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Allen Press Guide to PDF Annotation

Welcome to this integrated visual guide designed to demonstrate the best ways to make annotations on your Allen Press PDF proofs, which is vital for accuracy in all revision cycles. At Allen Press, we use Adobe Acrobat to view and annotate PDF proofs, and we recommend that our customers do as well. If you don’t have Adobe Acrobat products, you can download the free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader from this website: We use this program in the videos throughout this guide, so you should be able to follow right along with us!

To begin, we have some general rules that cover overall best practices in marking PDF proofs. Following the Do’s and Don’ts of annotating PDFs in the chart below ensures that your annotations are clear and that corrections to your proofs can be made efficiently.

DO use the appropriate tool for the type of correction you want to make DON’T ever edit or alter the PDF text directly
DO strive to use a single annotation tool per correction DON’T use multiple annotation tools for the same correction
DO be as clear and concise as possible in your comments DON’T leave discussion chains between separate parties or leave unexplained blank annotations

Introduction to Adobe Acrobat Reader 

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Basic Functions

Let’s start with some of the basic functions in Adobe Acrobat Reader. Choosing the Comment tool (Indicate to reader to select comment ) from the options in the right pane will bring up a new toolbar at the top of the screen containing the Comment tools. Only a handful of these tools are needed to indicate your changes, and we will discuss each of them in the following sections.

The video above shows the locations for the primary Text Tools:

Highlight tool Highlight tool image
Strikethrough tool Strikethrough tool image
Text Replace tool Text replace tool image

Clicking on the Drawing Tool drop-down (see image in table below) allows you to place the individual drawing tools permanently on your toolbar by selecting Expand Drawing Tools. Now you can easily access the Line, Rectangle, and Connected Line tools.

Drawing tool drop-down Drawing tool image
Line tool Line tool image
Rectangle tool Rectangle tool image
Connected Line tool Connected line tool image

Clicking on any of these tools in the Comment toolbar will allow you to begin making the corresponding type of annotation, whether you begin selecting text or drawing a shape. If you can’t see all the drawing tools when the toolbar is expanded, you can either widen your Acrobat screen or click the three-dot symbol to see all the available tool options.

Now that you know where these tools are located in Acrobat, you can start making annotations. The next two video sections will show the best way to use each of our recommended Comment tools. Ensure that the text in your comment is accurate and concise so we are all on the same page for your desired corrections. There are additional notes in the “General Tips and Tricks” section below for more pointers.

If you accidentally make an annotation that you didn’t intend to make, you can quickly and easily delete it. If you have the Comment pane open, you can click on the undesired comment and press the Delete key on your keyboard. Or, if you right click on an annotation in the PDF, you can select the Delete option from the right-click menu.

That covers the basic functions; now we’ll move on to tips and tricks.

General Tips and Tricks

  • When the Comment pane is open on the right side of the page, clicking on a correction will take you to the place in the proof where the annotation is located; the annotation is outlined in blue for easy identification.
    • Double-clicking on the actual comment text in the Comment pane will allow you to edit the text of the comment.
    • Once you’ve clicked on a comment, clicking on the Add a reply… field will allow you to add a comment nested beneath the original one. Please use this function to reply to Allen Press Proofreader or Typesetter queries (signed AP/PR, AP/TS, or AP/DL).
  • When the Comment pane is collapsed, hovering over an annotation made with one of the Comment tools will display a small pop-up window that shows the comment text.
    • Double-clicking on an annotation made with one of the Comment tools will open a pop-up field where the comment text can be edited.
  • When you need to use the same Comment tool to make multiple nearby annotations but mark different changes, you can easily change the color of one or more of them. This can create a visual distinction between like annotations, such as a highlighting text to be italic next to highlighting text to be small caps.
    • To change an annotation’s color right-click an annotation on the proof and select Properties from the right-click menu. This will display a pop-up menu on the Appearance tab where you can select a new color and click OK to change it.
    • Note that changing the color of annotations isn’t mandatory at all. However, if it helps you keep better track of the changes, feel free to do so.

Making Annotations with Text Tools

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The following Text Tools are integral to annotating changes on your proof. These tools can cover a wide range of text-based annotations, and with each tool listed we indicate some of the most common types of corrections.

One of the most important factors in making an annotation with a Text Tool is carefully selecting the text that you wish to include for the intended edit. This selection is crucial in making sure that the changes are made correctly. Selecting more or less text than intended could result in incorrect formatting or unnecessary changes. There are two primary ways to make these kinds of annotations:

  1. Click the relevant toolbar icon.
  2. Select the desired text, right-click the highlighted portion, and select the tool from the right-click menu.

Highlight Tool

This is perfect for indicating changes to text formatting or style, without changing the actual characters of the selected text. This commonly includes marking:

  • Italic” text to be “roman”
  • Boldface” text to be “lightface”
  • “Lightface roman” text to be “boldface italic
  • Full-sized characters to be subscript
    • “CO2” to be “CO2
  • Lowercase letters to be styled as small caps
    • “Guide to PDF Annotation” to be ”GUIDE TO PDF ANNOTATION

Strikethrough Tool

This is ideal for selecting text that needs to be deleted. This one is straightforward; however, always be careful that your selection includes only the text you want removed from the proof.

Replace Text Tool

This is great for when you have some text that needs a change in wording. The rule above applies to this tool, too: make sure that your selection is accurate. Additionally, when making these annotations, double-check that the new text in the comment matches up with the selection. It’s very easy to accidentally add extra words or punctuation that may affect the meaning of your text if you aren’t careful!

Making Annotations with Drawing Tools

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The following Drawing Tools are ideal for marking overall formatting changes to your proof, as opposed to altering the text itself. Select the desired tool in the Comment toolbar, and then use your mouse to draw the lines or rectangles right where you want them on the proof. Note that holding the Shift key when using the Line or Connected Line tool will snap those lines to a grid that keeps them on clean angles.

As with Text Tools, it’s important with Drawing Tools to use the appropriate tool to clearly convey which section of the page you want to change. You can even give a hint of the change through the style and placement of the shape itself. However, don’t forget that all of these annotations can also have comments attached to give directions or clarifications. Here are some of the most common uses for these tools:

Line Tool

  • Marking simple alignment of text
  • Indicating inserted text for freestanding or separate text items (e.g., adding a reference, footnote, or full paragraph)
  • Inserting or removing space between elements

Rectangle Tool

  • Selecting table columns for correcting data alignment
  • Indicating an entire large element, such as a table or figure

Connected Line Tool

  • Transposing separate textual elements
  • Indicating line breaks, especially in math or other areas difficult to highlight

Thank you for reading through this annotation documentation, and we hope that you have learned some new ways to efficiently—and clearly—mark your PDF proofs from Allen Press. If you have any further questions about this guide, please contact your Account Manager and they would be happy to provide you with any further information needed!

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