Where has the Typewriter tool gone in Acrobat XI?

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

By Donna Baker – October 5, 2012


In this tutorial, learn how to edit PDF by adding 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 The Typewriter tool has been replaced by a full-fledged fast text engine.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 the free Reader.

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Where has the Typewriter tool gone in Acrobat XI?

Donna Baker – October 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

Looking for more help on How to Edit PDF?

  • Consult the How to Edit interactive guide.
  • Ask a question in our forum.
  • You can leave a comment below for the author of this tutorial.

Products covered:

Acrobat XI

Related topics:

Edit PDFs

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Comments for this tutorial are now closed.

Lori Kassuba

5, 2016-02-12 12, 2016

Hi John P. Young, PE,

The typewriter tool is in Acrobat DC located under the Comments tool. It’s called the Add Text Comment tool.


Lori Kassuba

5, 2016-01-22 22, 2016

Hi Josh,

Yes, you can set the default for this tool. Here are the details:


Josh Gardner

2, 2016-01-22 22, 2016

Is there a way to change the default font for the Add Text Comment tool?

John P. Young, PE

9, 2016-01-13 13, 2016

I’m a Professional Engineer who uses Acrobat Pro to provide design comments on PDF-based Plans that are send to me for review. I’m very disappointed in the new version of Acrobat Pro. In fact, I’m shopping for a NOS copy of the older version right now. The Typewriter tool allowed me to make comments “on the fly” with ease. Why in the world would you intentionally make the user interface MORE cumbersome?

Lori Kassuba

6, 2016-01-07 07, 2016

Hi Justin,

For some of the reasons you mention, the latest version of Acrobat “DC” has introduced a Tools search dialog so you no longer need to hunt and peck to tract down commands. In addition, the product is similar across multiple types of devices like desktop, tablet, and phone.

You suggestions and comments are always welcome here:



11, 2016-01-04 04, 2016

Very unhelpful to keep changing the tools and interface around.  The typewriter tool worked, but the “add text” tool doesn’t.  (You can select the tool, but then actually trying to apply it does not do anything.)

More generally, the changes to the interface are extremely unhelpful.  All the keyboard commands and drop-down menus are gone!  Why on earth is Adobe making the product more difficult and slower to use?  Now everything requires navigating through some choose-your-own-adventure process of clicking on things with a mouse.  This is extremely unhelpful.

art gooding

2, 2015-09-21 21, 2015

Wherein it the “add text comment” or the “comments” panel?  I have a “comment” item on my Adobe Acrobat, but cannot fine what I am supposed to click on, so cannot proceed beyond Step 1

Lori Kassuba

7, 2015-02-03 03, 2015

Hi Rosa Asgari,

Try making sure that your text isn’t transparent. First, check to see if there are any comments listed under the Comments List panel under the Comments pane. If so, your text is probably transparent. Right-click on one of the Comments in the list and choose Properties. In the Properties dialog, set the opacity to 100% and check the Make Properties Default box.


Rosa Asgari

1, 2015-02-01 01, 2015

My problem is that when I choose the add text comment from the toolbar and I click where I want to add text and start writing, NOTHING happens! No text appears… What should I do?

Lori Kassuba

10, 2014-10-07 07, 2014

Hi Peter Hausmann,

It’s the same tool, just in a different location. In previous versions, using this tool always created a comment, which you’ll see in the Comments List. So, it makes sense to include it in the Comments pane.


Peter Hausmann

7, 2014-10-01 01, 2014

Inelegant text box changes. Why remove the typewriter feature, it was a great work around using your text box to enter text. Frustrated.

Lori Kassuba

4, 2014-09-12 12, 2014

Hi Dave Campbell - thanks for letting us know it worked for you!

Dave Campbell

9, 2014-09-10 10, 2014

Thank you Lori Kassuba!

It worked! What was Adobe thinking about when the hid all of the strategic jewels that we’ve used for so long? I have no idea how they could make them more difficult to find or use. ...most be some former M$employees.

Lori Kassuba

6, 2014-09-10 10, 2014

Hi Dave Campbell,

Here is a discussion that explains how to set the default font/color for the Add Text comment tool:


Dave Campbell

2, 2014-09-09 09, 2014

Thanks Lori for the feedback. I was doing all the right things except when it came time to copy and paste. Thanks to your comments, I kept trying and trying to get it to work and finally stumbled on to the solution, again thanks to your “blue border” comment. It turns out a right click does noting in the way of cut and paste but provides a menu of only delete and a couple of other unrelated items. BUT, Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V works like a charm. Although its possible to do, its nowhere near as user friendly as Acrobat 9.

One last question regarding that same “typewriter” function. How do you change it’s defaults for size, font and color?

Thanks again for the help.

Lori Kassuba

1, 2014-09-09 09, 2014

Hi Dave Campbell,

In Acrobat XI, you should be able to select the Add Text Comment (only the tool found under the Comments pane not the Tools pane). If you can’t select it then try selecting it in the Comments List panel. Once you see the text highlighted by a blue bounding box, you’ll be able to copy and paste it. This doesn’t not work the same for the Add Text command found under in the Content Editing panel.


Dave Campbell

11, 2014-09-07 07, 2014

To clarify my last post, on a daily basis I created a two page report and before saving it, used the ‘typewriter’ function to create an annotation on the first page, then “copy and paste” that field to the second page. Where I could do that on Acrobat 9, I’ve not found a way to do the same thing on AXI.

Dave Campbell

10, 2014-09-07 07, 2014

Once you figure out how to mimic the old typewriter annotation function, how do you copy and paste it to another page like before. I haven’t figured out how without standing on my head.

Lori Kassuba

2, 2014-05-19 19, 2014

Hi Peter Abigail,

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


Peter Abigail

8, 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

2, 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

2, 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

2, 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

2, 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

3, 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

3, 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

5, 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

11, 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

8, 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

3, 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

11, 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

4, 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.



11, 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?


11, 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


6, 2012-12-30 30, 2012


Derek Skinner

11, 2012-11-26 26, 2012

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

donna baker

8, 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

8, 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

8, 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

8, 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

1, 2012-11-19 19, 2012

Very grateful that this option has not changed.

Henk den Hollander

1, 2012-11-17 17, 2012

This tool works a lot easyer than the old typewriter!

Kim Foster

7, 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

5, 2012-11-13 13, 2012

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

Comments for this tutorial are now closed.