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5+ Ways to Draw and Add Shapes on a PDF Document (Online or Offline)

May 10, 2022
Author
Inkit Team

Having the option to draw or add shapes directly on top of your PDF document is a fast and convenient way to make any needed visual edits.

To capture your reader’s attention and ensure that they effectively decode the message that is to be passed across in print, sometimes, words alone are not enough.

As one of the most secure document formats, the PDF document is vastly known by professionals for the security it provides, such that there are only limited and sometimes no modification options are accessible to its readers. 

With the use of certain PDF readers, edits could be made to the proposed documents, however, not all PDF readers have the capacity to make more complex edits, like adding drawings, illustrations, and shapes to the PDF document.

This article intends to give you clear insight as to how to make advanced edits to your PDF document. 

Below, here’s what we’ll cover:

  • How to Add Drawings, Shapes, and Edit Illustrations on PDF Documents
  • How To Draw On A PDF Document Using Adobe Acrobat
  • How To Draw On A PDF Document Using Wondershare PDFelement Pro
  • How to Add Text, Drawings, or Comments to a PDF Document Online With Adobe
  • How To Draw And Add Shapes On A PDF File Using Nitro Pro

How to Add Drawings, Shapes, and Edit Illustrations on PDF Documents

As a secure file format, most PDF files cannot be edited unless you have direct permission.

However, with the right software, you can easily add drawings and shapes to your PDF documents.

In fact, you could also make further changes to resize, change color, edit and add comments for an improved user experience. 

Drawings and shapes can be added to your PDF files using certain software like Adobe Acrobat, PDFelement as well as a number of free online tools. As we’re about to cover below.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking to make other kinds of changes to your PDF document, be sure to read:

Now, here’s what you need to know about drawing or adding illustrations to your PDF documents.

How To Draw On A PDF Document Using Adobe Acrobat

Drawing on a PDF document with Adobe is simple. 

With the Draw Free Form tool, you can make any custom, visual changes to your PDF document in a matter of seconds.

Here’s how to draw on a PDF document with Adobe Acrobat:

  1. Launch the Adobe Acrobat software on your PC or MAC, then click on the File icon and click Open to import your PDF.
  2. Locate the menu bar on the right side of your screen and then click on the Comment icon. A marker icon would further be displayed in the Comment toolbar, click on it to add drawings to your desired document page.
Adobe Acrobat home page and how to add drawing to a pdf
  1. After you have activated the Draw Free Form tool on the Comment toolbar, you can utilize the shapes at your disposal to draw on the PDF documents. Other adjustments to resize, change line color and the thickness can be accessed in the Comment toolbar.
  2. Once you have made the required adjustments to your drawings, you could easily help your reader to navigate the document by adding pop-up notes and comments. Right-click on the drawing and select the Add Notes option to insert text.
  3. Save your PDF file.
what  a drawn pdf looks like in acrobat and how to save it

How To Draw On A PDF Document Using Wondershare PDFelement Pro

The Wondershare PDFelement software comes with various editing features that could aid you in adding drawings, shapes, and illustrations to your PDF documents. Whether or not you’re dealing with a scanned document.

Here’s how to use annotation and drawing markup tools to draw or add comments on a PDF document with PDFElement Pro.

  1. Open PDFelement on your PC or MAC, then locate the Open Files option on the Home window and click on it in order to upload your PDF document to draw on.
home page of PDFelement and how to open a new pdf to draw on

  1. Locate the Comment Tab and click on it. You will see a variety of drawing tools displayed on your screen. Features such as a digitally displayed pencil, eraser, connected lines, ovals, rectangles, stars, and so on can be selected to be added to your page directly.  
  2. Go ahead to select your desired tool to add to the PDF document. Click on it and the shape will be displayed on your page as a drawing that could be further modified. You can also use the pencil tool in drawing lines or freehand and the Eraser tool in case of errors. 
  3. To add pop-up comments or notes to the shapes and drawings displayed, double-click the shapes on your screen.
  4. Save your document.
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How to Add Text, Drawings, or Comments to a PDF Document Online With Adobe

A good number of online tools and resources exist to help you edit your PDF file as easily as other offline PDF readers. 

For editing or making any visual changes to a PDF document on the go, you can use Adobe’s free online tool - Acrobat DC Online. With this, you can edit the contents of your PDF document or make any other necessary changes.

home page of Adobe Acrobat online

For a facilitated on-the-go editing process, here is a guide on how to draw and add shapes to your PDF file using a number of third-party, online tools.

How to draw and add shapes on a PDF file online using Acrobat PDF editor

  1. Launch your web browser to access Acrobat’s PDF editor on your PC or tablet.
  2. Locate the File icon to upload your PDF document. 
  3. Click on the Comments icon, and draw your markings using the Drawing tool.
  4. Download your documents to be viewed offline.
where to go to add drawings o an online pdf with Acrobat

Note: You can also make other edits accessible to the Adobe Acrobat software to resize, change color, thickness, and opacity in the Comment Toolbar.

How to draw and add shapes on a PDF file online using Foxit PhantomPDF

As a multifaceted PDF reader, Foxit Phantom provides tools that can be utilized in making simple and a number of advanced editing changes to your PDF documents. 

This software features drawing tools with multiple shapes such as circles, lines, rectangles, ovals, clouds, polygons, and more. 

The Drawing toolbar also features other extensive tools like the freehand Pencil Tool for drawing and writing, as well as the Rubber tool for erasing errors made using the Pencil Tool.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to draw on a PDF file online with Foxit.

  1. Launch the Foxit PDF Editor, and click Open to import your PDF document for editing
where to open a new pdf for Foxit

  1. Locate the page you wish to modify or make adjustments to.
  2. Click on “Comments” in the menu, a toolbar will pop up on your screen, select “Drawing”, then click on the tool you wish to use.
where to go in the foxit page to add new drawings
  1. After selecting your drawing tool from the Comment toolbar, drag your mouse to create and expand the shape. Note that tools such as the Rectangle and Polygon Tools add sides whenever you click on the PDF. Click on a start location within your page, then click each corner location, then double-click the last corner to complete the shape. 
  2. Download the document to access it offline.

How to Draw and Add Shapes on a PDF file using PDFescape

PDFescape is a free online tool for making alterations to PDF documents. 

Through this software, you can add text, delete text, draw, add shapes, and more on a PDF file. 

Here is a step by step guide on how to draw and add shapes to your PDF documents online:

  1. Open PDFescape on your web browser, then proceed to import the PDF file from your device to be edited online.
  2. Locate the free-hand tool to draw on the page of your PDF file. Images, illustrations, shapes can also be added
  3. Download your edited document to your device.
how to draw on a pdf on PDFescape

How To Draw And Add Shapes On A PDF File Using Nitro Pro

Another way to draw and make changes to your PDF document is with Nitro Pro. With its free hand feature, you can change color, opacity, thickness, drawing, and more. 

Here’s a step by step guide on how to add shapes with PDF Nitro Pro:

  1. On the Review tab, locate the Review Tools and then select the arrow to create freeform drawings or any of the shapes to be duplicated and edited on the PDF document page
  2. Save your document to be downloaded on your device.
how to draw on PDFs using NitroPro

How to add drawing markup tools and shapes

Annotation and drawing Markup tools are used to add pop-up comments and notes to your PDF files to communicate feedback. 

To access these tools, you would need to locate the Comments Tool and then type whatever text you wish to include using the Sticky Note Tool. 

As an alternative, you can easily use the drawing tool to add lines or shapes, then double click the image or shape to type a text in the comment section you created. 

You would also need to enable the Commenting feature to ensure the display of your mark-up tools.

Here is a step by step guide;

  • Select Tools > Comment. The comment toolbar will be displayed to show your pop-up notes in the right pane.
  • Locate the Drawing Tools menu, click on the icon and then expand to add the drawing tools to the secondary tool bar
  • Click on the desired tool, this could include various shapes like lines, ovals, rectangles, and so on, to be expanded on the page of your PDF document.

You can also perform other edits, such as;

  1. To resize: Drag each corner of the drawing or image.
  2. Change color: Click on the drawing then select “Style”
  3. Rearrange: Click on the drawing with your mouse and then drag to your desired location within the pages.
  4. Delete: Right-click on the drawing and select the Delete option in the menu

Conclusion

To recap, adding shapes or visual illustrations to your PDF documents is a great way to advance your communications.

Thankfully, with a few straightforward steps, you should be able to draw and add shapes to your PDF file using offline and online tools.

Or, you can also use the markup and drawing signature tools that most PDF software comes with automatically.

Finally, if you’re looking for more info on editing and manipulating your PDF documents, be sure to also check out:

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