I need to annotate a PDF document with Okular in the following way: highlight text, then add a comment for the highlight.

I'm used to PDF XChange Editor where I can use the Highlight-Tool, then double-click the highlight and type a comment for that highlight. I think it's the same with Acrobat Reader.

However, with Okular I did not find an intuitive way of doing it so far: I can highlight or comment, or I could go into the "Annotations" side bar and look for the highlight in the annotations tree. There, I can right-click on a highlight, choose "Open Pop-up Note" and edit the note. However, this is a painfully slow process and not feasible for multiple annotations.

After doing this with a highlight, the description in the Annotation side panel changes from "Highlight" to "Highlight with Comment", so clearly Okular distinguishes between the two. However, I could not find a way of creating "Highlight with Comment" type annotations directly.

How is this supposed to be done with Okular? Is it possible at all?

Btw, I looked at the documentation, which says the following about the highlighting tool:

[...] It is possible to define the Type (Highlight, Squiggle, Underline or Strike out), Color, and Opacity for the highlighter. Just right-click on the highlighted text and select the Properties menu item.

However, right-clicking on the highlighted text does nothing when I do it. Maybe that's the problem? I'm using Okular Version 22.04.1.

If it is not possible with Okular, is there another program with which I can achieve this on Linux (Fedora 36 KDE)?

And if there's a similar question on SU, please direct me to it. I found none that actually match. This wasn't it, this seems beyond the scope of my question, and site-specific searches like this one and this one didn't produce anything helpful either.


1 Answer 1


Well, after not using Okular's annotation feature for a while, I recently wanted to review a document and I found that it is quite painful. The maintainers of Okular might have changed something, because I think it used to be similarly easy as what you describe for the other PDF annotation tools.

Anyway, I found a workflow that's kind of okay. At least it works for me.

  1. Switch to "Browse" mode (because you cannot click on annotations in text selection mode). This step is only needed once.
  2. Press the key for the annotation you want to make (e.g., the 1 is used for highlighting).
  3. Select the text you want to highlight.
  4. Press the key for the annotation again; Okular goes back to "browse" mode.
  5. Double-click the highlighted text to open the text box.
  6. Add text to the highlighting.
  7. Leave the edit mode with Esc.

It is still a bit cumbersome, but much less of a pain compared to searching and opening the annotation in the sidebar.

  • 1
    That's definitely way better, though still quite circuitous. Thanks a lot, at least it's a workable solution! Given that it uses both hands, it's hardly any slower in practice. Only a bit odd that it would be necessary.
    – RL-S
    Aug 31, 2022 at 11:30

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