Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Annotate & collaborate on PDF files with Kami (formerly Notable PDF)

Note: This post was updated on 18/01/2016 to reflect the products name change to Kami. Screen shots have not been updated.

Have you ever been reading through a long PDF file, wishing you could record your comments, reflections or ideas on the content? Kami (formerly Notable PDF) is a web application that allows you to do just this. It includes a range of annotation tools, including highlighters, comments, text, drawing (premium only) and formatting.

Kami also integrates with Google Drive, allowing you to collaborate live on PDFs with others. Similar to the Google Docs Editors, Kami shows you who currently has the PDF open. Comments and other annotations are also displayed in colours specific to the author. It’s a great tool for allowing multiple people to review and reflect on content together.

In addition to the annotation and collaboration features, Kami can also just be used as a PDF viewer. The tool has both free and paid versions, however the free version is very feature-rich. Learn more about the pricing plans here.

How do I get it?

Kami can be used in all browsers via their website. However, the easiest way to access it is to install the Chrome Web Store extension (for use in the Google Chrome browser). To do so:

1. Visit this link.
2. Click the Add to Chrome button.
3. Click Add.
4. Once the extension has been added, you’ll see the Kami icon in the top right corner of Chrome. Click the icon to launch Kami.

Notable extension

5. Click the Sign in with Google button and enter your Google account details.

Note: Although you can choose to create a stand-alone Kami account, signing in with your Google account provides the Google Drive integration outlined in the rest of this post.

Notable login

How do I use it?

Opening PDFs

Once you have the Kami Chrome extension installed there are two ways to open your PDFs in Kami.

Directly from Google Drive
1. Right-click a PDF file.
2. Select Open with > Kami (formerly Notable PDF).
Note: If you do not see this option in the menu after installing the extension, reload Google Drive.

Open with menu in Drive


The annotation tools are located to the right of the open PDF. To use them, select the desired tool and then select the text in the document you want to apply the tool too. The available tools (in order) are highlighting, strike-through, underline, comments, insert text, drawing (premium only) and select text.

Annotation tools

An example of a comment and highlight is shown below.

Annotation example

Sharing and collaborating

The easiest way to collaborate on a PDF is to share it via Google Drive. Once shared, any person who opens the file in Kami can collaborate on it simultaneously. Each collaborator will be shown as an icon in the bottom left corner. Those who currently have the document open have a green dot.

Collaborator icons

Tip: Ask you fellow collaborators to install the Kami Chrome extension prior to trying to collaborate on PDFs.

Saving and exporting

Any annotations made to the PDF are automatically saved back to Kami. Therefore, next time you open the same PDF in Kami, you can see and add to the annotations. Likewise, any collaborators who open the PDF in Kami will also see all the annotations.

If you want to view the annotations outside of Kami (ie. in a desktop PDF reader such as Adobe Reader), you can export the PDF with the annotations. (Tip: If you are just planning to keep opening the PDF in Kami, there is no real need to export it).

To export a file:
1. Click the Download button in the top right corner.

Download button

2. Select Your computer and the type of download you require.
Tip: You can also save files to Google Drive from this interface.

Export box

3. Click Begin Export.

Learn more
You can find more information on using Notable PDF features in their help centre.


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