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[New] Top 5 Free PDF Annotators

PDF is a common and highly-used electronic file format by people and organizations because its contents cannot be altered easily. However, there are several instances you would want to emphasize, bring attention to certain content, or highlight content for re-reading. This is where annotation becomes important.

Annotation is becoming an important feature in team collaboration for highlighting content and making comments in real-time for other members to react. However, you need the best PDF annotator to get the best PDF annotation experience. There are several free PDF annotators but finding the right one can prove tricky. Fortunately, this article takes you through a complete guide on the top 5 free PDF annotators.

free pdf annotator

1. Wondershare PDFelement – Free PDF Annotator for Windows and Mac

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Free Plan: It offers a free trial plan with several good features.
Premium Plan: It has several affordable premium plans. Upgrading to a premium plan unlocks better features and experience.
Main Annotation Features:

· Highlight texts/sections/areas of a PDF file including scanned PDF files.

· Insert desired shapes, including rectangles, triangles, ellipses, etc.

· Insert text markups.

· Add comments and edit comment properties.

· Add attachments.

· Stamp a PDF.

· Remove annotations.

· OCR feature which allows users to add annotation and highlight in scanned PDF files.


· It offers plenty of annotation and other PDF features.

· It has an intuitive and easy-to-use interface.

· It is compatible with virtually all devices.

· It is fast and reliable.

· It offers a free trial version and affordable premium versions.

Cons: · You have to subscribe to the premium version to unlock certain features.
free pdf annotator pdfelement

Wondershare PDFelement - PDF Editor is, without bias, the best free PDF annotator for Windows and Mac. This program is designed with the user in mind and has nearly all the features you need from a modern PDF annotator and editor. The annotation features seamlessly transform how you annotate your PDF files. It gives you flexibility and convenience. Thanks to the speed, compatibility, and collection of excellent features.

With PDFelement, you can add text markups in your PDF file, including underline, strikethrough, area highlight, squiggly, and caret. This program also lets you add desired shapes like rectangles, lines, ovals, polygons, and connected lines. You can add comments to PDF documents and effortlessly edit comment properties to meet your needs.

If you want to show ownership of your PDF, you can annotate it with stamps and then manage the stamps for reuse. Again, this program supports attaching a file as a comment. This makes it super-easy to reference longer documents. When you change the location of your PDF file, it will move together with the attachment.

PDFelement is the number 1 PDF editor out there, with all the latest features to suit your needs. Watch the video to know more.

2. Adobe Acrobat Reader – Free PDF Annotator for Windows and Mac

Compatibility: Adobe Acrobat Reader is compatible with major devices and operating systems, including Windows, Mac, iPhone, and iPad. It is not available for Linux.
Free Plan: The free trial version is available but only for seven days. Once the period expires, you need to upgrade to the premium version for a better experience.
Premium Plan: The premium plans are available for individuals from $19.99 to $12.99 per month.
Main Annotation Features:

· Sticky notes.

· Highlight desired texts in your PDF.

· Draw desired geometric shapes on your PDF.

· Add signatures and stamps to PDF content.

· Underline and strikethrough texts in your PDF.

· Attach multimedia files to your PDF file.


· It is compatible with many devices.

· It offers plenty of PDF tools, including an array of annotation features.


· The subscriptions are pricey compared to other same-purpose tools.

· The free version is limited, and you need to upgrade to the premium version to get better features.

free pdf annotator adobe

Adobe Acrobat Reader is undoubtedly one of the best PDF annotators. This program offers a good platform to annotate and make your PDF files look more appealing and professional. Thanks to its assortment of PDF annotation features. With Adobe, you can seamlessly highlight your PDF file's target texts or desired areas. You can proceed to add comments, underline, strikethrough, and add sticky notes to desired texts.

Furthermore, Adobe allows you to add a text box to your PDF. You can add them anywhere on the PDF and insert desired texts to meet your needs. Again, you can draw free forms and add stamps to show ownership of your PDF file.

Adobe also offers options to add target shapes and multimedia files. You can also insert a signature as an annotation. There are several annotation features under the "Comments" tab. You can explore them and search and filter particular annotations on your PDF file.

3. Microsoft OneNote – Free PDF Annotator for Web

Compatibility: It is compatible with Windows and Mac. The web version is also available.
Free Plan: It provides a free plan. However, most of its features are deactivated.
Premium Plan: The premium plan is available starting from $6.99 per month. It offers better features compared to the free version.
Main Annotation Features:

· Highlight PDF text using different colors.

· Strikethrough texts.

· Draw shapes, arrows, and directions with desired colors.

· Users can insert text boxes anywhere on the canvas and enter notes.


· It is easy to use.

· Users can share their work directly on the program.

· Users can change their highlights' color, font, size, and opacity levels.


· It lacks advanced annotation features.

· Users cannot upload files directly. You only open it as an attachment.

free pdf annotator microsoft note

Microsoft OneNote is among the best PDF annotator tools in the market. This program is primarily a note-taking app for Windows and Mac systems but offers plenty of other functions, including annotations.

Microsoft Note is available as a standalone tool for Mac and Windows. It is also available on the web, but you cannot open a file directly. You can only open it as an attachment and view it in the UI. Once opened, you can use plenty of PDF annotation tools to annotate your PDF file.

Microsoft OneNote allows users to highlight texts and change the color, font, opacity, and size. Other annotation functions, like shapes, help make your document more easily appealing. You can use different shapes, including arrows, squares, rectangles, circles, and directions. The good thing is that you can also change the colors of these shapes. If you are unsatisfied with selected annotations, you can always erase them via the eraser option.

4. Foxit Reader - Free PDF Annotator for Business

Compatibility: Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, and web.
Free Plan: It offers a free trial plan that expires after 14 days.
Premium Plan: The premium plans are available from $14.99-$149.00.
Main Annotation Features:

· Add notes to PDF.

· Create note comments.

· Highlight desired texts.

· Strikeout texts.

· Underline texts.

· Draw shapes.


· It offers several annotation features.

· It supports several devices, including Mac, Windows, and Linux.

· It has a user-friendly interface.


· The free trial version expires after 14 days and is limited.

· Better features are available in the pricey subscriptions.

· It doesn't provide multiple device subscriptions.

free pdf annotator foxit

Foxit Reader is a powerful PDF editor and annotator tool. It has a simple and user-friendly interface that makes user navigation easier and full of fun. This PDF annotator offers several annotation tools. Users can highlight desired texts or regions in the PDF and make notes or comments.

The comments note is essential if you want to ask questions, discuss some content, or make suggestions with team members. It gives you a note that expands to a speech bubble containing personal details such as name and date.

Foxit Reader allows users to underline texts in a PDF for emphasis or strikethrough the texts you feel should not be part of the texts. You can also insert or replace texts depending on your need. Again, Foxit Reader supports annotation with shapes. Users can add desired shapes to the target PDF content.

5. Qiqqa - Free PDF Annotator for Windows Only

Compatibility: Windows
Free Plan: The free version is available but offers basic features.
Premium Plan: The premium version offers extra features. It is available from $6.67-$41.67 per month.
Main Annotation Features:

· Highlight texts or areas in a PDF file.

· Draw desired shapes on the PDF.

· Add and select target PDF texts.

· Add annotation comments to a PDF.


· It offers basic annotation features.

· It is also a good PDF viewer.

· It offers a free version.


· The free version is limited. Better features are available with the pricey subscriptions.

· The interface looks basic.

· Not compatible with many devices.

free pdf annotator qiqqa

Qiqqa is a fairly good PDF annotation tool worth trying. This program is free, but you can upgrade to premium versions to unlock better features. With this program, you can easily highlight desired PDF texts/sections on your PDF.

Furthermore, you can draw desired shapes on your PDF with the help of a pencil. Again, you can select texts and add texts to the document. Qiqqa also supports annotation comments. Therefore, you can comment on the content with ease. However, better features are available in the premium version.


It is no secret that several PDF annotator tools exist in the market. A handful of them gives you the right service and experience. You can't risk picking just any PDF annotator if you are handling essential PDF tasks.

Fortunately, we have made your work easier here. While you can try several PDF annotators, the above 5 annotation tools are the cherries on top. Select the one that can meet your PDF task requirements and transform how you annotate your PDF files.

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