Annotating Assignment PDFs

Assignments that your students submit in PDF format can be annotated directly within Moodle's grading interface. You have the option of using a variety of markup tools including comments, highlighting, drawing, and stamps.

online annotation tools

Listed from left to right, your options are:

  • Select Page options. Use the left and right arrows or the drop-down menu between them to navigate between pages of the document.
  • Search Comments and Expand Comments button. View the comments that have already been left on the PDF and search their text.  Use the expand button to view all comments at once.
  • Add Comments button and Comments color menu.
    • Use the Comments button to create a new comment.
    • Use the Comments color drop-down to change the color of your next comments.
  • Move and Select buttons.
    • Click the Move button (hand icon) to drag and reposition the entire PDF in the viewing window.
    • Click the Select button (pointer icon) and then click on a drawn object, in order to move or delete that object.
  • Drawing tools: Freehand, Line, Rectangle, Oval, Highlight, and Annotation color drop-down menu.
    • Use these icons to draw in different shapes and colors.
  • Stamp button and Select stamp drop-down menu. Choose a “stamp” (a pre-defined set of graphics) from the Select stamp drop-down menu then click the Stamp button to annotate the PDF with that stamp.

Saving Annotations in the PDF Editor

Annotations to the PDF are saved automatically as you create them. There is no need to take any additional action to save your annotations. Note that the "Reset" button at the bottom of the grading interface does not reset annotations on the PDF: if you want to remove annotations you will need to delete them one by one.

Saving Annotations and Notifying Students in the Grading page

Selecting the Notify students checkbox and then clicking the Save Changes button at the bottom of the grading interface will notify the student via email that their Assignment submission has been given feedback. Please note: Students will be able to see the Annotated PDF when they navigate to their Assignment submission regardless of whether you chose to notify them or not. Therefore, if you do not want the student to see the Annotated PDF, do not click the Save changes button until you are ready for the student to see it.

Searching for comments in an annotated PDF

Instructors or students can search the comments by clicking on the Search comments button from the toolbar. When a specific comment is selected, the user is taken to that instance of the comment in the annotated PDF.

Note on Annotating PDFs on a Tablet

Adding annotations to a PDF when using a tablet is awkward and not recommended at this time. We tested out writing with the Freehand drawing tool on a tablet, and found that the line it produced was too bulky and not sensitive enough to write neatly. A keyboard and mouse are the best tools for using the PDF editor within Moodle.



Last modified: Tuesday, July 25, 2023, 9:22 AM