PDF Annotation

Activities ::: mod_pdfannotator
Maintained by Bernd Decker, Friederike Schwager, Tim Schroeder, Anisa Dewi
The PDF annotator allows students to insert questions, comments and remarks on learning materials in PDF format directly into the document. Since all students, lecturers and tutors can read and answer the questions and comments asked, it is made easier to clarify open questions on lecture slides, scripts and other PDF learning materials quickly and in a concrete context.
Latest release:
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Current versions available: 3

What is the PDF-Annotator?

The PDF annotator allows students to insert questions, comments and remarks on learning materials in PDF format directly into the document. Since all students, lecturers and tutors can read and answer the questions and comments asked, it is made easier to clarify open questions on lecture slides, scripts and other PDF learning materials quickly and in a concrete context.

The PDF annotator is integrated into Moodle. You can recognize the PDF annotator by this  icon: The following screenshot (Fig. 1) gives you an impression of what the annotator looks like. On the left side of the PDF are the annotations, for which there are different tools. In the column to the right of the PDF you can write a comment on the annotation or respond to existing questions and comments from students. Comments may contain references to an important passage, an error, or a question to be answered by other students.

All annotations and comments are public and therefore visible to others. However, comments, as well as replies to existing comments, can also be posted anonymously.

Add PDF annotator to the course

To use the PDF annotator and add it to your course, click Turn On Edit at the top right of the Moodle page. Then click on ADD AN ACTIVITY OR RESOURCE in the desired area in which the PDF annotator is to be displayed and select PDF ANNOTATION from the list. Then click on ADD and you will be forwarded to the overview page where you can make further settings, such as the name and a description for the document. In the next step, please upload the intended PDF document. You can do this either using drag & drop or the file manager.  You also have the option of availability, prerequisites and activity completion.

to be determined. If you do not need these settings, simply leave them untouched, after uploading the file and clicking on SAVE AND TO COURSE your PDF document will be displayed directly in the desired area.

NOTE:  also drag and drop a PDF into a Section (editing on), you will be asked "Create file for PDF Annotation".

Toolbar for annotations

Use the toolbar to select the different annotation tools. With these you mark a place or area in the PDF, for which you can then write a comment or a question.


Fig. 2 The toolbar

  • Cursor: With the cursor you can select, comment or move existing annotations.
  • Pin: Use the pin to mark individual points in the PDF to ask questions or leave a comment.
  • Bounding box: Use the frame to select individual text or image areas and create comments for them.
  • Highlighter: Use the highlighter to highlight parts of the text and make comments on it.
  • Cross-Out: With this tool you can cross out and comment on incorrect parts of a text. 
  • Text: With this tool you can insert additional text into the PDF and comment on this insertion. In addition, you can select the font size and color before writing.
  • Pen: With the pen you can paint freehand in the PDF and create comments. You can also select the pen width and pen color before drawing.
  • Zoom: With the zoom you can display the PDF larger or smaller.
  • Hide annotations: To view the original document, you can hide all annotations. Note: With another click on the open eye, all annotations can be shown again.
  • Fullscreen: In full-screen mode, the entire PDF annotator is displayed across the width of the screen.
  • Page count: The page number shows you where you are in the PDF document.
  • print pdfDownload document: Download the PDF document
  • Download comments: Download all Discussions as PDF

Create annotations and comments

If you select an existing annotation or create a new one, a comment field opens on the right. Here you can enter your questions or comments.

If you want to post anonymously, activate the checkbox Post anonymusly. With a click on CREATE ANNOTATION or ANSWER you can send your text. However, it is recommended that you do not post anonymusly.

Overview all annotations


The Teacher Overview provides an overview of various elements of the PDF annotator. You will receive a presentation of the reported comments, new questions will be made directly accessible here and can be accessed via the link on the right-hand side, you can continue to view your contributions to comments of the students in this presentation and additionally administer entries.


Screenshot #0
Screenshot #1
Screenshot #2
Screenshot #3


Bernd Decker (Lead maintainer)
Friederike Schwager: Developer
Tim Schroeder: Developer
Anisa Dewi: Developer
Please login to view contributors details and/or to contact them

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  • തി, 17 ജനു 2022, 10:51 PM
    Hi there
    This plugin looks really good, however, does it show the bookmarks? Thanks
  • തി, 24 ജനു 2022, 11:46 PM
    Is there any option to disable the public comment? Thanks
  • ബു, 26 ജനു 2022, 3:43 PM
    @Dr. Nellie Deutsch If you aren't there already, you have to navigate to the Document tab. There is a toolbar where you can select different types of annotations, for example the pin. Then you add the annotation to the document (for the pin simply click somewhere on the pdf), then a text field shows up, where you can enter a question.

    @Shelley Hibbert Do you mean bookmarks that are in the pdf document? That's sadly not supported

    @Janlord Luga Since the main idea of this plugin is to collaborate, we didn't implement such an option. But feel free to implement it and provide a merge request പുഞ്ചിരി
  • തി, 14 ഫെബ്രു 2022, 1:24 AM
    @Friederike Schwager, Hello Friederike, thank you guys for bringing us such a great plugin. But I found an issue concerning the export result. If users write in non-European languages such as Chinese characters, or the users' names are in Chinese characters, then the export result (pdf) would be presented in messy codes. Could you plz check the issue? Thank you!
  • തി, 14 ഫെബ്രു 2022, 10:26 AM
    by export result I mean the comments downloaded
  • തി, 9 മേയ് 2022, 4:58 PM
    Do you plan a release for Moodle 4.0 ?
    if so, when will it be published?
    Thank you
  • തി, 27 ജൂൺ 2022, 7:55 PM
    Hello, generally really great and useful plugin! However, it would be much more useful if there were options for setting grading and completion tracking (such as in the forum activity, where one can specify how many posts or responses a student has to submit). Are there plans for these features in the future?
  • Robert Kovacich
    ബു, 6 ജൂലൈ 2022, 11:45 PM
    Thank you to the designers of the Annotated PDF grader, I use it daily. I have one request, I writing on these submissions, when I do, a temporary message pops up that says "Draft annotation saved". I find that this is in the way of what I am attempted to writing on. I teach chemistry, and as I am marking up say a chemical reaction, I am finding myself annoyed by the pop up, is there a way to make this go away or can it be moved to a section of the page that is not going to be annotated, like to the right or left of the students name at the top of the page?
    Again, thank you.
  • ചൊ, 19 ജൂലൈ 2022, 1:07 PM
    Hello Eric, we’re currently working on a 4.0 release that will contain some additional features. We don’t have a release date yet but it should be ready by the end of summer.

    Hi Susan, we haven’t thought about incorporating options for setting grading and completion tracking. The problem with that is that it somehow contradicts the optional anonymity of the comments. If you give grades or track completion then it becomes visible who has already posted something to a certain degree. But maybe there could be something like a grading mode without the anonymity?! Just an idea. We will put it into our backlog but this will need some discussion first on how to realise it.

    Hi Robert, I don't think that we use such a message. This is the PDF Annotation activity plugin. Maybe you are talking about the assignment feedback plugin?
  • ചൊ, 19 ജൂലൈ 2022, 1:13 PM
    Hi Friederike, will the new 4.0 verson be released by the end of next month? Our new semester will begin at the beginning of September, so I wonder whether it is possible to use the new version. If not, we will stick to the current version. And thank you again for this wonderful plugin.
  • വ്യാ, 25 ഓഗ 2022, 2:24 PM
    we are still working on the new release, but unfortunately we won't make it until the end of August
  • ശ, 3 സെപ്റ്റം 2022, 10:33 AM
    Hi Friederike, will the new version be released soon? Thank you.
  • ഞാ, 11 സെപ്റ്റം 2022, 3:23 AM
    Hi Friederike, will the new version be released soon? Thank you. While downloading the pdf file, will we be able to download it with comments and markups?
  • വെ, 16 സെപ്റ്റം 2022, 11:46 PM
    This is an awesome plugin that some of our faculty really appreciate. I know this has been discussed, but I can't seem to find any option to turn off the automatic email notifications. @Giulia Covezzi, you said, "You can disable emails in the notification preferences." Can you please tell me what I'm missing here? We are using v1.4 r11. I am anxiously awaiting the next release. Thanks for your hard work!
  • തി, 26 സെപ്റ്റം 2022, 4:13 PM
    Hello @synnac and @Hamdi,
    we are currently still working for the new release.
    @Hamdi no we cannot. The download of comments happens separately from the original pdf file.
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