You’ll soon be able to scribble all over PDFs on your Chromebook

Tablet And stylus stock photo

If you use a Chromebook, you can look forward to a new feature that lets you annotate PDF documents.

According to 9to5Google, Google may soon be adding a new annotation feature to the PDF viewer within its Chrome OS. This developing change to Chrome OS’ PDF viewer was spotted on this Chromium Gerrit source code management page. The new feature is expected to give access to an annotation mode by selecting a pencil-shaped icon. Drawings and notes created in this mode can be saved as a new file if desired and then sent off to wherever it needs to go.

Annotation should be able to support the use of a mouse, stylus, touchpad or touchscreen to create drawings and annotations as well. The basis of the drawings and notes will be Google’s software library, Ink. This software library should support “freehand drawing and handwriting.”

It is unclear at this time if the new PDF annotation feature will roll out to Chrome browsers, but we do know that the feature will likely initially only be released to Chrome OS.

The ability to annotate PDFs is a necessary convenience for those who use the document format often. Being able to draw and quickly jot down notes within a PDF can make things like obtaining signatures much easier to deal with. Which is probably why the Mac and Windows operating systems already offer their own PDF annotation options.

Within MacOS, a PDF can be annotated by  using the Preview app’s Markup toolbar. For Windows 10 users, the Microsoft Edge browser comes with its own PDF viewer, and the annotations feature can be accessed by selecting the Add Notes button on the browser address bar.

Google’s endeavor to add the feature shouldn’t be surprising considering many of its new Chromebooks and Chrome OS devices feature touchscreens of their own now. Over the past year, Google has added feature after feature, attempting to make Chrome OS more touch-friendly for these new devices. PDF annotation seems especially important given the addition of the Pixelbook Pen, Google’s own stylus that’s meant to work with the Pixel Slate tablet and the Pixelbook 2-in-1 laptop.


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