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Adding Redlines and Comments to PDF Files

By John TeSelle, LineType Software Inc., August 27, 2003

The full version of Adobe Acrobat includes extensive commenting and markup features that extend the usefulness of PDF files created from CAD drawings. Instead of printing checksets, redlining them by hand, and sending copies out to consultants or drafters, all review and markup can be done electronically.

Electronic checksets can save hundreds of dollars in printing and courier costs, and markups can be returned immediately. And unlike written comments, which are often constrained by limited space and are sometimes difficult to read, typed comments in PDFs are always clear and can be as long as necessary.

The various commenting features of Adobe Acrobat are covered in detail in the Acrobat documentation. Only a few specific notes relevant to architectural and engineering applications will be given here.

  • Commenting and redlining can only be added to a PDF file using the full version of Adobe Acrobat, but anyone with Acrobat Reader can view or print the comments.
  • When printing comments, be sure that the Comments check box in the Print dialog is checked. Otherwise comments will not be printed.
  • See Edit > Preferences > General > Comments for some useful options related to viewing and printing comments.
  • If redline marks are made on a drawing and need to have a comment associated with them, there are two ways to do this:

- Draw the redline, then add a separate note comment (which looks like a small Post-it note) next to it. The recipient can open the note comment by double-clicking it.

- Draw the redline, then double-click it to open up an associated comment window. The only disadvantage of this method is that it is not visibly apparent to the recipient that there is a text comment associated with the redline. Each redline must be checked to see if there is text with it.

  • Comments can be deleted by selecting them with the "Hand" tool and pressing the Delete key.
  • If you don't want comments to be deleted, either add password security to the document to prevent changes, or flatten the comments to embed them in the document.

About the Author

John TeSelle is an architect in private practice in Nashville, Tennessee, and is the founder of LineType Software Inc., a development company providing tools and information to enhance the use of PDF documents in architecture and engineering.

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