Making Adobe More Tablet Friendly: How to Use Ink to Edit, Mark-Up, Secure and Send Your PDF Files

The way my Adobe came packaged (version 7.0 Professional), it’s not particularly “Tablet PC Friendly.” I want to be able to “mark up” a PDF with my stylus the same way I would mark up a paper copy with a red ink pen.

As a writer and a marketing specialist, my clients often send me documents and marketing materials in PDF format for my review. And, when mobile, it’s the format I prefer. But it’s not that simple to mark up these PDFs and send them back to a client with recommendations with a stylus. And, it should be!

Enter PDF Annotator: (http://www.ograhl.com/en/pdfannotator/index.php). If you don’t have the full version of Adobe, I’m sure this thing would be worth its weight in gold (and the fairly hefty price — $50–for a small piece of software that serves only one function.)

But, with my current sizable investment in the Adobe Software, I wanted to figure out how to do the same thing with existing software. I hate having duplications in software functionality. It’s wasteful!

And, I’m happy to report, I found the way…


I’m going to be redoing my Tablet sometime soon, and I’m working right now to determine which of my applications, software, etc, are essential. I’ve maxed the little guy out with all my beta testing and performance “limit-pushing” and generally working the devil out of it.
Now it’s time to start with a clean slate and reinstall only the cream of the crop for what I want and what I do. It’s time to stop playing and get back to work… sigh.

(So I dedicated a couple hours this morning to poking around on Adobe — cause I didn’t want to get back to work, I wanted to “play” more!)

I must admit that I primarily use Adobe as a way to print PDF files – something that the new version of Office will do for free — so I guess it’s time to determine if I even want to keep Adobe in the future. For now, I will. Afterall, I use it nearly every day. And I probably will in the future, now that I can ink it up and since I still want the security options for “locking down” documents before sending sensitive information.

I took a few moments to research and jot down the ways to improve the use of ink with this particular program on my own Tablet, in the hope that it would help others trying to accomplish the same thing:

First Rearrange your tool bars to be more effective for inking.

Right click on the top toolbar area and be sure that the following toolbars are at the top:

  1. File – has open, save, print, organizer, etc.
  2. Basic – Hand tool (for dragging), select tool and Snapshot tool
  3. Zoom – handles viewing sizes easily
  4. Rotate – to easily toggle between portrait and landscape views (particularly handy on a tablet PC)
  5. Editing – spell check, undo, redo, etc.
  6. Advanced Editing – selection tools, including one of my personal favorites the Text Touchup tool — making small corrections on the fly with this saves reworking the original file in a pinch — or when you are mobile and in a hurry.
  7. Drawing markups (the all-important pencil tool is located here — under the arrow dropdown menu)
  8. Tasks – this has comment, markup and digital signature options.
  9. Commenting toolbar (especially nice for making notes to myself on a project using a voice recording) or pull out note “stickies” in typewritten format or mark a version as draft, final, etc. with the stamp feature.
  10. Keep the printer toolbar for adjusting the final copy to a particular printer’s specifications.
  11. Measurement – ok, I keep this one up because it’s just soooo cool.

I wish Adobe had a way to create a custom toolbar, that would make things easier. (And perhaps they do, but I simply haven’t found it yet.) I’m NOT an Adobe expert. I just use it for the basics.

To Mark Up Your PDF:

  1. Click the arrow tool (in the Drawing Markups toolbar) and use the drop down menu to select the pencil tool.
  2. Now right click and select the “properties” bar. From here, you can select your ink color (or lead color, as the case may be) and you can select the check box for “Keep Tool Selected” — that won’t carry over until the next time you open the program, unfortunately, but it will keep it selected during the current editing and notation session.
  3. Use the pencil tool to mark up at will, use the eraser tool (Located just under the pencil tool) to correct mistakes.

Print a PDF Copy Reflecting Your Mark Ups and Comments:

  1. When you are finished, you can reprint this as a different PDF file to save the changes and the notes you have made.
  2. To make this work, go to the print button in the file menu toolbar. When the options come up, select PDF as your printer name and under the “properties” button you
    will see “comments and forms” as a drop-down option.
  3. Select “Document and Markups” — this will remain in place until you change it, even
    across editing sessions. Notice that the comments in “ink” are visible in the preview.

[Note: You can print one each way (one with the document only and one with your notes and markups) so you can decide how much you send the other party and
how many of those notes are for your eyes only.]

Once your toolbars are set up and your printer settings are configured, it’s pretty easy to take any PDF, open it in your Full Adobe program, select a pencil (the color you select becomes your default color, BTW), write yourself notes, stamp it, add voice notes and other items, then print off the original including (or without) your editing notes. You can secure it using the security settings as usual and then send to anyone via email.

You don’t need another program on your tablet, you just need to tweak this one a bit to meet your needs!

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