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

Last Updated: Dec 19, 2017 05:30PM CST

The Tool Bar in DocHub has most of the PDF editing tools you'll ever need for marking up PDF documents and adding a variety of annotations including your electronic signature. It will always appear above an open document while in edit mode. If you don't see it above a document, you must be looking at a PDF in view-only mode which can happen for a template if you haven't click on the Edit Template button or for a shared document or Sign Request where the owner of the document didn't give you permission to annotate.

To get started, just click on the tool you want to use on the Tool Bar and click anywhere on your PDF to insert that type of annotation. Every single annotation you add to your PDF will have its own floating window as a frame around it. If you hover your mouse cursor over one, you'll see this frame as an orange dotted line around it with an orange horizontal bar at the top. If you need to edit or adjust any of them, click anywhere inside the frame to make it the active window, and you'll see its color change from orange to blue.


Here is a breakdown of each annotation item on the Tool Bar in DocHub from left to right:

The Pointer is a general use type of tool that is selected by default which functions as a mouse cursor. If you need to fill out a PDF form, add your electronic signature, or edit any DocHub annotation windows that were added previously, you can keep the Tool Bar set on the Pointer Tool and do all of those things. This includes editing your text, moving around edit windows by dragging the orange or 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.

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).

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.

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.

Add your comments as feedback 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.

Lets you frame a box anywhere on your PDF to cover up any content 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 requires
DocHub Pro. By default, this tool will be set to whiteout box annotations. If you want to just whiteout or redact rows of embedded text in neat blocks over each row and not cover up an entire area with a box shape, click on the toggle for Selection Mode to change it 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?.

Choose from a variety of small images or icons to insert anywhere on your PDF. If you need to apply an X or checkmarks to a PDF document, this is the ideal tool to use. To choose a stamp 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, you'll have 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.

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).

Add your e-signature or initials to a 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 adjust the size and position of your signature or initials after inserting it. You can find out more on how to create and add signatures or initials to a document in our article for How to electronically sign & initial a PDF 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  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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