Where has the Typewriter tool gone?

Learn how to add text to a PDF using the Add Text Comment tool, previously known as the Typewriter tool.

By October 5, 2012


In this tutorial, learn how to add text to a PDF using the Add Text Comment tool, previously known as the Typewriter tool. The Typewriter tool has been replaced by a full-fledged fast text engine. Just select the Add Text Comment tool from the Comments panel, click the Add Text Comment tool, click the page where you want to add your text and type away. Format as needed. The Typewriter tool is also available in Adobe Reader XI.

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Where has the Typewriter tool gone?

Donna BakerOctober 5, 2012

How do I find the Typewriter tool so I can add text to a PDF file in Acrobat XI?

Follow these 5 simple steps to use the typewriter tool in Acrobat or Adobe Reader XI.

  1. Select the Add Text Comment tool from the Comments panel.
    Click the Add Text Comment tool
  2. Click the page where you want to place the text and type.
    click page
    type the text
    select text
  3. Select the text for modifying.
  4. Make changes in the Add Text Comment toolbar.
    change settings on the toolbar
    change settings, like the font size
  5. You'll see your new text listed as a comment, or annotation.
    new comment

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Products covered:

Acrobat XI Pro

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Adobe Reader, Edit PDF, Review & approve

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Lori Kassuba

10, 2014-05-19 19, 2014

Hi Peter Abigail,

You’ll specifically need Adobe Reader XI to find the Add Text Comment command.


Peter Abigail

4, 2014-05-14 14, 2014

All of the above is great, IF I actually had or could find my “Add Comments ToolBar” where is it?
What a frustrating program, right click and you get some text change features but not all, why would you do that?

Connie Wambach

10, 2014-04-17 17, 2014

Thank you for your comments.  I have now gotten the hang of using both the add text box as well as the Edit Text. Initially, I was upset about the typewriter feature being gone, but I love these new features.  My version is Acrobat XI Pro.  It did take a while to get the hang of the edit text but once I did I realized how well it works, although I found that I am limited when I use the edit text field (unless I am doing something wrong there).  I’m not sure if my version is more updated than Ken’s, because I can select text with both features and change font, color and can bold the text.

Ken Wagoner

10, 2014-04-17 17, 2014

Lori, thank you for both of your help offerings.  I continued my research and found the answer which worked perfectly and permanently.  Cutting and pasting the answer:

....the problem can be fixed by changing the value “dopacity” from the original value (a decimal number close to zero) to 1 in the following registry item:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat\{Acrobat Version #}\Annots\cAnnots\cFreeText_003aFreeTextTypewriter

—-end of copy

It worked perfectly, and was exactly what I needed.  I wish I could remember where I found it to give appropriate credit to the poster. 

Whoever you are, thank you!

Lori Kassuba

10, 2014-04-17 17, 2014

Hi Ken,

Since there is no direct way to set this in the comment properties, I did come across these steps from one of our experts, Gilad:

A bit tricky to do, but possible. Follow these instructions:

- Select your text annotation

- Press Ctrl+J to open the JS console.

- Paste the following code into the console:


- Select this code with the mouse and press Ctrl+Enter.

- This should change your current text comment.

- Now right-click that comment and go to Properties.

- Tick the box that says Make Properties Default. This will apply the current opacity setting to all new text comments that you’ll create in the future.


Lori Kassuba

10, 2014-04-17 17, 2014

Hi Ken Wagoner,

What version of Acrobat are you using? Do you have all the latest point updates installed?
Also, make sure you’re not viewing these files in PDF/A mode as this will gray out the annotation, which is an indication that you cannot edit them.


Ken Wagoner

11, 2014-04-16 16, 2014

I understand how to use the “add text comment” tool.  What I don’t understand is why the text is shown as relatively opaque.  I haven’t been able to find any way to change it to 100% visibility.  I can indeed change the text color, however no matter what color I change it to there’s no way to make it darker, more visible.

Any assistance greatly appreciated.

Lori Kassuba

10, 2014-01-28 28, 2014

Hi bertha mccabe,

If you open the Comment pane > Comments List panel, do you see the text comment listed? If so, try making sure that the text color of your comment isn’t set to a color you can’t see, like white.


bertha mccabe

12, 2014-01-27 27, 2014

My text comments disappear when I finish typing. I can’t figure out how to keep them. I have tried changing the font. It used to work but now it doesn’t.

donna baker

6, 2013-12-06 06, 2013

Hi Connie -

You don’t need to bother with the Text Box comment tool. Instead, use the Edit Text & Graphics tool, which lets you add a text frame wherever you like, or insert text into an existing paragraph.


Connie Wambach

3, 2013-12-05 05, 2013

I find the new “Text Comment” Tool to be frustrating.  I liked being able to point to a line a type it - now I have to manuever boxes in order to get it in the right place.  I know I am not the only one that loved and miss the old Typewriter tool.  There are a lot of cool features with the new IX but the Text Comment in my opinion is not one of them.

donna baker

11, 2013-04-22 22, 2013

Hi Marne -

It still works the same way. Select the comment with the Hand tool, and you’ll see a frame around the comment with a dropdown menu. You’ll find the Properties on that menu. You can do the same thing by selecting the comment in the Comments list on the Comments pane.


Marne E

7, 2013-04-17 17, 2013

My old version of Acrobat allowed me to set the background color for my text tool box. How do I do that with Acrobat XI? If I right-click the text there is no “properties” option, which is how I’d set the defaults for the text tool box. For the work I do, I need to use the text tool box because my comments must show all the time—pop ups won’t work. Without a background color, some of the comments can be overlooked. Help!

donna baker

12, 2013-03-26 26, 2013

Hi Shamshad -

You can flatten the comments. Open the Print Production tools, then click Preflight. Wait a few seconds for the dialog box to open. In the search field, type “Flatten”. You’ll see a few fixes listed - you want the one for flattening annotations and form fields. Click Analyze and Fix. Your added text becomes part of the document.



7, 2013-03-21 21, 2013


After adding comment using add text tool in Acrobat XI, the person whom I am sending the pdf file can still edit my comment. In earlier version, this was permanent. Also it is visible that I have added the text. Any solutions?


6, 2013-02-06 06, 2013

I actually find the new tool very helpful. Easy but you gotta play with this to get used to it. Thanks


1, 2012-12-30 30, 2012


Derek Skinner

6, 2012-11-26 26, 2012

THis tool is very easy to use and straightforward now. Thank you!

donna baker

3, 2012-11-19 19, 2012

Hi Matt -

Yes, it’s still there and even easier to use since it’s quicker to reposition and configure the contents.


donna baker

3, 2012-11-19 19, 2012

Hi Kim -

The reality is that the Typewriter tool has been an annotation [comment] in the past. It’s just taking its rightful place in AXI. Sorry, but, I don’t see how moving a type of comment to the Comments pane requires purchasing additional products.


donna baker

3, 2012-11-19 19, 2012

Hi Matt -

Yes, you can still do the same thing. In fact it’s simpler because it’s even easier to reposition your added text.


donna baker

3, 2012-11-19 19, 2012

Hi Henk and Celeste -

I agree with you. The Typewriter [Add Text tool] is as convenient as always.


Celeste McMurtrie

8, 2012-11-19 19, 2012

Very grateful that this option has not changed.

Henk den Hollander

8, 2012-11-17 17, 2012

This tool works a lot easyer than the old typewriter!

Kim Foster

2, 2012-11-14 14, 2012

Acrobat continues to de-evolve - losing commonly-used features and requiring purchase of additional products to access functions previously included. If I wanted comments instead of the typewriter, I would have been doing them from the beginning.

Matt Wise

12, 2012-11-13 13, 2012

I use this tool all the time! Glad to see I can still accomplish the same tasks.

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