How to comment on PDF files (or any other file) in Google Drive

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You may already know that when you share documents with Google office apps, you can leave comments to make collaboration easier. But did you know that Google Drive offers the same comments feature for virtually any file, not just Google Docs?

You can comment on Microsoft Office files, PDFs, images, videos and more without opening the file. This gives you a quick way to share your comment without taking the time to open the file.

Along with the ability to comment on Google Drive files, it has additional features. You can get a link to the comment and resolve comments that are complete. Also, certain file types such as Microsoft Office files retain the comment when you download them. Let’s take a look!

RELATED: How to make a direct download link for Google Drive files

Add a comment in Google Drive

Because apps like Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides have their own built-in commenting feature, the commenting capability in Google Drive is for the other file types listed above.

RELATED: How to collaborate with comments in Google spreadsheets

To add a comment, open the file in Preview. You can do this by selecting the file and clicking the Preview (eye) icon at the top or by right-clicking it and selecting “Preview”.

At the top right of the Preview screen, select the Comment icon.

When prompted, use your cursor to highlight an area of ​​the document related to your comment. You can do this by dragging your cursor across it using the cross symbol.

Comment Area Selection Tool

Enter your comment and press “Comment” to save it.

Add a comment in Google Drive

If you want to assign a comment task to a collaborator, use the @ (At) symbol before their name or email address. Select them from the list, check the Assign to box and click “Assign”.

Assign a task with a comment in Google Drive

Comment actions in Google Drive

Like other Google apps that offer a comment feature, you can edit, delete, or resolve comments. In Google Drive you can also get a direct link to the comment and share it with your collaborators.

RELATED: How to share folders, files and documents in Google Drive

Open the file in Preview as described above and select a comment. Click the three dots at the top right of the comment. Choose “Edit” to make changes or “Delete” to remove it. To resolve a comment, click the blue checkmark in the top right.

comment actions

To get a link to the comment, select “Link to this comment” from the three-dot dropdown menu. When the link is displayed, you can select and copy it. Click “Done” and paste the link wherever you want.

feedback link

Comment retention for file downloads

As mentioned, some comments follow the file. So if you download a file with a comment from Google Drive, you may see it attached, depending on the app you use to open the file.

RELATED: How to Add Comments in Google Docs

For example, here we have a comment in a Word document. When we download that file and open it in Microsoft Word, the comment remains.

Comment on the downloaded Word file

As another example, our PDF has a comment. When we download it and open it with Adobe Acrobat Reader, we can see the comment.

Comment on the downloaded PDF file

This won’t happen with all file types and all applications, so be sure to test it before assuming that someone else will be able to see your comments when you download it.


The ability to comment on files directly in Google Drive is a useful feature. Whether you use it for collaboration or notes for your own reference, consider this convenient feature.

For more information, see how to set up and use Google Drive on your Mac or how to add it to File Explorer in Windows.

RELATED: How to add Google Drive to File Explorer