Are there any PDF and/or ebook readers (for epub, mobi and/or lit formats) that allows you to "add" to the text/page in a way you can retrieve next time you open the text? Things like (margin-)comments, "sticky-notes", corrections, underlining and highlighting, … i.e. things you may do in a "real" book. It would probably be best if the original file was left untouched.

I'm using a PC with Linux (Ubuntu), so I'm mostly interested in a reader for it - where mouse and keyboard is used for highlighting and notes. However if there are programs for tablets doing similar things (but perhaps with touch-and-swipe or pen interface), I'm intersted in that too.

It's just that I got lots of ebooks I'm reading (mostly PDF), and it would be great to leave comments and highlighting - without having to print-out a hardcopy.

  • Foxit Reader allows you make changes to page and save it. I'd search for Linux version (there has to be).
    – onurcano
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 16:55

5 Answers 5


If you don't mind KDE dependencies, Okular (the KDE document viewer) offers all that: Highlight, sticky notes and other annotations. You can install it straight from the repositories.

If you'd rather avoid those dependencies, there's also QPDFView, again available via the standard repositories.

Okular QPDFView
Okular and QPDFView (click images for larger variant)

As the screenshot shows, QPDFView even offers tabs, so you can have multiple documents open at the same time.

Both can deal with PDF files. Okular also has support for other file types, including EPUB.

  • How did you read my mind? Thanks for the Okular alternative. :)
    – arif
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 8:00

Foxit Reader is available for Linux.

I've used it in Windows OS and I'm satisfied. You can annotate, highlight, add text (with different font and size) to anywhere on a page, sign your document, and many more.

How to Install:

  1. URL: http://cdn01.foxitsoftware.com/pub/foxit/reader/desktop/linux/
  2. Download the latest version and install

    you can follow this instruction

  • Foxit does work, but it is a bit annoying and does not integrate perfectly. I find that running the Windows version in Wine is often better. Generally, I don't like this app, but it does offer better edit options for notes and form filling than most linux options, so I use it occasionally for this purpose. Commented May 15, 2021 at 17:56

Mendeley allows you to view, highlight & annotate PDFs via any of:

It is primarily intended as a free reference manager and academic social network that can help to organise research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research.

The really good news is that your highlights & annotations are stored online so if you, for example, annotate a pdf on your mobile device and then several days later open it on your PC your annotations will still be present.

Mendeley stores your (annotated) PDF files in an online library and the amount of storage you have depends on your plan:

  • Personal:
    • Free = 2 GB personal storage 100 MB shared with up to 3 collaborators @ £0.00/pm, £0.00/pa
    • Plus = 5 GB @ £3.99/pm, £44.00/pa
    • Pro = 10 GB @ £7.99/pm, £88.00/pa
    • Max = 100 GB @ £11.99/pm, £132.00/pa
  • Team pricing differs depending on usage type:
    • 5-50 collaborators 100 GB initial shared storage.
  • Institution:
    • More of the same & a lot more on the support side.

Windows Desktop Client: enter image description here

Prices from their web site as at 01/01/2017

N.B. I am a user of Mendeley but do not work for them or their parent/associated company.


The latest version of PDF Studio Viewer (Qoppa's Free PDF Reader) supports all the annotations you mention above (sticky, underline highlights, corrections called text markups). They are added as a separate annotations layer not as part of the document itself (the same way that Adobe does it, so you can go back and easily edit the annotations later on). Give it a try: https://www.qoppa.com/pdfstudioviewer/download/


Calibre's e-book viewer allows for comments and highlighting. It is not good for ebooks that were converted from scanned text (OCR). In general, not recommended for PDFs, but it works well for proper ebook formats (EPUB etc.). Here's an example with highlights added.

enter image description here

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