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Peer review with annotated PDFs

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When you are working on documentation you will often want to get feedback, suggestions and corrections from colleagues and others. If they have Help+Manual themselves they can simply add their comments to the project with the comments tool. If they don't, however, you need a different solution, and that is with a PDF version of your project.

PDF Review Plugin (2 minutes tutorial)


You generate a PDF of the project directly with Help+Manual and distribute that to your colleagues. When you create the PDF you can include any comments that the project already contains so that these will be visible in the PDF.

The reviewers then add comments with the PDF commenting feature. When you get the commented PDF back, you can then go through and implement the suggestions in your project.

The PDF review plugin makes this even easier

In the past the commented PDF and your project were two separate things that you had to work on without any connection. The PDF review plugin synchronizes and lines up the topics and comments in the PDF with the corresponding topics in your project. This makes going through the review much faster and more efficient.

Support for PDF Annotator

In addition to synchronizing normal PDF comments with your project, the PDF review plugin also supports the excellent PDF Annotator tool that provides much more advanced commenting and highlighting features than the native capabilities of PDF without the expensive Acrobat program. You can download a free trial from the PDF Annotator site:

Using PDF Peer Review

Step 1: Publish a PDF version of the project with comments

Even if there are no comments in your project, activate the the option to include comments when you publish the PDF version for peer review. This makes sure that commenting is enabled in the PDF so that any PDF editor with commenting capabilities can add them. This also disables any passwords and other editing restrictions you may have set. See the Publishing chapter if you don't know how to publish PDFs yet.


Step 2: Distribute the PDF for comments

Send the PDF to your colleagues for commenting/annotation. When you receive it back you can use the plugin to synchronize it with your project.

Step 3: Load the annotated PDF in the review plugin

Open your project in Help+Manual and select the PDF Review plugin with the Plugins tool in the Project Tab. Then click on Load and select the annotated PDF file that you received from your colleagues.

The list of comments in the PDF include answers from your colleagues. All the list items are live links that take you directly to the corresponding comment location in the project topic when you click on them.


Right-click context menu

If you right-click on a comment in the list you get a context menu with which you can copy the comment to the clipboard or update it in your Help+Manual project.


How the review tool works

The review tool displays a list of all the comments found in the PDF with a preview of the pages below. You can zoom the preview with the +/- buttons. The comments are automatically synchronized with the topic display in the editor on the left. When you select a comment in the plugin the corresponding topic in your project is automatically displayed in the editor. The comment icon in the PDF is also highlighted in the preview.