? Eeek! But I love taking notes!

This is a common concern when we are asked to reduce our printing. The good news is that there is now an option to take notes directly on a PDF file within Google Drive. This means that you could take a digital scan of something, upload it into Google Drive, and then take notes directly on it rather than having a hard copy that you write upon. You can also take collaborative notes if you make a copy of a PDF and share it with colleagues. See the video tutorial and the step by step directions below.

Step by step directions:

  1. If you have the original hard copy, scan it, and upload it to Drive. You can upload a PDF by click on “new” and “file upload” in Google Drive.
  2. If you were not the original owner of the PDF, and it was shared with you, you should make a copy of it by right clicking on it when you see it listed in Google Drive (see screen shot below).
  3. If you would like to have others notes combined with yours in a collaborative note taking environment, you can share the PDF by clicking on the triple dots menu in the top right corner when viewing the PDF (see the screen shot below), or you can right click on it when seeing it listed in Google Drive to find the share button.
  4. When ready to make a comment on your PDF, click on the comment button (talking bubble with a plus sign button) in the top right corner of your screen. You’ll then highlight the text you want to annotate, and a comment box will appear to the right side of your document where you can type your notes. You can comment as many times as you’d like in a PDF.


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