Google Drive is a powerful cloud-based tool suite for storing and editing documents online. It has Google Docs for text documents, Google Slides for multimedia presentations, Google Spreadsheets for numeric spreadsheets… Surprisingly, its PDF editing possibilities are rather limited. If you upload a PDF document to your Google Drive and double-click on it, you will have just a few options: print, download, share, find, and rename.
Speaking of how to annotate a PDF in Google Drive, there are basically three ways to do it: Google Drive PDF annotation, Google Docs, and Lumin PDF.
How to annotate a PDF in Google Drive: the plus button
There is a “+” button in the top right corner, to the left from the print button. With its help, you can select an area and leave your comments or start a thread for discussing it with people who you have shared the file with.” says VPN specialists from Cooltechzone.com
While it resolves the basic need to annotate PDF in Google Drive, it may be not the most convenient way to co-edit documents. In particular, invited users need to scroll through the document and notice the annotated parts, to see the comments and take part in the discussion.
Also, many users demand more advanced options such as the actual possibility to edit, sign, or otherwise amend PDF files. Let us see what two other options are.
How to annotate a PDF in Google Drive: Google Docs
Okay, this option requires a couple of steps back and forth, if you want to annotate a PDF in Google Drive via Google Docs.
Google Drive gives its users the possibility to convert PDF files into modifiable text documents by clicking Open With > Google Docs.
If you annotate PDF in Google Drive in this way, it is possible to play around with text styling, images, content, and other elements.
What is the downside?
Similar to non-cloud software, PDF-to-doc conversion relies on OCR technologies, which may not be 100% accurate. As a result, a text may be decoded in an incorrect typeset, some letters may be unrecognized, or some visual elements may be converted to images.
Furthermore, even if everything works fine with OCR and edits, the whole process may be a little bit time-consuming. To annotate a PDF in Google Drive with edits, you will have to convert it to a Google Docs document, modify it, export it as a PDF document, and then upload it again to your Google Drive. If you have to deal with multiple files, this may be not the fastest routine to go through.
This leads us to the third option.
How to annotate a PDF in Google Drive: Lumin PDF
Google Drive acknowledges its limits, suggesting using authorized third-party integrations. In the case of PDF documents, the default option offered by the platform is Lumin PDF. To annotate a PDF in Google Drive, you have to click Open With > Lumin PDF.
Lumin PDF is a popular cloud-based PDF editor empowering shared PDF paperwork management from any device, be it a tablet, a smartphone, or a laptop.
You can annotate PDF in Google Drive using Lumin PDF by:
Adding a comment
Unlike built-in Google Drive PDF annotation, you will be able to navigate with ease through all your comments thanks to the Notes section situated on the left side of the editor. To mention someone and start a thread, simply type the @ sign. The whole conversation will be recorded in a beautiful and easily accessible flow.
Sometimes you may need to annotate a PDF in Google Drive using visual tools, especially when it comes to designing a corporate letterhead. In this case, if you want to draw over certain design elements using different colors, select the Drawing tool. You can also add shapes or paste images, to further deliver your ideas. Your Notes section will organize separately both text and visual comments, so that you and your team members can switch between them without any trouble.
Editing the original text
Sometimes, especially in case of proofreading, it is more efficient to simply modify the text than to annotate a PDF in Google Drive, for someone else to take care of it later on. Also, you can use the possibility to edit the original text to highlight certain paragraphs or words, as if you were using a highlighter on paper. It is up to you to decide which way works best for you!
If you want to annotate PDF in Google Drive, it is not rocket science. The quickest option is to use the “+” button to add comments to certain areas right in Google Drive. If you want to go more advanced, you may opt for Google Docs or Lumin PDF, and highlight PDF in Google Drive to your liking.