Watch this video for a tutorial on using Adobe Reader Comment tools, or read on below for more in-depth information
It may seem tedious and time-consuming, but taking the time to thoroughly review your design drafts is essential to creating a high-quality book that does justice to the time and money you have invested into the self-publishing journey. When you find errors, you need to clearly indicate the specific revisions that need to be made for your designer.
Carefully submitting error-free, clearly described revisions ensures that your designer can fully understand the changes you want made to your book. This is why we ask that you use the correct Comment Tools in Adobe Reader, which we have found to reduce both human/design errors and wait time for your next draft.
To get started, open your design draft in Adobe Reader, make sure you are viewing in two-page view, and open the Comment toolbar by clicking the "Comment" icon, located either at the top-right side or under "All Tools" on the left hand side.
To minimize the risk of misinterpreted revisions, it is very important to select the correct comment tool for each revision. Each tool described below has a specific function, allowing you to mark up your PDF draft files like you would paper with a red pen or highlighter.
- Your revisions will be implemented exactly as you type them, so use extreme caution not to introduce any errors of your own, and when you receive your next draft, be sure to review it carefully to ensure all of your revisions were added correctly.
Read on below for descriptions of each tool—strikethrough text, replace text, insert text, highlight text, and sticky note—along with screenshots showing each in action:
Use this simple tool to flag text that needs to be deleted:
- Highlight the text to be deleted
- Click the "Strikethrough" tool (or select the tool first, then highlight the text to be replaced, which will apply the strikethrough markup text to any selected text).
- That's it! The red strikethrough indicates to the designer that you want the text to be deleted. In the example below, the designer will now remove the extraneous text that has been marked up.
Replacing text works much the same as above, except you will also add a note to the markup with the new text.
- Highlight the exact text to be replaced
- Click the "Replace text" tool (or select the tool first, then highlight the text to be replaced, which will apply the replace text markup to the selected text).
- With the mark up selected, type the exact new text that should replace the current text into a note to the comment area on the right. In the example below, the designer will now replace the word "nymph" with "sprite" 🧚♀️.
When you want to request changes to the formatting in a specific location within the text, use the highlight tool.
- Highlight the exact text to be replaced
- Click the "highlight" tool (or select the tool first, then highlight the text to be replaced, which will apply the highlight text markup to the selected text).
- With the mark up selected, type clear instructions into a note in the comment area on the right. In the example below, we need a new paragraph to be indented, and we've shown the designer precisely where in the text to make the change.
Using <angle brackets> is a good way to request formatting changes. Common notes you might use along with the highlight tool include the following:
- <roman type> (standard body text with no bold or italics applied).
- <insert line break> or <new paragraph>
- <add indent> or <remove indent> (could be applied to a single line, or an entire paragraph for a block quote).
To add additional text to your draft, use the insert text tool.
- Place the cursor exactly where you want the new text to be added
- Click the "Insert text" tool (or select the tool first, which will apply the insert text markup to the wherever you click within the text).
- With the mark up selected, type the exact new text that should be inserted into a note to the comment area on the right.
- Optional: in the example below, we've also made it clear using the highlight tool that the designer will also need to change "He" to "he", since we're changing the beginning of a sentence. More on the highlight tool next!
- Sticky Note / Add a Comment
When you want to request formatting or cover design revisions not associated with any particular text, use the sticky note tool.
- Select the sticky note took from the comment tool bar.
- Click a location on the page related to the revision you are requesting
- Type clear instructions into a note in the comment area on the right. Note that In the example below, we want changes made to all chapter headings, so we "place" a sticky note at the first instance only of the thing to be changed, using the note to clearly indicate the change should be made everywhere.
- Note, the sticky note does not actually select text to be changed, and this is why it is the most commonly misused tool, in large part due to its ease of use. However, this tool often leads to misinterpreted revisions, resulting in design errors and longer wait times for the next draft. To ensure your designer can accurately implement your revisions, mark up specific text using one of the other four tools above.
*Important note: do not directly edit the draft file(s) yourself, PDF files are read-only, the designer will edit the source file according to the revision requests you submit. If you edit the PDF directly, then your designer will not know which changes you made, and will not be able to keep the source files up-to-date, so you would need to start over and resubmit your revisions.
Related article: How do I submit design revisions?