Google’s push to optimize its first-party apps on tablets continues with Drive for Android adding the ability to annotate PDFs using a stylus or finger. 

You will be able to “use your finger or a stylus to freely write annotations on a file shown in the Drive preview screen on Android devices.”

  1. On your Android Device, open the Google Drive app.
  2. To enter preview mode, open the PDF you’d like to annotate.
  3. At the bottom right corner, tap the annotate button.
  4. A toolbar opens with multiple annotating tools. You can use a stylus or your finger to select an annotating tool.

Available tools include a pen and highlighter with different brush sizes, as well as colors. There will also be an eraser (for individual lines) and undo/redo. You will also be able to show/hide annotations without erasing any of your annotations. The toolbar can be snapped to any side of the screen by tapping and holding.

Once done, you can save the annotations to the original PDF, or make a new copy with everything. In the latter case, the “original copy remains unmarked.”

Google Drive’s PDF Annotate capability is not yet rolled out on several Android devices we checked today. This will benefit the tablet experience, especially with styluses, but will also be handy in a pinch on phones (for signing documents). Wide availability is expected over the coming weeks.

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Abner Li

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