Best Practices for Using Adobe Acrobat Pro

How to most effectively and efficiently use digital editing tools.


Adobe is well known for its creative software solutions, and along the way, they’ve made a great editing tool even better with Acrobat Pro. Acrobat is the ultimate tool for submitting proofs to clients and print vendors. We recommend these best practices to help communicate more clearly, and get comments and revisions resolved faster.

1. Add PDF Comments instead of scanning handwritten notes.

Typed notes are easier to read and help avoid misinterpretation of different handwriting styles. And unlike handwritten notes, an editor can copy and paste the text, saving time.

Comments can be added to a PDF in Acrobat using different methods. The sticky note and highlighter tool are the default proofing tools when viewing a PDF.

Acrobat toolbar

sticky note Make sticky notes using this icon

You can also right-click anywhere within the PDF and select “Add Sticky Note” to automatically place the note in that specific area.

Highlighter Highlight text with this icon.

This is the best option for providing clear direction on specific words you want to be changed.

To access more options, select Comment in the toolbar on the right, and a second menu will open above with all of the proofing tools.

2. Use Replace and Strikethrough to provide clear direction.

To access more proofing options, select Comment in the toolbar on the right and a secondary toolbar will open above.

proofing toolbar

Avoid using the drawing tools, such as Line or Arrow, for text changes. While these tools are necessary at times, for text edits they’re inefficient and clutter the page. It’s best to simply use the Replace or Strikethrough tools.

replace text Add a note to replace text.

This is best when you want to replace a sentence or more with different content. For changes to single words in a paragraph, use the highlight tool since the blue strikethrough could be easy to miss.

strikethrough Strikethrough text.

This is best when you want a full word or more deleted. Don’t use it for deleting punctuation marks or single letters, since the mark will be very small and easy to miss.


Replace text example

Using Replace Text is much more efficient than using three different tools (Line tool, Arrow tool, and Text Box tool).

replace text example 1b

The Line and Arrow tool also create extra, empty listings in the Comment List, making the list unnecessarily long and unmanageable when looking for what legitimate edits need to be done.

3. Don’t add single letter or punctuation inserts to paragraphs.

They are difficult to notice and increase possibilities for error—even when best practice #4 is followed.

It’s best to copy an entire paragraph from the PDF into a “sticky note” and make changes in the “comment field” (or use the Replace Text tool). This makes it easier for the editor to proofread the revisions.

Here is an example of using a “sticky note”. Place the note over the text you would like to replace with a directive, such as “Change to…”.

example sticky note

By putting a sticky note on the paragraph with the correct text instead of marking up each individual change, the editor can simply copy and paste, ensuring no changes are misinterpreted or missed completely.

4. If reviewing edits, check off each one when complete.

When reviewing edits, use the “Comments” list on the right side of the screen to see all edits requested. Check each edit off one at a time to ensure you catch everything.

Then you can filter edits to view all “Checked” or “Unchecked” comments. This streamlines your workflow if you start reviewing edits but have to come back to them later or hand off the project to someone else.

filter view

Open the funnel icon to filter comments.

Efficiency and effectiveness are not the only reasons to utilize Adobe Acrobat Pro best practices. Our collective electronic footprint is much cleaner and greener than printing paper copies, saving even more of our resources.

We hope these best practices and tips help simplify and streamline your editing process!

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