Using Adobe Acrobat to Markup Exams


Learn how Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader can make it easy to grade electronically uploaded exams. Use a variety of annotation markup tools to add comments for yourself or provide feedback for the student. Use text editing tools to add editing marks to indicate changes that you want in the source document.

Getting Started

Adobe Acrobat Pro is available to all Penn Law full-time faculty and staff. Acrobat Pro is available on all Penn Law issued devices. Don’t see Adobe Acrobat Pro listed as an application on your device? Please visit our help guide on installing and activating Adobe Acrobat.

If you don’t have access to Acrobat Pro, download the Acrobat Reader app to use the same annotation tools as Acrobat Pro. Download Adobe Acrobat Reader.   Note: Adobe Acrobat Reader cannot edit or create PDFs.

Training Sessions

If you need further help beyond the resources provided here, please register for one of our training sessions. Group trainings are one hour long with up to 5 available seats. Individual faculty training is limited to faculty and adjuncts and can run up to one hour.


Add the Comment Tool

As a first step, you will need to add the comment tool from the tool center. It will then appear in the navigation pane on the right side of your document. Once you click the Comment tool in the right navigation, the Comment toolbar will appear across the top of your document.  

  • Select Tools to get to the Tool Center 

Acrobat Comment Tool

  • Click Add or the drop-down menu to add the Comment tool to your toolbar.

Acrobat Comment Tool Add


Annotating and Marking Up Exams

Sticky Notes, Add Text, and Text Box


Adobe Acrobat Toolbar sticky notes add text and textbox

Click the Comment tool in your navigation pane on the right side of your document. The Comment toolbar will appear at the top of the document. From the Comment toolbar, select the Sticky Note tool Stickynote icon to add a sticky note, the Add Text Comment tool Text tool iconto type comments anywhere on the PDF page, or the Text Box tool Text box tool icon to create callout text.



Highlight, Strikethrough, or Underline text


Adobe Acrobat Tool bar

Click the Comment tool to open the Comment toolbar. From the toolbar, select the Highlight Text tool  Highlight tool icon, the Strikethrough Text tool StrikeThrough icon, or the Underline Text tool Underlinetool icon

Note: Comments created in Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader will be viewable in any PDF viewer. 


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