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13 Best PDF Markup Software in 2023

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Avatar of author Fred Melanson

Fred Melanson

Published: Wed Aug 30 2023

Some of the best PDF markup software available online are Macro, Adobe Acrobat Pro, Microsoft OneNote, PDFescape, Foxit Reader, Markup Hero, Nitro Reader, Sumatra PDF, Sejda, Qiqqa, Mac Preview, MuPDF, and EaseUS.

This article will walk you through all the markup features the above tools have and more.

What are the Best PDF Markup Tools?

As the name suggests, a PDF markup tool helps you edit, annotate, collaborate on, sign, and revise PDFs.

Writers, editors, and designers can use them to highlight or edit fonts, and change colors.

A project management team can use markup tools to comment and collaborate with their team on a single PDF.

Lawyers can use them to sign a document or request a signature from their clients.

Whatever the reason, markup tools play a big role in any PDF editing software.

Let’s look at the top PDF markup tools in 2023.

#1. Macro

Macro is an all-in-one PDF editor that combines ease-of-use and built-in intelligence, allowing you to edit PDFs efficiently.

From college students to corporate lawyers, anyone can use it.

Macro’s markup tools are modern, clean, and easy to use. Let us show you how you can mark PDFs and take important notes via Macro.

How to Leverage Macro’s Markup Tools

Here are the markup tools Macro offers:

  • Add a text box to add text and take notes.
  • Add a shape—rectangle, circle, or triangle.
  • Add page numbers to PDFs.
  • Create and add digital signatures.
  • Add images and watermarks.
  • Add header & footer to PDFs for better navigability.
  • Redact any sensitive information from PDFs.
  • Comment on sentences and paragraphs you want to change or edit later.
  • Comes with optical character recognition (OCR) to convert hand-written page images into PDFs.

Here’s how a PDF might look after marking it up:

Other Features

  • Navigate PDFs with automatic hyperlinks and multiple tabs.
  • Merge two or more PDFs with Macro’s merge feature.
  • Compare multiple PDFs to find out the latest PDF version or check for any copyright infringements.
  • Convert Word documents into PDFs and vice versa.
  • AI-powered error detection helps you avoid making costly mistakes when writing or finalizing a document.


You can start using the free version of Macro, packed with stunning markup features. But if you want advanced features like live linking, comparing PDFs, editing PDFs in offline mode, and more, choose any one of the two paid plans Macro offers:

  • Professional: $49 per month per user
  • Organization: Custom pricing

#2. Adobe Acrobat Pro

Adobe Acrobat Pro is a widely used PDF markup and editing tool. Apart from comprehensive markup features, you can access various PDF editing options it offers.

Adobe Acrobat Pro Markup Features

  • Annotate and comment on PDFs using elements like type, highlight, underline text, freehand drawings, markings, etc.
  • Add, remove, or edit text, and flip, crop, or resize images.
  • The platform's optical character recognition (OCR) technology lets you extract text from any scan and convert it to an editable PDF.
  • Fill and sign PDFs or request signatures from other users. Furthermore, turn existing forms into fillable PDFs.

Other Features

  • Convert different file formats like Word, PPT, Excel, JPG, HTML, and Print to PDF, or vice versa.
  • Organize PDFs by deleting, rotating, reordering, extracting, inserting, or cropping pages.
  • Split a single PDF into multiple documents or combine several PDF files.


Adobe Acrobat Pro’s pricing is on the higher end of PDF-editing tools.

Subscription costs start from $12.99 per month and the software has custom quotes for enterprise-level businesses.

You can use Adobe Acrobat Pro on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices with full functionality.

#3. Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft OneNote is a PDF markup tool with note-taking and annotation features. Although it’s not a PDF editing tool exclusively, you can do almost all markup tasks on OneNote.

Unfortunately, extra unwanted features and functionality make it slightly harder for you to use the platform leading to a steeper learning curve.

Microsoft OneNote Markup Features

  • Edit text boxes to change fonts, content, and formatting. You can add new text boxes and rearrange existing textual content.
  • Add and edit images by flipping, cropping, or resizing them.
  • Annotate and comment on text with features like highlights, underlines, strike-throughs, etc.
  • Add signatures to PDFs.
  • Highlight and make notes on sentences and paragraphs.

Other Features

  • Has high-level note-taking features similar to Microsoft Word with various font options, formatting options, special design features, and drawing tools.
  • Save and export files to Google Drive or Dropbox after converting them to PDFs.


Microsoft OneNote is part of the Microsoft 365 package that includes other tools like Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, and more.

The subscription costs start from $6.99 a month .

You get discounted rates if you pay yearly.

Most Windows PCs already come with a limited-time subscription to Microsoft Office. You can also use this on macOS, Android, and iOS with certain limitations depending upon the device you use.

#4. PDFescape

PDFescape is a free online PDF editor with a form-filler and basic PDF annotation features. It can help you make easy customizations with a few useful markup features.

PDFescape Markup Features

  • Edit PDF documents by adding text, images, and links. Also, adjust layouts and formatting to tidy up your PDF.
  • Comes with advanced annotation features to comment on, highlight, underline, and strike through texts.
  • Has drawing tools to make customized edits and add different shapes to PDFs.

Other Features

  • Add password protection to PDFs
  • Merge and split documents
  • Add watermarks and page numbers
  • Compress PDFs in minutes


PDFescape is an online PDF editing tool that you can use for free. You can also download an app for Windows, but macOS users can only access it via a browser.

#5. Foxit Reader

Foxit Reader is a PDF markup and annotation tool for personal and enterprise users. Use it for basic annotations or making comprehensive edits to PDFs. The software has a great UI that is easily navigable for beginners.

Foxit Reader Markup Features

  • Edit text boxes and images, and format content in PDFs.
  • Comes with advanced annotation features to comment on, highlight, underline, and strike-through texts.
  • Has drawing tools to make customized edits and add different shapes to PDFs.
  • Protect and sign documents in your own handwriting. You can also use an eSignature and verify digital signatures.

Other Features

  • Manage PDFs by reordering, inserting, and deleting pages.
  • Has additional features like password protection, text redaction, typewriter, etc.


You can use the basic version of Foxit Reader starting from $10.75 per month and the pro version starting from $13.25 per month.

The platform also offers enterprise packages with custom quotes. Pay either yearly or monthly. If you just want to try it, Foxit also offers a free trial.

#6. Markup Hero

Markup Hero is free, online, and downloadable markup software that allows you to edit and annotate PDFs. You can use this tool to take screenshots, add signatures, share links, and more.

Markup Hero Markup Features

  • Lets you take notes easily, thanks to its simple UI.
  • Ability to save markups and edit and reedit saved screenshots quickly.
  • Comes with basic annotation features like highlighting, underlining, font change, etc.
  • Add text, icons, and shapes to highlight or point out certain PDF sections.
  • Add signatures, images, and links.

Other Features

  • Markup Hero allows you to select the background, colors, line thicknesses, and font sizes.
  • Blur sentences and paragraphs you want to hide.
  • Download or export markups as images, PDFs, and websites.


Markup Hero has two free-to-use base versions—Sidekick and Hero. But, to unlock certain premium features, you must subscribe to the paid version—Superhero.

It costs $5 per month per user. You can either download it for Windows and macOS or use it online via a browser.

#7. Nitro Reader

Nitro Reader is an all-encompassing markup tool that you can leverage to perform basic PDF editing tasks. You can also create PDFs and customize them to your requirements. It has all the best aspects of a good markup tool, like a clean UI and a good set of features.

Nitro Reader Markup Features

  • Collaborate and annotate PDFs by adding text boxes, highlights, underlines, etc.
  • Editing features like OCR that allows you to extract text from images. You can also edit images and add links.
  • Add digital signatures to PDFs securely.

Other Features

  • Convert PDF documents to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and back to PDF.
  • Merge multiple PDFs into a single searchable, editable file.


Nitro Reader's PDF and e-sign tools are separate paid plans. This combination will cost $9.99 per month per member . You can try out the tool with a free trial to use all its features for 14 days before upgrading.

#8. Sumatra PDF

Sumatra PDF is a free, open-source PDF markup software with amazing annotation features. It also has a community manual that explains all features and steps to use the tool properly.

Sumatra is super lightweight and fast, making it seamless to switch between other tools. However, this tool’s functionality only has basic markup features and PDF viewing.

Sumatra PDF Markup Features

  • Comes with all major annotation features like highlight, underline, strikeout, and squiggly underline.
  • Work on annotation types, including text, free text, stamp, and caret.

Other Features

  • Makes navigating PDFs easy with features like zooming, searching, and page rotation.
  • Supports opening and editing file formats like PDF, eBook (epub, mobi), comic book (cbz/cbr), DjVu, XPS, CHM, and images.


Being an open-source platform, Sumatra is completely free to download and use. However, it is only available on Windows.

#9. Sejda

Sejda is a PDF editor with almost all the markup and editing features you can imagine. You can create, edit, annotate, and manage PDFs using Sejda’s online or downloadable software.

Sejda Markup Features

  • Standard form-filling features like adding text, images, filling checkboxes, etc.
  • Annotation features like highlighting, strike-through, and underlining with different styles.
  • Add signatures by writing your name, uploading your signature, or drawing one with your mouse or trackpad.
  • Add and edit texts and images.

Other Features

  • Whiteout sentences and paragraphs with a square block to hide information.
  • Add shapes like rectangles and ellipses with options to change borders and backgrounds.
  • Add form fields to existing forms or create new ones.


Sejda is a paid PDF editor with a starting plan of $5 for a week and $7.50 for a month. There are also team discounts starting from 10% for 2–4 people that go all the way up to 60% for a team of 50+ users.

You will only get access to Sejda Web with the weekly and monthly plans. To get the desktop version, you need to get an annual subscription.

👀 Note: Get the annual plan to access Sejda Web and Desktop versions.

#10. Qiqqa

Qiqqa is one of the oldest and most reliable PDF viewers and markup tools. It’s open-source software that you can use to organize and access PDF libraries with automatic tagging, identification, and categorization.

Qiqqa Markup Features

  • Comes with basic annotation features like highlights, underlining, strike-throughs, etc.
  • It's a free tool; from drawing to customizing, you can do everything in PDFs free of cost.
  • Qiqqa automatically finds and extracts the document’s abstract to give you a PDF summary whenever it can.

Other Features

  • Easily navigable UI with automatic tagging, identification, and categorization. Even specific PDF sections are easy to find with automated jump links and bookmarks.
  • Has an integrated dictionary and web search functionality.


As Qiqqa is an open-source platform, it's completely free to use. You can also find forums and dedicated channels that provide deep dives about the tool if you need help.

#11. Mac Preview Editor

Mac users have the easiest possible solution to access basic markup features. All macOS devices have a default PDF viewer that lets you perform markup actions on all PDFs.

Although the tool has limits to its functionality, you can use its markup tools to provide feedback or write down something you want to remember.

Mac Preview Editor Markup Features

  • Redact text by selecting it and suggest edits by adding text boxes.
  • To modify text in PDFs, use annotation tools like highlights, underlines, strike-throughs, etc.
  • Add signatures to PDFs.
  • Sketch, draw, and add shapes to customize PDFs visually.
  • Add notes for reference and collaborate with your team on a specific PDF.

Besides markup features, the default PDF viewer doesn't have much. You can't edit or change existing text or images.

Since the tool is available by default, you don’t have to pay for it. But remember, the tool’s just for users who have a Mac.

#12. MuPDF

MuPDF is an open-source, lightweight PDF, XPS, and E-book viewer with markup tools. The annotation and markup features have limits, but the software is fast and efficient. This can be a viable option if you don't have any heavy edits to perform.

MuPDF Markup Features

  • Comes with basic annotation and editing features.
  • You can redact selected text from PDFs.
  • Has form-filling ability and digital signatures.
  • Convert documents to and from HTML, SVG, PDF, and CB.

As far as other general features go, MuPDF allows you to perform text searches to find specific sentences or paragraphs. You can also access progressive loading to further experience a fast UI.

And just like Qiqqa and Sumatra, MuPDF is open-source. Meaning it's free to use for Desktop and Android users.

#13. EaseUS

EaseUS PDF Editor is a great markup and annotation tool with a simple UI and various features to edit your PDF.

The platform has a 4.7 rating on Trustpilot with 15,000+ reviews, making it a reliable type of PDF markup software in the market.

EaseUS Markup Features

  • The tool offers markup and annotation features like adding comments, highlighting phrases, changing font size and color, etc.
  • It has visual customization options like drawing lines, arrows, and inserting shapes.
  • Edit text, images, hyperlinks, and forms to edit PDFs.

Other Features

  • Add encryption to PDFs after markup and protect them.
  • Convert PDF to more than 10 different formats and vice versa.


EaseUS PDF Editor has a free plan with limited functionality. If you want to go a step further and get premium features, you can subscribe to the editor plan of EaseUS by paying a one-time fee of $29.95.

Read and Edit Documents Faster with Macro

Markup tools are like the building blocks of any PDF editor software. That's because PDF editing starts with adding or redacting text and carrying out the annotation procedure.

Some free tools like Macro offer modern and simple markup tools. In contrast, other paid tools like Acrobat Pro are more comprehensive in their markup tool set, but you must pay for them.

Most of the time, simple markup tools can get the job done. The best way to know which PDF markup software is best for you is by first trying free and open-source tools. If none satisfy your markup needs, you should consider using a paid tool.

If you're short on time and want to start the PDF markup process immediately, download Macro’s free-to-use app and get started right away.

Avatar of author Fred Melanson

Fred Melanson

Fred leads Growth at Macro. He is a passionate generalist in the Product-Led GTM space, with experience in content creation, marketing strategy & sales. His LinkedIn has over 1M views yearly, and his Vlogs generate hundreds of thousands of views. His favorite thing in the world is walking with his dog, Lola 🐶
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