DocHub Support

How to annotate & electronically sign PDF documents using the Tool Bar

Last Updated: Nov 14, 2017 02:31PM CST

The Tool Bar will always appear directly above an open document while in edit mode to make it easy & convenient to select the annotation tool you want to use & to switch between markup tools quickly. It will not be shown above a document that is in view-only mode such as when someone shares a document with you and didn't give you permission to annotate. The Owner of a document must add you as a Contributor or Admin in the window to 'Share with others' by clicking File menu  > Share or send, or when they designate you as Can Annotate using the toggle switch next to your email address when sending a Sign Request. (Note: You don't need the Tool Bar to sign a document if it has a Sign Here or Initial Here field assigned to you. Just click on the field to electronically sign or initial it.) 

To add any of these markup tools to a PDF, just click on the button on the Tool Bar for the annotation you'd like to add, and then click a spot on your PDF where you'd like it to be added. Each of the annotations you add to a PDF will have its own floating window while in edit mode where you can click on the bar above any annotation window to drag it to another place on your document. You can also edit or delete each of these individual markup windows after they've been added to your PDF and add as many as you'd like.

Here is a general breakdown of the primary annotation tools on the Tool Bar in DocHub from left to right:

TEXT - Insert your own text anywhere on your document and choose from a variety of fonts, sizes, and colors including styles such as bold or italics for emphasis. All Text Tool windows have Snap-To-Grid assistance turned on by default for lining your text up perfectly with horizontal and vertical lines or the baselines of any embedded aka digital text on your document that was on it before uploading to DocHub. Use 'G' on your keyboard to toggle the auto-alignment on or off. You can press Return or Enter on your keyboard while adding text to make a line break anywhere. To pre-determine how wide you want the text window to be and to force a line break at a certain width, you could frame a window instead of a regular click anywhere on your document and hold the left-click or primary button down while dragging the cursor to the desired width and then release the button. You can also line break anywhere within a framed Text Tool annotation window by pressing Enter or Return and make it wider by hovering your cursor over the right edge of the box and click and drag to the right.

On the right side of the Tool Bar, you'll also see settings to justify your text to the left, right, or center of the Text Tool window and a drop-down menu to adjust the line spacing (increase or decrease the vertical space between rows of text).

DRAW - Use the Pen tool to sketch lines or shapes anywhere on your PDF as either a freeform annotation or use our assisted markup tools in the submenu of the Draw Tool for perfectly drawn circles, rectangles, straight lines, and arrows. Just click on the downward arrow to the right of the Draw Tool button to select other shapes. To draw 100% accurate horizontal, vertical, or diagonal lines, select the Line tool and hold down the Shift key for assisted angle vectors at 45 degree increments. All of these Draw annotations can be applied in a variety of colors and brush sizes. You can also adjust the colors and sizes after the drawings have been added to your document.

HIGHLIGHT - Choose from 6 different colors to frame a highlight box over an entire area of your document, or you can just highlight the text within the area that you frame with the cursor. A yellow box frame is the default color and type. Use the toggle switches to the right of the Tool Bar when this tool is selected to switch between box and text highlights and to choose the color of the highlight. This tool also includes Underline and Strikethrough tools which you can apply to any embedded text by framing the area around it.

WHITEOUT or REDACT - Frame a box to cover up any content of your PDF that you'd like to whiteout or redact. You'll see two toggle switches to the right of the toolbar when this tool is active to choose between box or text and to change the color from white to black (redact). The redact (black) option does require DocHub Pro. By default, this tool is set to white box annotations though if you want to just fill in rows of embedded text and have DocHub automatically apply the whiteout or redact boxes to the rows of text in the area that you frame, click on the Selection Mode toggle to switch from box to text.

Once whiteout or redact annotations have been added to your PDF, you can then add your own text or other annotations on top of the whited out area. To find out more about using this tool, see our article for How do I add whiteout to my PDF?.

COMMENT - Add your own comments in the form of a small yellow sticky icon that you can insert anywhere on your PDF with the option to expand the comment into a pop-up window that displays your comments for others to read (as long as they have permission to access the document). These Comments can be very useful for any type of collaboration on a document for internal use or for contesting and negotiating specific terms of a contract, or an ideal way for teachers to provide helpful, articulated feedback when grading a student's PDF assignment from Google Classroom.

STAMP - If you need to apply an X or a checkmark to a PDF document, this is the ideal tool to use. To choose a stamp shape other than the default checkmark, click on the drop-down arrow to the right of the Stamp Tool and select a different icon. Then, click anywhere on your document to add it to your PDF. You can change the color and size of the stamps by using the drop-down menus for Fill Color and Stroke Color that appear to the right of the Tool Bar when this tool is active. You'll notice it also includes Snap-To-Grid assistance by default for lining them up perfectly with any horizontal or vertical lines to make your markup job easier.

This Snap-To-Grid assistance that some of our other PDF annotation tools also include by default will insert your stamps perfectly in place with a professional and clean look due to DocHub's ability to scan and map out the existing content and format of your document and automatically guide your cursor for the most precise placement possible which saves you from having to painstakingly pinpoint the exact spot to insert the stamp. You can always resize a stamp after its been applied by hovering your cursor over it and dragging on the small square in the lower right corner of the floating annotation window when its active. Or simply click on the stamp to make it the active one to edit.

If you upgrade to DocHub Pro, it'll give you access to hundreds of shapes or icons and allow you to fully customize the Stamp Tool's menu with your favorite stamps for even faster selection of the ones you use the most. We recently added over 600 new stamps from Font Awesome. To customize the Stamp selection, click on the down arrow next to the Stamp Tool on the Tool Bar and click on "Customize...". Then, select any stamp to add it to your Stamp Tool's drop-down menu. Green highlight means the icon's been added, and you can click again on the stamp in that same Customize menu to remove it from your Favorites.

INSERT IMAGE - Upload your own photo files (i.e. JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, etc.) and place them anywhere on your PDF. You can also move the images around or resize them, the same as any annotation windows, after they've been added by dragging the blue bar at the top of the image window or resize them by dragging the lower right corner in or out (the aspect ratio is unlocked).

SIGN or INITIAL - Add your signature or initials to any PDF via drag/drop from the Sign menu or click/tap on one in the menu and then click/tap anywhere on your document to insert it. You can then move it around the document after inserting it, the same as all annotations you add to your PDFs in DocHub. To create an e-signature and save it to your private DocHub account, just click on Create Signature at the top of the Sign menu, and you'll see 4 tabs for each of the styles and choices listed below and a toggle on the right side of those tabs to switch between creating a new Signature or Initials. You can also create new e-signatures and initials and manage them in your Signature Settings.


  • Phone - send an SMS text message to a smart phone with a link to draw a signature on its touchscreen without needing to login to DocHub. You'll also have the option to draw and save your Initials. To send one, just enter your phone number or your client's number and choose your country from the drop-down menu next to it (if not the USA) for the formatting and click Send. 
  • Draw - use your mouse, finger, or stylus to draw an e-signature.
  • Upload Image - upload a photo file of your handwritten signature or initials.
  • Type - choose from several fancy fonts that resemble a handwritten signature or S-Signatures that have your full name within forward slashes which are widely accepted as legally binding e-signatures (e.g. /s/John Hancock/).

DocHub saves your signatures and initials to your account and makes them easily accessible in the Sign menu of the Tool Bar so you can sign PDFs or initial them very quickly and easily without needing to recreate your signature for every new document that you need to sign. You can easily remove any of your signatures or initials from the Sign menu and delete them from your DocHub account by clicking on Manage Signatures near the top of the Sign menu or go to and hover your cursor over the one you want to delete and click on the trash can icon to the right of it and confirm the action by choosing Delete. The Sign menu also has a choice for today's date which is automatically set so that you can drag/drop it onto your document and apply a date stamp that's always accurate.

If you need to request an e-signature from one or more signers, DocHub offers an extremely easy way to do so which we call a Sign Request. To find out how to send a Sign Request, you can view our help article about How do I send my PDF as a Sign Request? where it walks you through how to add signature field(s) using our Fields Manager, how to assign the fields to certain people which we call Roles, how to make the most important fields required, and explains where to enter their email(s) and more. Once a Sign Request is setup and sent, DocHub sends the signer(s) an email notification that has your name and email as the Reply-To address with a clear Subject about ACTION REQUIRED followed by the name of your document and instructions in the email body about how to access the document at and add their signature (though you can also customize the wording of the Subject and Body of the email if you'd like to in the window before sending a Sign Request). Your signers don't even need to create a DocHub account to review, complete, and sign your PDFs in DocHub since the link in the email notification of a Sign Request will have a unique, very long authentication token at the end of the URL which will give them access to the document without signing in to DocHub. Our Sign Request workflow totally simplifies and streamlines the process for all parties involved with a document that requires an electronic signature.

POINTER TOOL (arrow) - The Pointer is the default and initially selected tool in DocHub and is a general use type of selection tool which is responsive to your document and the types of edits or form fields or checkboxes in the file. If you only need to adjust DocHub annotation windows that were added previously or add a signature or fill out a PDF form, then you can keep it on the Pointer Tool and do all of those things. This includes editing your text, moving around edit windows by dragging the blue bar at the top of each one, resizing edit windows by dragging the lower right corner, deleting edit windows by clicking on the X, adding a signature from the Sign menu, and typing in form fields or checking boxes. The Pointer tool will also let you copy any pre-existing text on your document.

To print a document or template while viewing it, just click on the Printer icon near the left side of the Tool Bar or click on the File menu XX in the upper right corner and choose to  Print...

You can also use the Actions menu in your DocHub Dashboard by selecting the document and choosing Print from the Actions menu at the top of the list of documents.

FILL OUT PDF FORMS - For applications, contracts, or any other type of document with form fields, DocHub is the perfect tool to use for entering your information and adding your electronic signature. You don't need to select any specific tool to fill in form fields. Just leave the Tool Bar set as the default Pointer Tool (arrow) and click on the first field to enter your information. You can also fill out non-fillable PDF forms that don't have any form fields to enter your information by using the Text Tool & other annotation tools in DocHub. For a PDF without any fields, Just click anywhere on your document while the tool is selected to add that type of annotation. Once the PDF form is completed and filled out, you can either download the PDF to your computer, or save it to Google Drive or Dropbox or OneDrive, share the URL, or email the PDF as attachment. For PDF forms that do have embedded and active fields, you can download or email it as-is with the fields still active and editable, or if you have a DocHub Pro account, you can also download or email a "flattened" version with the text and other form field content permanently embedded onto your PDF and finalized (where the annotations you added with DocHub are no longer editable). Please see our article for how to share or download your edited PDF for more details about each one of these sharing or saving options.
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