Shortcut to taking notes using Adobe Acrobat

This week I tried out a new way to take notes and it saved me a ton of time!

The first time was during the NINES conference yesterday. I had a PDF of the notes from the speakers. I opened up the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat. (Note: This doesn’t work with Adobe Reader, which is free. Acrobat does come bundled with some programs, so check your computer to see if you have it.)

Here’s a section of how the notes looked when I opened it.

I went up to the menu and selected Comments > Show Comments & Markup Toolbar. It looks like this on a Mac.

The fourth icon with the yellow marker and yellow box with a “T” in it is for highlighting. You just drag it over the text and release and it highlights the text. I also used the sixth icon, the white box with three horizontal black lines in it. It draws a box that you can write text in it. So when I was done, my notes looked like this.

This saved me so much time — I hardly had to type at all and would highlight the things that really struck me.

Then for my seminary class, I did the same thing. I opened up the PDF file of slides and took notes directly on it. This time I used the callout tool (outlined red box with an arrow coming out of it — the fifth icon). It let me point to the exact word I wanted to take notes on.

The before view.

The after view.

Now when I review my notes, it’s all there and I can write down more things to remember because I don’t have to retype all the text!

A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — and teaches leadership skills at

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