But this “highly uneditable” feature is also PDF’s disadvantage to other “easily editable” formats like txt, rtf and doc. While it’s possible to create PDF documents with fillable forms (you can download an example of such a thing from Adobe’s site), the creation process requires advanced PDF tools – which are expensive and not accessible by most people.
So should we get the expensive PDF tools just to create a so-called interactive document? If you are using Mac, there are better solutions to this problem. Mac systems come with native tools to create and annotate PDF documents easily.
How to Create PDF Documents
We’ll start with the easy part: creating the PDF. When I first switched to Mac, I searched all over the web for an application to create PDF documents without knowing that this ability already comes natively with Mac.
All you have to do is “print” the document using the “File > Print” menu or “Command + P” shortcut.
Then, instead of clicking the “Print” button, you click the “PDF” button and choose the “Save as PDF” option.
The Save window is pretty basic, you write down the file name and you choose the save location.
But there’s an additional feature that you can apply to the document: security. Click the “Security Options” button and a new window will appear, letting you put in a password to open the document, to copy the content, and to print the document. All you have to do is to check the box(es) in front of your security choice(s) and write down the preferred password(s).
After everything is set, you can click the “OK” and “Save” buttons.
Annotating A PDF
The default Mac OS X document opener (and also a PDF reader) – Preview, has an underused feature called Annotate. This ability allows users to slightly modify, including adding notes, ordinary PDF documents. While completely editing the PDF is still out of the question, it’s possible to fill in any PDF form using the annotation feature.
When you open PDF with Preview, you’ll quickly see the “Annotate” icon in the toolbar. This feature is also accessible from the “Tools > Annotate” menu.
Clicking the icon will open up the Annotate bar at the bottom of the window.
There are several annotation tools available for you to use. You can add:
- Arrow (Command + Control + A)
- Oval (Command + Control + O)
- Rectangle (Command + Control + R)
- Text (Command + Control + T)
- Note (Command + Control + N)
- and Link (Command + Control + L)
You can also modify the text by giving it:
- Highlight (Command + Control + H)
- Strike through (Command + Control + S)
- and Underline (Command + Control + U)
After annotating the PDF, you can select and view those annotations quickly by opening the sidebar and choose the annotation view.
And don’t forget to save the document if you want to keep your annotations.
To those who often create PDF documents, these features might not look impressive. But for ordinary folks like me who have just discovered the tools, this annotation ability will surely come in handy.
Do you feel that your life is surrounded by PDFs? Do you annotate your documents? Share your thoughts and opinions using the comments below.