PDFs are one of the most common files these days. A wide range of people use them to share and read documents. It’s quite easy to use these files, but some people struggle to edit/annotate them since they are not editable by nature.

However, you may avoid this issue by marking your PDF files in OneNote. This is Microsoft software for managing files and pages. It includes an OCR tool – namely the optical character recognition feature. This tool pulls material from PDF files in an editable format and allows you to annotate it. But the real question is how to annotate PDF in OneNote. This article will explain how you can do that easily.

Can you Edit a PDF on OneNote?

No, you can’t directly edit PDFs on OneNote. Undoubtedly, OneNote gives you various options to annotate, highlight, or add text to your file, but it has a few limitations. One such restriction is that you can’t edit files with this software.

Editing is the feature that lets you change/add/remove text or formatting in the PDF as you do when annotating an image. When you integrate a PDF file, OneNote duplicates it and stores it as a OneNote file. Any modifications you apply to the PDF file in OneNote do not affect the primary PDF file. In this way, you can’t edit your file.

However, if you still want to make any changes to the PDF, you will need external software like Adobe Acrobat. It is basically a PDF reader with plenty of annotation features, like OneNote, including creating or editing documents and notes.

How to Annotate a PDF in OneNote?

Once a file is opened in OneNote, you may add drawings, comments, or annotations. The procedure is straightforward. All you have to do is follow the instructions outlined below:

Import your PDF File

Open your desired PDF in the application. For this, open the OneNote app and click “Insert” from the top ribbon bar. After that, find and tap the “File Attachment” option from the immediately below line. Lastly, locate and choose your desired file and hit “Insert.”

Insert PDF File

Insert PDF File

Open your PDF File

After you have imported your file, you will get two options, given below:

Both options serve different purposes. If you go with the first option, the tool will open your PDF as a separate file and open it in an external reader. However, the second option will import the PDF from an image that can help you annotate.

If you are only interested in the annotation of your PDF, choose the second option or “Insert Printout.”

Attachment Options

Attachment Options

Your PDF file will appear as a preview in the form of a non-editable image with all the text in front of you.

Annotate your PDF File

Once your PDF file is opened, you must find the tools required for the editing. You can find it in the “Draw” tab, located near the “Insert” tab.

Draw Over PDF

Draw Over PDF

How to Highlight a PDF in OneNote?

Highlighting is used when you want the text to stand out from the rest of the document. This feature usually emphasizes the essential parts, spots the keywords, or identifies the topic from the other text.

To highlight the text in a PDF, take the following quick steps. The following steps describe how you can use OneNote annotation tools to highlight a PDF:

Import Your File

Launch OneNote on your PC and click on Insert > File Attachment to browse and open the file in OneNote.

Import PDF File

Import PDF File

Open Your File

When OneNote asks you to choose between “Attach File” or “Insert Printout,” choose the second option, as described in Part 1. The preview of the file will be in front of you.

Insert Printout

Insert Printout

Highlight the File

After opening the file, pick the highlighter from the “Draw” menu and start dragging over the content in order to highlight it. You may additionally double-click this tool to change the depth and intensity of the marker.

Highlight Method One

Highlight Method One

OneNote PDF Editing Tips for Beginners

OneNote is a well-known tool frequently used for taking notes and annotating documents. You can use this tool to highlight or draw on your PDF in different ways. Plus, you can also share the files with other people and apps.

However, this software may be a little tricky to use for beginners. But, with the help of the tips provided in this section, you’ll be taking notes like an expert in no time.

The following are the things that you should keep in your mind:

✔️ Use of Search Option: Most PDF viewers provide a search function. You may use this tool to discover and annotate a certain word in the text rapidly.

✔️ Use tags to organize your files: OneNote has this feature that you can use to categorize your PDF files. You can also use these tags to find the files quickly. You can access the tag feature on the top ribbon bar under the “Home” tab as “To Do Tag.”

✔️ Links different PDF files: OneNote allows users to link extra files so that they may easily collect identical files in one location. You may also link files that are not in the same notebook. This feature can be accessed by clicking the “Links” button under the “Insert” tab.

✔️ Share your PDF files with your peers: OneNote has an interesting feature that lets you share your files with friends. The advantage of this option is that whenever you change your file, it’ll also appear to your friends. Additionally, you can also sync your files across different devices. The sharing button is available in the “File” tab.

Final Thought

The final verdict is that OneNote is a powerful tool that can work with PDF files. The benefit of this tool is that you can annotate your files, highlight the text, and even edit them. In this way, OneNote enhances productivity and creativity, regardless of your profession. Although the app is widely used, have you ever used it to take and edit your notes? Let us know your experience in the comments below.


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