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From the author of Pop-Up Appearance

Pop-Up Appearance

The Sticky Note Properties dialog box determines the appearance of a sticky note’s icon; it has no effect on how the pop-up looks. If you want to change the pop-up’s appearance, you have to go to the Acrobat X preferences. (Remember you do this by selecting Acrobat X > Preferences on the Mac or Edit > Preferences in Windows.) Among the myriad controls in the Preferences dialog box are a set that affect comments, and among these are a collection of settings that determine annotation pop-up appearance (Figure 12).

Figure 12 The Acrobat Preferences dialog box has a Commenting pane with a set of controls affecting annotation appearance. These controls apply to annotation pop-ups, not icons.

The Font and Font Size controls are straightforward; you’ve seen their like in hundreds of other places, no doubt. The other controls could use a little explanation.

  • Pop-up Opacity: This seems easy enough at first glance; pick an opacity from the drop-down menu or type a number into the text field and that becomes the opacity for all annotation pop-ups, regardless of the type of comment (sticky note, text highlight, etc.).
  • The only reason that opacity is worth a paragraph here is that it applies to the sticky note pop-up only in its non-selected, non-rolled-over state. That is, this is the opacity of the pop-up if you haven’t selected the sticky note’s icon and the mouse is not inside the pop-up’s border (Figure 13). If you click on the icon or if the mouse rolls over the pop-up, then the pop-up becomes completely opaque. This is good; a glance at Figure 13 will convince you that the pop-up needs to be opaque if you hope to read its contents.

    Figure 13 The opacity control in the Preferences changes the opacity of the pop-ups of all annotations displayed by Acrobat. The pop-up always become completely opaque when the mouse pointer rolls over it.

    By the way, the pop-up opacity we set here doesn’t travel with the document. That is, other people will see your sticky note pop-ups displayed with the opacity set in their own Acrobat’s preferences.

  • Enable text indicators and tooltips: When you hover the mouse pointer over the icon, Acrobat displays a tooltip containing the full text of the sticky note, even if the note’s pop-up isn’t open (Figure 14).
  • Figure 14 When the mouse pointer hovers over an annotation icon, Acrobat displays the comment text in a pop-up.

    This is handy; it allows you to read a sticky note’s text without having to open the pop-up. It’s at its best when you are looking for a particular note; it relieves you from having to double-click each annotation’s icon, read the pop-up text, and then close the pop-up for each and every note until you find the one you want. (Yes, I know you can do a text search on annotation contents, but reading the tooltips is more convenient if you don’t have too many comments to look through.)

  • Show lines connecting comment markups to their pop-ups: Acrobat displays a swooshy line (I don’t know how else to describe it, though I’m open to suggestion) that connects an annotation’s icon and pop-up whenever the mouse pointer rolls over either of them (Figure 15).
  • Figure 15 When the mouse pointer rolls over either the icon or the pop-up, Acrobat displays a swooshy pointer connecting the two. (Well, what would you call it?)

    This lets you easily see which icon corresponds to what pop-up. (This can be remarkably difficult otherwise, if you have a page littered with sticky notes, text edits, and annotative circles and arrows.) This feature is on by default.

  • Ensure that pop-ups are visible as the document is scrolled: Just as the checkbox’s label says, when you scroll the PDF page, Acrobat will reposition all annotation pop-ups so that they remain visible on your screen (Figure 16); this ensures you can’t overlook the pop-ups when zoomed in on a page.
  • Figure 16 As you scroll your document page (up, in this case), Acrobat repositions all pop-ups so that they remain visible on your screen.

    The importance of this depends mostly on your PDF-viewing habits. I tend to initially view documents in a zoomed-out state so that the entire page is visible; among other things, this ensures that I always see all the comments and pop-ups when I go to a page. On the other hand, if you like to have Acrobat zoomed in on the page when you first open a document, then this feature can be useful; you immediately see all of the page’s pop-ups even if the corresponding icon isn’t visible on your piece of the page.

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