Sticky Note Properties
Right-click on the sticky note’s icon and select Properties from the resulting contextual menu; Acrobat will present you with the Sticky Note Properties dialog box (Figure 6). Here is where we can tailor the appearance of our sticky notes to our own highly developed sense of aesthetics.
Figure 6 The first set of controls we use to customize our sticky note is the in the Sticky Note Properties dialog box.
Let’s look at some of the things we can easily change.
Changing the Color and Opacity
The Appearance tab (Figure 6, again) of the Properties dialog box lets you change the color and opacity of your sticky notes.
Click on the little, square “color well” control and you get a pop-up palette (for want of a better term) with a bunch of color samples (Figure 7). Pick the color you want for both the icon and the text pop-up.
Figure 7 The color well control burps out an array of color samples; pick one of these to set the color of your sticky note. The Other Color selection sends you to your computer system’s color picker.
The horizontal slider (and associated text field) below the color well lets you specify the opacity for the sticky note icon. Just drag the slider to the opacity you wish (or type a percentage into the text field) and the icon will become more or less transparent (Figure 8). Don’t overdo this; a too-transparent icon becomes a useless stealth annotation.
Figure 8 If you reduce the sticky note’s opacity, its icon becomes increasingly transparent (right). Note that the opacity of the pop-up is not affected by this control. (If you look hard, you may see that the pop-up is actually slightly transparent already.)
You may notice in Figure 8 that the pop-up is also slightly transparent. Surprisingly, the pop-up’s opacity is not affected by the Properties dialog box; rather, this is set in the Acrobat X Preferences dialog box. We’ll come back to this later in the article.
Icons! We Got Icons!
The default icon for a sticky note is the little, ubiquitous speech bubble. However, Acrobat gives you a set of 16 icons that you can use instead (Figure 9). Just click on the one you want in the Properties dialog box’s list.
Figure 9 The Properties dialog box lists a set of icons that you can use for your sticky note, alternatives to the default speech bubble. Some of these are a bit mysterious in their intended meaning. To me, anyway.
Each of these icons has some nominal purpose, though it’s some of them are hard to figure. The Question Mark icon is clear enough, but what does the ring icon mean? Or the key, for that matter? I suppose they can actually mean anything you wish, since there’s no one to stop you.
Author and Subject
By default, Acrobat displays your name (taken from the application’s preferences) in each pop-up frame as the author of that sticky note. You’re not stuck with this; you can change the author name of a particular sticky note in the General tab of the Properties dialog box (Figure 10). Just type your nom de sticky (anything that takes your fancy) into the Author field.
Figure 10 The General tab lets you specify the Author of the sticky note and a subject line. The subject line seems to be no longer used by Acrobat. You could use it to store secret messages, I suppose.
You likely noticed in Figure 10 that the General tab also lets you add a subject line to the sticky note. Feel free to make this anything you wish, but don’t get too excited about it; annotation subjects are no longer displayed by Acrobat, not in the pop-up’s frame nor in the Comment pane’s list of annotations nor anywhere else. Acrobat 9 and earlier did this, but Acrobat X gave it up, I don’t know why (Figure 11).
Figure 11 Acrobat 9 and earlier displayed a sticky note’s subject line (“You’re kidding” in the figure) in the pop-up’s frame. They’ve given it up in Acrobat X, or am I missing a well-hidden preference somewhere?
Setting a New Standard
Having made extensive changes to a sticky note’s settings, you can make them the default for all future sticky notes; just select the ambiguously-named Make Properties Default, at the lower left of the Properties dialog box. Note that this won’t affect any annotations you’ve already placed in the document.