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View and annotate PDF and Office documents
View and annotate PDF and Office documents

Learn how to annotate your documents with advanced annotation tools

Updated over a week ago

Article overview:

Viewing and annotating PDF and Office documents (docx, pptx, xlsx) in Filestage works exactly like the typical PDF software you are used to working with on your computer.

Annotate your documents precisely

Besides the usual commenting and annotating options available for all file types by clicking into the file, you can now create a comment in document files by selecting text, which opens the additional annotation tools.

How to select text to leave a comment and an annotation

  1. Place your cursor at the end (or beginning) of the text you want to select.

  2. Drag the mouse over the text you want to select.

  3. When the selected text is highlighted yellow, you can add a new comment (on the left), and the new toolbar opens (directly under the selected text).

The now-opened Annotation Toolbar contains tools to highlight text, strikethrough text, and copy it to the clipboard.

With the highlight text tool, you can highlight the selected text in yellow.

With the strikethrough text tool, you can strike through selected text passages with a red line.

With the copy to clipboard tool, you can copy the selected text to your clipboard to temporarily store the text.

After selecting text, the commenting window opens on the left side, where you can now write and add your comment by clicking on the save button.

You can also select the Highlight tool and the Strikeout tool directly in the Annotate mode, allowing you to apply these tools directly to your selection.

View & Layout Options

PDF and office files have additional view and layout options to adapt to your preferences. You can zoom, rotate, change the page layout and even toggle between thumbnail and outline view.


Under the file display, you will have different options for zooming.

Zoom in/out

By clicking on the zoom-in and zoom-out buttons the document magnification changes by preset levels.

Zoom level

By clicking on the down arrow next to the zoom level percentage, a drop-down menu opens where you can select a fixed zoom level without having to click the +/- button several times. You can also click on the percentage to type in an individual zoom percentage.

⚠️Please note: When a user chooses any custom zoom option (Ex: 100% or 150%), this zoom level will not be maintained for other images or files, and the user will have to change the zoom level for every file if they want to.

Marquee Zoom

By selecting the marquee zoom function in the drop-down selection, you can drag a rectangle around a portion of the page that you want to fill the viewing area.

Fit to width/ Fit to page

You can also adjust the size of your document to the width of the document or the page size by selecting those options from the drop-down menu.

⚠️Please note:

  • Files smaller than viewable area: Files that are smaller than the available viewable area Fit-to-page will be the same as zoomed to 100%.

  • Files larger than viewable area: Files that are larger than the available viewable area Fit-to-page will zoom out to fit the entire file within the viewable area.


You now have the option to rotate your document 90 degrees Clockwise or Counterclockwise. To do so:

  1. Click on the gear symbol in the lower-left corner of your file view. This opens the layout options.

  2. Click on either the Clockwise or Counterclockwise button under the page orientation section to rotate the file in the desired direction.

⚠️ Please note: The rotation of the document pages will not be persisted. This means that if you or another reviewer reopens the file, the pages will return to their original appearance.


You have the option to customize your Page layout according to your wishes. To do so:

  1. Click on the gear symbol in the lower-left corner of your file view. This opens the layout options

  2. Choose behind the Page layout section if you want to activate the pages in Single, Double Page or Cover Facing Page

Page Transition

You also have the possibility to customize your page transition according to your wishes. To do so:

  1. Click on the gear symbol in the lower-left corner of your file view. This opens the layout options

  2. Behind the page transition option, choose whether you want to display Continuous Page or Page by Page option

Toggle between thumbnail and outline view

As you might be used to with PDF tools, you can now switch the page overview on the right side of your file view between the regular thumbnail view and the document outline view.

⚠️ Please note: Outlines become visible exclusively when switching the preview quality to HQ mode.

Here you can switch between the two options by clicking on the selection above the overview.

The Outline and thumbnail view can be opened by clicking the bottom panel icon.

Search within documents

You can now search and display text within your document to find desired text segments faster.

  1. Click on the magnifying glass icon in the lower-left corner of your file view to open the search bar.

  2. Enter your search term and see all matching words in the document with their related page number.

  3. If you click on one of the search results, the file view will jump to the corresponding position in the document.

    • You can also adjust the width of the sidebars by dragging them outward.

Toggle between standard and high quality

When you upload documents, some elements in the original file are converted to look pixelated when you zoom in. These elements can be text or images. We do this to speed up the experience. If this is the case for you, you can switch to High Quality, which provides the original resolution, including zooming capability.

Export review report

As usual, you can export review report that shows you the general document information, the submitted reviews of your reviewers, and their comments. The difference to the export of other uploaded file types (video-, image-, audio files) is that embedded PDF comments are displayed, and you can only download the review report of the version you are currently viewing.

💡What´s next? After understanding how to annotate document files, see how to Annotate files in general.

Let us know if you have any questions by reaching out to us on chat or emailing us at We're always happy to help!

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