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Digital Note Taking with Adobe Reader

Ed Tech Made Easy

Reading and note-taking on paper is so web 1.0… thanks to the new features on Adobe Reader.


PDFs have always been a valuable tool for sharing documents digitally, but now Adobe Reader makes it easy to adapt, highlight and comment on PDFs on the computer. This saves the hassle of printing, making notes and potentially losing those notes in a sea of other papers.


From a teaching perspectives, this is also valuable because you can you add notes, additional direction or other adaptations to ready-made worksheets and reading materials for your students. You can even post them to the class website or blog for easy access.

Since some of these features are “hidden,” I am going to take you on a tour.

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Currently, I am taking an online class and all of my reading is in the form of PDF's. I do not print my reading materials because I am able to do so many other things by leaving the reading in digital format.

Locate & Highlight Words
For example, I can use the search feature to find all the 'assistive' vocabulary in the chapter. The red arrow points to the search window. You see the words assistive highlighted in yellow.

Digital Note Taking with Adobe Reader

This is helpful for me as a reader to be sure that I have read all the important vocabulary.


Add Emphasis with Arrows

The next feature I am enjoying is the arrow! I can select a color and then draw an arrow to point to a word, idea, paragraph, image, graph, whatever I deem important to me.

Digital Note Taking with Adobe Reader

To get to the toolbar with the arrows, Click on the annotat button next to buttons to previous, next, zoom, move, text, select.. By clicking on the annotate button, I bring up another smaller toolbar shown with the big blue arrow in the bottom left of the page.

Digital Note Taking with Adobe Reader

Other Adobe Tools
The blue arrow here is point to the smaller tool bar you can use to add symbols, arrows, ovals, rectangles, text, comments, links, or to highlight text, strikethrough, underline, add color to shapes, adjust line size and finally pick fonts.

Digital Note Taking with Adobe Reader

Adding Notes & Comments
In this example above, I went to town to show you all the awesome things you can do with Adobe Reader by:


1. Making a red oval to contain an important paragraph
2. Choosing a color and highlight a specific sentence
3. Putting a strikethrough over another sentence
4. Typing my own sentence
4. Creating a sticky note with my comment about my reading in the gray corner area
5. Making a green rectangle to contain the strikethrough sentence

Normally, I wouldn't put this many notes on one page or one area, but you get the point.

Saving and Sharing Your Work
Once you’re done making notes and saving, you can share your marked-up PDF by:


  • Easily attaching your PDF files in your emails
  • Adding them as class notes on your Moodle or Blackboard site
  • Using Google Docs to upload the PDF and get a private or public link!


Another plus, you will be saving paper by keeping your digital materials in a folder on your computer or laptop.


How would you use these tools in your classroom? Share in the comments section!