Introducing quick menu for PDF text annotations


Annotating PDF files is one of the many productivity features that users love in Microsoft Edge. But some of the text annotations like text comments are only available via context menu today which involves multiple steps to invoke. Moreover, it may not be the easiest way for touch users to access these features. We are glad to introduce a new quick menu for PDFs which would make the PDF annotations experience more efficient and make you even more productive in Edge. Here is how this menu works:  




If you select any piece of text on a PDF file, a mini menu will automatically popup. The menu will have Highlight and Add comment options in addition to the regular Copy option to copy text quickly. To invoke the menu with mouse, you can drag and select any text with the mouse and a smaller version of the menu will appear upon completing the selection. You can hover over any of the options in the menu to expand it and click the items to activate as in the regular context menu. To dismiss the menu, you can just click outside of the menu or move pointer away and the menu will fade away.  


To invoke the menu with touch, you can select any piece of text with long press or double tap and by adjusting the grippers. The menu will pop up automatically in the expanded state and you can tap on any of the options to activate. To dismiss the menu without selecting any options, you can just tap outside of the menu.  


Like the regular context menu, the Highlight option on the menu will also have a sub-menu to pick highlight colors and Add comments option would open a pop up for you to type your comment. Clicking or tapping More actions would open the full context menu with all the options that we have today.  


The menu would also work on an existing highlight. Clicking or tapping on any text highlight will open the menu. You can change the color or the highlight or remove it using the Highlight options or add a comment on the highlight using the Add comment option.  


Do try out this improved interaction on PDFs let us know what you think! From within Microsoft Edge, you can go to “…” menu > Help and feedback > Send feedback, or simply use the Windows shortcut (Shift+Alt+I) to open the feedback tool 


27 Replies
Thanks for this feature, i really like it,
works great, have been using it for few weeks now,
my favorite part is how smart it is, like when I move my mouse cursor a bit away from it, it starts fading and when i move my mouse cursor closer, it gets clearer. pretty neat
Well done!
The feature is really appreciated, but it would be much better experience for pen users, if they were able to hold the button on the pen, drag the pen over a piece of text, and voila the quick menu appears. Also, it'd be great, if the highlight option had a one-line color palette under it in the main menu -not in a cascade menu-.

We had this experience in the old Edge and it was really useful for quick highlight without distracting oneself for 15 seconds or so to adjust the selection boundaries and get highlight from the submenu.
I love this quick mdnu implementation, surfacing useful options. Would love to see this implemented in other areas too.

I love the new features! One suggestion: could you possibly add more colours to the highlight function (e.g. Purple/Grey/Brown)? Thank you!

@josh_bodner This quick menu in the current implementation is driving me crazy. It breaks the conventional interaction pattern: double-click the text to select the word. I think that many people, me included, use this to follow along and focus on the text. Especially when I need to get through complex text. Now I get this distracting thing I did not intend to see.


Plus, not a fan of the menu itself, Copy .. ok, I would never use it because I know the shortcut, may be worth leaving for those who do not.

The highlight is potentially useful, but selecting the color each time is just too much.


Consider opening it on text select (mouse down, move and up) and left mouse click not double click. Double click to select a single word, how often one needs to copy or highlight a single word?



I agree the colors shouldn't be hidden in a 2nd level menu,

but left mouse click? no way, that would be just the same bad experience we have always had.
the idea is to make this automatic so user just highlights a word and the menu appears.

if you use copy shortcut instead of copy option in context menu, it's fine, not causing any problem for you, you can ignore it and use your keyboard shortcut, i do it too.
i do highlight single words in documents.
Left mouse click was one option I suggested. All I'm saying is that it should not appear on double click. Double click is an aid for focus. Text in PDF should not behave differently for all other text you read in the browser. Do not create a special mode for PDF, this degrades UX. If the user wants to highlight they can select the sharpie first and then highlight all they want.
Wow.... Great feature. It looks nice...

We like that feature a lot. We are using read aloud from here feature in pdfs as an reading community. It would be better If user see the read aloud option in quick menu rather than more actions menu because I can lead people to know this perfect feature easily. @josh_bodner 


Double click is an aid for focus ?

on touch screen?

i'm using regular monitor with mouse + keyboard, double click doesn't focus on anything, just highlights the word, at least now with this new feature, highlight by double clicking offers some options, previously double click only highlighted, nothing else.

@Jurijsk fully understand how selecting text could be a way to focus while reading and the menu could be a distraction. We did provide a setting under edge://settings/appearance to turn this off. 




-Vyankatesh Gadekar

Program Manager, Microsoft Edge 




Oh, amazing! Thanks for letting me know.

Agreed with this - a one-line color palette would be far better. Moreover, if it automatically opened the comment input box, we could either enter one or click/Esc away from it.

This is an awesome feature update!!@josh_bodner 

The menu shouldn't disappear after mouse is dragged away as it can happen unintentinally too and menu doesn't appear after the mouse is brought near again.

Why should the menu appear with names when selecting a menu? Plus the menu should be horizontal and clean with define and search, and add comment and add video comments button clubbed in a submenu.

The experience is not premium like edge legacy. Edge legacy was much better in this respect and usability.

Plus the pdf menu bar should be floating by default instead of always pinned to the top. It was much better floating in the edge legacy.
I agree, there needs to be an invisible area dedicated as a buffer so that if the mouse is close to the vertical sidebar, it will still continue to stay open until user moves the cursor further away.
I agree with some other comments. I also have some motions:
1. Allow users in every region to use this function (e.g. China, the Netherlands)
2. Make this dictionary function similar to the one in Edge legacy ("in-line definition" function). i.e., let the definition to appear automatically double-clicking or touching the word (if the PC has a touch screen).
If this function is not necessary, a "turn off" button can be add to the settings, as in Edge legacy.

Do you think these two suggestions are good and practical?


Redaction would be a great addition, it is only a step away from the highlighting function