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PDF Annotator 3 available now: tabbed interface, new tools, and much more



Get ready to kiss Adobe Acrobat good-bye because PDF Annotator 3 is now available and it is packed with so much new functionality it’ll leave you saying “Acrobat who?”

I had the opportunity to beta test the software and, as someone who uses Adobe Acrobat every day at work, I was highly impressed by it. The new version features a tabbed interface to more easily work with multiple documents. The tabs are configurable within the main window and also accessible through the Windows 7 taskbar. The workspace becomes even more manageable with large icons, multi-touch zoom, and a new toolbar that puts the editing tools closer to the action. But if you want to put all the other tools aside and get down to inking, toggling to fullscreen view does the trick.

Of course, the stars of the new release are all the new annotation tools. Instead of sloppy scribblings, you can now opt for clean straight edges with line, arrow, rectangle and ellipse tools with several line styles, fill options, 45° snap, and create-your-own customization. Also offered is the ability to rotate and flip annotations.

Another new feature which is critical for me is the ability to print to PDF Annotator. So not only can you markup PDFs, but you can turn any other document you can open into a PDF for markup. What I like best about the implementation is that it sends the document straight to PDF Annotator first, then lets me work with it before saving.

Two features I could not test are the multi-touch zoom and rotate gestures. There are also page/margin cropping and text extraction. Ran into some trouble with the latter, but the point of testing is to find these bugs. Should be fixed now. The tabbed interface also leaves me wishing I could simply drag and drop pages between different documents instead of going the insert/append route.

Overall, I have to say PA3 felt much smoother than previous versions I’d used. I didn’t have time to get into all the levels of customization that are available, but there is tremendous potential here. I am confident I could streamline my regular PDF editing tasks measurably compared to Acrobat once I get into it, with or without pen input. (BTW, custom stamps are so much easier to make and use than in Acrobat.)

PDF Annotator 3 is available for purchase now for $69.95. Discounts for upgrades, educational licenses, and multiple licenses are available.



  1. Andrew Loay

    03/23/2010 at 9:15 am

    Can you make any comparisons to Bluebeam?

    • Sumocat

      03/23/2010 at 9:28 am

      Not personally, but there was good commentary to our post about the Bluebeam PDF Revu 8 release.
      Generally, I view Bluebeam as more of a technical tool, particularly with its CAD version, while PA is primarily a markup tool, simpler and easier.

    • ChrisRS

      03/23/2010 at 1:28 pm

      I use Bluebeam PDF Revu (Cad Version) and would also like to see a comparison. Revu cost about twice as much, but it is a very capable program. (I DO NOT WORK FOR BLUEBEAM!)

      The new ability to create PDF in Annotatior is a great addition.

  2. JD

    03/23/2010 at 12:37 pm

    I have been using this since version 1 and really like it. The Print to PDF Annotator would be great for me, since anytime I buy something on the web or make a money transfer at my bank, I do screen print and save the file. Right now I’m doing it Journal, but this would be much better.

    • Mike aka C-141xlr

      03/23/2010 at 1:02 pm

      @JD: Have you thought about using Onenote for keeping copies of receipts? I can either print to ON or use its screen clipping feature. Then with the organizational aspects of ON I can easily find it later. The exception to this is with my banking stuff they usually supply it in PDF and I put that into a TrueCrypt folder.

  3. SAM

    03/23/2010 at 2:05 pm

    PDF Annotator used to make huge files, have
    they solved this now?

    We have Bluebeam and it works nicely, but is a pretty large program.
    But a friend has an older version of PDF Annotator and it
    seemed to be handier for quick handwritten notations,
    excepting for the large file it generated and the ereaser tool. That was one of the reasons we went with Bluebeam.

    I wouldn’t mind getting PDF Annotator if it is still small and fast program but with small files generation.

  4. Eric

    03/23/2010 at 7:01 pm

    Very, very smooth. My biggest issue was (a) the herky jerky inking and (b) no print to. Both are solved!! Loving it, nuf said.

  5. Raphael

    03/24/2010 at 8:52 am

    I hope there is going to be a 50% off day soon…

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