In Adobe Acrobat Pro you can do things like put little sticky notes in PDFs, highlight text, and create bookmarks. I have found this very useful for learning. In school you learn better when you put your notes right in the textbook. Some of the material is now delivered in pdf form.

However I've switched to Linux. I find that there are several programs that can read PDFs, but they can't do all those useful things I just mentioned.

Are there any linux programs that can? I found a program that converts pdfs to ps format. If I convert a pdf to a ps file, are there programs that let you do these kinds of things?

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    Nowadays, libpoppler already supports annotations, evince has been getting support to read it (already there) and support to add and change (there were still some issues last time I checked). But I'd advise against using PDF annotations -- as of today these are still not that widely supported, and it seems most viewers don't have a way to print the PDF with the annotations. At least with xournal you can extract vectorial annotations (even handwritten ones) and anyone who gets it in PDF form will be able to both read and print. – njsg Feb 11 '13 at 11:56

Xournal can be used to annotate PDFs (and with proper text, not just like the rather whimsical screenshot).


I've used it to fill in non-interactive PDF forms.

  • finally.. found some pdf reader on par with Adobe's.. where were you Xournal for the last six years.. :( – MycrofD Sep 19 '18 at 7:13

If you are using KDE, you can try Okular, the standard document viewer of this desktop environment. When in review mode, it can add a large number of highlights and annotations to PDF files

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    One problem with Okular is that you can't resize inline annotations. It's been on the bug list for 6+ years now, so no telling if that's actually going to get fixed. – William Everett Jul 27 '15 at 18:53
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    Another poblem is, that other pdf-viewers dont display the annotations – Alex Jun 17 '16 at 10:29

I use pdfescape and edit my pdfs online. The comments are saved to the original pdf. http://www.pdfescape.com/

Update: Master PDF editor, which is free for linux (non-commercial use), is also a good option. I have been using this for almost a year now, and it suits most of my needs.

  • An edit was submitted by an anonymous user claiming to be you. If that was yours and you want to edit your own answer, you need to do it under the original user name and eliminate the duplicate login. – fixer1234 Dec 12 '14 at 6:18

Mendeley can do all of this, plus it is an awesome software for keeping track of your PDF:s (with searching, tagging etc). Also, PDF XChange Viewer is a free windows program that can do this too, and works well under Wine (it's even very fast). I have used both of these for taking notes during my engineering studies.

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    I tried Mendeley.. Other pdf readers cannot display the annotations properly.. they look broken.. – MycrofD Sep 19 '18 at 7:16

The Foxit Reader is also available in a native version for Linux and offers a plethora of annotation features.

Software: https://www.foxitsoftware.com/products/pdf-reader/


  • Indeed. Tried Foxit now, and it is by far the best solution I've came across on Linux. – Samuel Lampa Feb 8 at 10:17

Adobe Reader X can add Sticky Notes (Crtl-6) to PDFs. At least in Windows it can. You might want to try this in Linux.

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    Adobe Reader can add comments only if the original PDF enables adding comments (and only paid versions of Adobe can create such a PDF). – choroba Jan 19 '12 at 14:49
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    No adobe Reader X for Linux will be found currently. – kamae Feb 29 '12 at 18:45
  • helpx.adobe.com/security/products/reader-linux.html shows the development of Adobe Reader for Linux stopped with v9. – K7AAY Aug 20 '18 at 18:19

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