Annotating PDFs with Evince

For a very long time, I was rather stuck because, as a scholar in the humanities who uses LaTeX, I could not get people to use LaTeX because they could not annotate people’s work without a professional copy of Acrobat. Well, I have figured out how to do this using Evince. How you may ask? It is a simple process but it is rather hidden and it should be more prominent when looking at PDFs.

These instructions should work on Evince 3.2 in Xubuntu 11.10.

  • Open your desired PDF in Evince.
  • In the upper left, you should see the word “Thumbnails” and a down arrow.
  • Press the down arrow and choose “Annoations”. This will show you the list of annotations in the current PDF.
  • You should see an “add” tab. Click on the add tab. There should be a small pencil icon.
  • Click on the pencil icon. Your cursor should turn into a plus sign.
  • Click where you want to put your annotation. A yellow icon should appear and a small yellow window with your name in the title bar should appear.
  • Type your annotation. I had a small bit of trouble getting it to recognize my typing but resizing the yellow window did the trick.
  • When you are done, you will need to save the PDF as a different file. I am not sure why this is but if I saved it on top of the old file, it didn’t take the annotations.

Yay!! You can now annotate PDFs in Linux. My life has gotten so much easier now.


This is great. Thank you for this. I have a quick question. I can’t seem to delete the annotations. Do you know how to do this?

That’s too bad. Thanks anyway. I can’t believe this can’t be easier to do.

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About cyocum

user-pic Celticist, Computer Scientist, Nerd, sometimes a poet…