My workflow is heavily dependent upon color-coded comments in PDFs. For seven years now, I have used Acrobat 9 on a daily basis, because none of the newer versions of Acrobat offered any kind of way to sort comments by color. In fact, neither Acrobat X, XI, or DC supported sorting comments by color, and I complained about it for years. I even made a YouTube video bemoaning this fact.
A few months ago, I wrote an article explaining a workaround that I had come up with to deal with the fact that Acrobat DC didn't support sorting comments by color. Basically, involved sacrificing your author name for the name of the color, and then sorting comments by author name.
I complained about this to everyone who would listen: I've blogged about it, mentioned it at conference and user group meetings (with a microphone); I've talked on the phone and emailed anyone at Adobe who would listen to me. For years! Apparently, it finally sunk in. I don't know how many other voices in the Acrobat community were complaining about this feature that has been missing for the last seven years, but regardless, the feature has finally made it's way back into the toolset of the latest release of Acrobat. Hopefully now when Adobe decides (again) to completely redesign Acrobat, they won't fail to leave out this feature.
So let's see see how to works!
For reference: here is a color-coded document viewed in Acrobat 9, with its comments sorted by color.
|Sort Comments by Color: Acrobat 9|
Now here is the newly added Sort Comments by Color in Acrobat DC 2016 May and January release.
|Sort Comments By Color: Collapsed|
You can also expand each individual color to interact with just those comments, while still keeping the rest collapsed.
|Sort Comments By Color: Expanded|
This is HUGE for me! There are still a few features I wish they would improve, or add, such as :
- The ability to sort comments by either fill color OR stroke color
Change sub-level sorting of Sort Comments by Color to sort by order of appearance in the document (not by Y-coordinates)(fixed!)
- Restore the Handy Commenting Toolbar (from Acrobat 9)
- Undock the Comment List
- Right Click > Mark with Checkmark
- Make the "this-comment-is-selected" dashed border indicator much more obvious.
|Comments Options: Acrobat XI|
|Acrobat 9: Commenting Toolbar: Narrow|
|Acrobat 9: Commenting Toolbar: Wide|
Additional ThoughtsAfter some experimentation, I also found that Adobe added something new: called the "Color Picker." Its's very easy to use, and offers 18 different colors, which is plenty! Honestly, most people only have a few colors of highlighters on the cup in their desk, so I applaud the simplification of color choices.
But interestingly, they also still have the Properties Toolbar (Cmd/Ctrl + E). The Properties Toolbar has 40 different colors, which in my opinion, was too many. The icons were too small, and it was easy to choose the wrong color. But if you like the old Properties Toolbar, it is still there. Also note that the Properties toolbar is the easiest way to change the icon of your sticky notes. Somehow, the icon choice didn't make it into the newly revamped Commenting Tools (Color Picker and Line Weights).
|Old Properties Toolbar (Cmd/Ctrl + E)|
It sure is nice to know that there are actually people at Adobe who are listening, and are willing (and allowed) to design and implement features that only a small percentage of users need. I extend my heartfelt thanks to the Acrobat team for finally implementing these much-needed features.
Edit 5-16-16: After working with the improved commenting in Acrobat DC, I still have a few things on my wish-list, listed in order of importance:
- Right click > Mark as Check, Comment Pane Orientation and the Handy Commenting Toolbar
- Add a highlight blending mode to drawing tools (so that we can highlight non-text objects
- Sort comments by fill color, not just stroke color
- Change sub-level sorting of Sort Comments by Color to sort by order of appearance in the document (not by Y-coordinates)(fixed!)