They say that cockroaches will outlive us all.

But there is, in fact, one other hardy little creature that’ll still be scuttling across the earth’s barren surface long after we’ve all gone:

The PDF source file.


Indeed, no matter how advanced translation technology becomes, there will always be clients that ask you to work from PDFs.

Rather than try to stamp PDFs out, the best thing you can do is learn to coexist with them. And to make that easier for you, we’ve put together these handy tables of shortcuts and commands.

Most of the functions work in the free version of Adobe Acrobat DC, but one or two may only be available in paid editions. Either way, we’re sure they’ll help you handle PDFs faster and more efficiently.

General commands

Description Menu Shortcut
(finds matches one by one)
Edit > Find CTRL + F
Open search dialog (displays list of matches) Edit > Search CTRL + SHIFT + F
Print File > Print CTRL + P
Go to page View > Go To > Page CTRL + SHIFT + N
Fit to page View > Zoom > Fit Page CTRL + 0
Toggle between Hand tool and Select tool Tools > Select & Zoom > Select Tool / Hand Tool H / SHIFT + V (with single-key shortcuts selected, see below)
Rotate clockwise View > Rotate View > Clockwise CTRL + SHIFT + ADD
Rotate anticlockwise View > Rotate View > Counterclockwise CTRL + SHIFT + MINUS
Check PDF security settings Document > Security > Show Security Properties > Security tab N/A

Single-key shortcuts

To activate single-key shortcuts, click Edit > Preferences > General and tick Use single-key accelerators to access tools.

Description Shortcut
Activate Hand tool H
Activate Select tool SHIFT + V
Activate Note tool S
Activate Highlight tool U


Description Menu Shortcut
View all comments Tools > Comment & Markup > Show > Show Comments List
OR click on Comments icon in bottom left-hand corner
Add sticky note Tools > Comment & Markup > Show > Sticky note S (with single-key shortcuts activated, see above)
Activate Highlight tool Tools > Comment & Markup > Show > Highlight tool U (with single-key shortcuts activated, see above)
Open comment Right-click on comment > Open pop-up note
Delete comment Right-click on comment > Delete
Reply to existing comment Right-click on comment > Reply
Change comment colour Right-click on comment > Properties > Appearance > click on Color
Select all comments Display comments pane > select first comment/page > CTRL + A
Change comment ID Right-click on comment > Properties > General > change Author
Sort comments Display comments pane > Sort by > Page/Author/Date/Colour

Bonus tip: Search multiple PDF files

You can also search multiple PDF files at the same time. Here’s how:

1. Go to Edit > Advanced search

2. Tick All PDF Documents in and select the folder that contains the PDF files

3. Type your search term into the box, tick any additional search criteria and hit Search


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Productivity, Translation tips