Annotation Minus Paper

I’ve always been a huge fan of the “Reviewing” toolbar in Microsoft Word, which allows one to make marginal comments in documents. I grade using this tool and I love it. I don’t have to worry about messy handwriting, and I can type faster than I can write–which means I give my students more comments. Bonus: they can read them. I have long since given up receiving paper copies of student work.

While researching for my dissertation, I can comment on Word documents and highlight important points, but until today I wasn’t able to annotate .pdf files. Then I learned about the PDF XChange Viewer, which is a free program that lets one underline, draw pictures, and attach “sticky notes” all over a .pdf.

Academics may not be the worst paper wasters in our nation, but we’ve got to come close. In my book–or rather, my blog, taking notes while avoiding printing = awesome.


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