Online Review of a PDF in Dropbox

It Be Da Bomb!”

The best way I have found to get detailed review comments on a PDF is to post it on Dropbox.com, and have reviewers add comments online, in their browser. Thanks to Adobe’s partnership with Dropbox, that review process works exceedingly well.

Important: When a file is on Dropbox, it is entirely possible to open a file from the Dropbox folder that appears on your local system. That option is the same as opening a local file. You can add annotation-bubbles to the text, but that is all. To get the advantages listed below, you have to open the document in your browser.

Advantages of Online Review

Here are the advantages of adding and viewing comments online, in the browser:

  1. Displayed comments appear at the top of the sidebar, so you don’t have to go paging through the file to find them.
  2. There is a “view in document” link on each comment that takes you directly to the location the comment is on.
  3. You and others can carry on a discussion for a given comment in the sidebar, with an email being sent when a new comment is added.
  4. When you mark a comment as “resolved”, it disappears from the default view, so you always know what’s left to work on.
  5. Whoever owns the file gets an email, by default. So if you put the file on Dropbox and share the link, you get comments as they come in.
  6. Comments on past versions are retained when a new version of the file is uploaded. (That one is huge. The comments are essentially a “knowledge base”, and they’re never lost!)

Regarding Emails

If you don’t want the email that come with individual comments, it makes more sense for the file to be shared by the person who will be doing most of the commenting. (A proofreader, for example.) But if you’re the person responsible for acting on the comments, maybe you want to be the one sharing it, to be sure you’re alerted for every change.

On the other hand, individual emails can let you stay on top of the process, if you want to, and either fix things as they are discovered or resolve them early on as “will not fix”, so the person making the comments doesn’t spin their wheels marking things that aren’t going to be regarded as a problem, in any case.

There may also be options to control email delivery, and I just haven’t found them yet.

Copyright © 2017, TreeLight PenWorks

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