For djvu files, I enjoy reading it in djview, because when I search for some words, it can show where all the results are at a glance, and highlight them simultaneously. This is much more convenient than the searching functionality in evince for pdf files.

For pdf files, I enjoy using Xournal to annotate it, for example, underscore some lines, add text comments.

But for a single file (pdf or djvu), I have to create two files (one in pdf, and the other in djvu) and open them in djview and xournal (and maybe also in evince), in order to achieve the two benefits I outlined above.

I haven't tried many other functionalities of djview, xournal and evince, neither have I tried many applications yet. Do you have some convenience ways to achieve what I hope to do and possibly more which I haven't mentioned yet?

My OS is Ubuntu 12.04.

  • evince can display .djvu files as well, but cannot search through the ocr-text layer if available. Maybe you can find some extensions to evince, or a derivative of evince that does what you want.
    – Anthon
    Mar 12, 2014 at 18:15
  • okular can annotate and read pdf/djvu as well. Mar 13, 2014 at 5:34

5 Answers 5


I recommend PDF-Xchange Editor (installable in Linux through Wine). It functions both as a good viewer, allowing you to open multiple files in tabs. The UI is fantastic. And best of all, it stores annotations/comments within the file, unlike Okular. How to install?

In Ubuntu follow the instructions in: http://datainfer.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/use-pdf-xchange-viewer-in-64bit-ubuntu/

In Arch Linux:

yaourt -S pdf-xchange

and then to open pdf files with PDF-Xchange directly from the file manager use this script

PDFXEDITOR="/opt/pdf-xchange/PDFXEdit.exe" #Or equivalent path
INPUT="$(winepath -w "$1")"
  • Thanks. Does pdf-xchange work well on Arch? Mine installed via Wine on Ubuntu often crash in the middle, especially when I try to save annotations to pdf.
    – Tim
    May 12, 2015 at 19:59
  • 1
    A minor correction: okular stores the annotations and highlights inside the PDF document since a few years ago. I've used it to study some PDFs, alternating between it and the document viewer in OSX, and both recognized each other's highlights.
    – rsuarez
    Jun 9, 2015 at 15:08
  • @rsuarez We can agree to disagree. I checked again in kde docs for okular.
    – jadelord
    Jun 10, 2015 at 21:53

Although it is not the easiest way to get started (but still quite easy), if you really like annotation power, then check out Emacs (or Spacemacs) with pdf-tools. It provides a zathura like reading experience (although much more powerful), but with very good annotation features (even more powerful annotation features via pymupdf-mode). Also it provides a djvu reader and djvu annotation features via djvu.el (or the experimental djvu2.el). In addition it provides org-mode, a very powerful note taking library, which can be fully integrated with pdf and djvu note taking (e.g. via org-noter).

Starting from vanilla Emacs it takes probably about an hour before you have all setup for annotating. However, starting with Spacemacs, you can start annotating within 10 minutes just installing Emacs, Spacemacs and the pdf layer.

Spacemacs provides evil, an implementation of the Vim editor, with the Emacs programming platform, to provide a very well intergrated allround computing experience (This sounds a little vague but summing up what Emacs can do here would take too much space. You will see it when you start using it). But you can just use it as a zathura like reader with annotation features (somewhat like mupdf-gl, but less cumbersome).


Try Okular. It can be used to annotate both PDF and DjVu files.

  • Could you provide a link to the software you are recommending?
    – Minix
    May 12, 2015 at 9:12
  • Great. I added it to the answer, for you.
    – Minix
    May 14, 2015 at 8:01
  • @Minix, you should post your blog entry or a usable excerpt of it here as an answer.
    – Anthon
    May 14, 2015 at 8:06
  • @Anthon It is Ashwins blog post and I'm strapped for time. But you are right, just posting a link is bad form. My bad.
    – Minix
    May 14, 2015 at 8:12
  • @Minix: Link to Okular has been added by someone. I have written a blog post about it here: codeyarns.com/2015/05/12/how-to-annotate-documents-using-okular Sep 11, 2015 at 1:15

Sorry I can't comment yet, but check out zathura http://pwmt.org/projects/zathura/

  • 2
    Zathura can't annotate documents.
    – rootkea
    Mar 5, 2017 at 7:14
  • zathura still cannot annotate documents. It will be nice if it does..
    – Student
    Aug 6, 2019 at 2:11

For PDF files, you can use PDF Studio Viewer. It can review and markup PDFs with different annotations such as text, markup, shapes, etc.. And the advanced search dialog can show all the occurrences of a string in a document.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .