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Top 5 Free PDF Annotation Apps with Step-by-step Annotating Guides (2024 Updated)

August 4, 2023 3.2K views

A PDF annotation app is used to insert comments and notes while proofreading the document. The annotation aims to give feedback on the paper right inside the PDF. There are numerous PDF annotators available on the internet. Choosing the best one that suits your needs and preferences is tough.

What is a PDF annotation app, and how many functions does a powerful pdf annotator have? Which is the best one and also free to use? In this article, we will answer all your questions regarding PDF annotators, and this article will also help you to read details about the top 5 free PDF annotation apps.

Part 1: What is PDF Annotation, and How Does It Work?

PDF annotation refers to providing feedback by inserting comments and notes in the proofread documents. You can insert comments anywhere in the document. You can share the document with anyone, and your teammates can see all the comments and notes inserted by you.

How Does  A PDF Annotator Work?

  • Add notes, corrections, and comments anywhere in the document. You can also add handwritten annotations using a tablet PC.

  • Save your document and share it with your friends, teammates, or coworkers.

  • You can restore your document to the original format anytime with a single click.

  • You can add or remove and re-order the pages in the document.

Part 2: 5 Best Free PDF Annotation Apps with Annotating Steps

There are plenty of PDF annotators available on the internet. A user may need help to select the best one of all. Here is a list of the top 5 best free PDF annotation apps with a detailed annotation guide.

1. WPS Office (Highly Recommended)

WPS PDF


Product Description

WPS Office is the best PDF annotator available nowadays. It is highly recommended due to its various outstanding and unique features. WPS Office is a complete Office suite having a Writer, presentation, spreadsheet, and PDF software. You can easily edit, annotate, convert, and compress your PDF using WPS PDF. You can use WPS Office for PDF annotations on Mac and Windows.

WPS Office: Use Word, Excel, and PPT for FREE, No Ads.

Main Features

  • It Includes different Office tools, e.g., Writer, PDF, Spreadsheet, and Presentation software.

  • Free to use

  • Compatible with all file formats of Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat

  • Supports all devices, including Windows, Mac, Linux, iOs, and Android

  • Advanced PDF editing and annotating features

Supported Device

Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS

Price

Free to use for the standard version.

Pros

  • User-friendly interface

  • Free to use

  • It contains all advanced features

  • Includes PDF conversion, combine, and split functions

Free Download Steps

  • Visit the official website of the WPS Office at wps.com.

  • Click the Free Download button and run the installer to download and install WPS Office on your PC or Mac.

Steps for Annotating PDF files with WPS Office

Step 1: Open your PDF using WPS Office PDF.

Step 2: Click the Comment tab from the toolbar menu.

Step 3: Insert comments, notes, and textbox, or highlight the text and save your document to share with your coworkers or teammates.

PDF annotation options


2. Adobe Acrobat (Original )

Adobe Acrobat


Product Description

Adobe Acrobat is a famous PDF software used for many years. It provides all the standard and advanced PDF annotations for Windows and Mac. You can also create PDF files from scratch using Adobe Acrobat. It is also used to convert PDFs to different formats.

Main Features

  • View, store, edit, and share your PDFs conveniently.

  • Complete forms fast and add your signature or initials. Then share a link with others.

  • Add text boxes, sticky notes, and highlights, and share the PDF to get others' input in one file.

  • Access your files from any device

Supported Devices

Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android

Price

Free to use with essential functions, and requires a paid subscription to use all advanced features.

Pros

  • Quickly edit, manage, convert, and sign PDFs

  • Text-to-speech feature if you do not want to read the document

Free Download Steps

  • Visit the official website of Adobe Acrobat and click the Download Adobe Acrobat button.

Steps for annotating PDF files with Adobe Acrobat

Step 1: Open the PDF with Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Step 2: Click the Comment icon and then click Add a comment.

Step 3: You can also Insert text and replace the selected text. Save the PDF to share with others after the annotation is completed.

3. Foxit (Ease for Beginners)

Foxit PDF editor


Product Description

Foxit Reader is another PDF software for creating, editing, and annotating documents. It is free and convenient to use for beginners. You can easily read and share PDFs using Foxit.

Main Features

  • Form filling and eSign features

  • Read PDF anywhere - available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and web

  • Collaborate and share PDFs using Cloud integration

  • Protect and encrypt PDFs

Supported Devices

Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and web

Price

Free to use for a trial period

Pros

  • Simple and easy user interface

  • Night mode feature to view PDFs at night

Cons

  • Slow response while loading large-size PDF files

  • It is hard to judge which PDF is active while considering multiple PDFs

Free Download Steps

  • Visit the official website of Foxit.

  • Click the Download Free Trial button to download the Foxit PDF editor.

Steps for annotating PDF files with Foxit PDF Editor

Step 1: Open the PDF using Foxit PDF Editor.

Step 2: Click the Comment tab in the toolbar menu.

Annotate with Foxit PDF Editor


Step 3: Perform your necessary annotation, e.g., insert text, comments, highlight text, etc.

Step 4: Save the document and share it with others.

4. PDF-XChange (Easy-to-use)

Product Description

PDF-Xchange is an excellent PDF annotator for users familiar with Microsoft Word because it has a similar interface to MS Word. A variety of PDF annotation free tools are available in PDF-Xchange.

Main Features

  • Create stunning documents using PDF-Xchange.

  • Create dynamic stamps

  • Create editable forms

  • Integrated with OneDrive to save your documents

PDF-Xchange


Supported Devices

Windows, Mac, iOS

Price

Free to use as a trial version

Pros

  • Familiar user interface

  • A lot of tools for annotation

Cons

  • It does not allow PDF creation

  • Watermark removal is not available in the free version

Free Download Steps

  • Visit the official website of Tracker-Software to download PDF-Xchange.

  • Click the Download button.

Steps for annotating PDF files with PDF-Xchange

Step 1: Open your PDF file with PDF-Xchange.

Step 2: Click the Comment tab in the toolbar menu.

PDF-Xchange annotation


Step 3: Annotate your documents as per your requirement and save the document to share with others.

5. PDF Expert (Good for Mac)

Product Description

PDF Expert is a popular PDF editor for Windows and Mac users. You can insert comments, highlight text, and add notes and stamps to annotate your PDF file. You can also edit, combine, convert, and protect PDFs using PDF Expert.

Main Features

  • Edit and modify PDFs easily

  • Convert PDFs to 200+ file formats

  • Turn scanned documents and images into editable PDFs

  • Secure and protect PDFs with a password

Supported Devices

Windows, Mac, iOS

Price

Free for a trial period. Different price plans for Home, Professional, and Ultimate versions

Pros

  • Includes common annotation features

  • Simple user interface

Cons

  • Not suitable for large PDFs

Free Download Steps

  • Visit the official website of PDF Expert.

  • Hit the Download button.

Steps for annotating PDF files with PDF Expert

Step 1: Open your PDF with PDF Expert.

Step 2: Make necessary annotations and save your file to share with others.

Annotate with PDF Expert


Part 3: Why We Need a Free PDF Annotation App?

Annotating PDF documents helps you to provide feedback on a document by highlighting the text, inserting or removing text, and many other functions. Here are some reasons why you need a free PDF annotation app.

Quick Document Management

You can quickly and efficiently manage your documents by eliminating sending multiple emails to teammates for editing the file. Just annotate the document and share it with your teammates at remote locations.

Collaboration

PDF annotation allows multiple users to view and edit the document simultaneously.

Note-taking

Users can add their notes to the document, highlight important sections, or underline key points, which can help them remember important information and stay organized.

Reviewing

Users can add comments, corrections, or suggestions to the document, which can help the author improve the quality of the work.

Presentations

Users can add annotations or notes to the document, which can help them remember essential points or emphasize certain aspects of the presentation.

Legal documents

Users can add their signatures to the legal document, highlight important clauses, or add comments or suggestions, which can help ensure the document is legally binding and accurate.

Studying

Users can add notes, highlight important sections, and organize information to make studying and retaining the material more accessible.

Trustpilotstars4.8
WPS Office- Free All-in-One Office Suite
  • Use Word, Excel, and PPT for FREE, No Ads.

  • Edit PDF files with the powerful PDF toolkit.

  • Microsoft-like interface. Easy to learn. 100% Compatibility.

  • Boost your productivity with WPS's abundant free Word, Excel, PPT, and CV templates.

5,820,008 User
avator
Algirdas Jasaitis

FAQs

Q1: How do I annotate a PDF in Chrome?

You can install the Adobe Acrobat extension in your Chrome browser. All PDF files will open in Adobe Acrobat. You can easily annotate using the Comment option.

Q2: How can I annotate a PDF on Mac?

Open the PDF document you want to annotate. Click the Show Markup Toolbar button in the top right corner. Make the necessary annotations and save the document.

Top 5 Free PDF Annotation Apps - Wrap up

This article discusses the top 5 free PDF annotation apps with step-by-step annotating guides.  There are numerous other PDF annotation apps available on the internet. However, WPS Office is the best PDF annotation software.

WPS Office is a complete office suite having a Writer, Presentation, Spreadsheet, and PDF software. It is compatible with all Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat reader file formats. You can easily open your Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Adobe PDF files using the WPS Office suite.  WPS Office is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android users. You can create stunning and professional documents using WPS Office. It is available on its official website as a free download.


15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.