Acrobat: Set default comment identity

By default, Acrobat versions 7 and 8 label your PDF comments with your login username, which may not have any resemblance to your real name. During a review involving several reviewers, this can make it difficult to figure out who made certain comments in a PDF.

Not only it is not obvious how to set the default identity, the preference that should make it happen doesn’t. But with a few trips to different areas of Acrobat, it can eventually be done.

To set your default comment identity:

1. Open the Preferences dialog box in Acrobat and go to the Identity panel.
2. Make sure the Name represents the name you want to use to label your comments.
3. Go to the Commenting panel in the Preferences dialog box.
4. Under Making Comments, make sure “Always use Log-in name for Author name” is disabled.
5. Click OK to close the Preferences dialog box.
6. Select any commenting tool, such as the Note tool, and add a comment. It doesn’t have to be anything important, because you can delete it after you’ve completed this procedure.
7. Right-click the comment and choose Properties. (This step seems to work only if the comment’s window is closed on the page.)
8. Click General and make sure the Author name is the name you want to use to label all of your comments, and click Close.
9. Right-click the comment and choose Make Current Properties Default.

That should do it. While it would seem that steps 2 and 4 should get the job done, the entire reason this procedure is necessary is that Step 4 never seems to work on its own.


  1. I tried these steps. Everything up to #9 works. I don’t have the option for “Make Current Properties Default”. I’m using Acrobat 7 Pro.

  2. Hmmm…you are right, I just tried this and sometimes “Make Current Properties Default” doesn’t appear, yet sometimes it does.

    It seems to appear reliably if I right-click directly on the comment itself, on the page, not inside the pop-up window that you get if you double-click the comment. It looks like the command doesn’t appear if the pop-up window is open. So try right-clicking on the comment on the page, with the pop-up window closed.

    “Make Current Properties Default” should appear near the bottom of the context menu, just above Properties.

    And thanks for pointing that out. I’ll edit the blog post itself later when I’m not on a deadline…

  3. Great! That definitely works if I close the comment and then right click on the comment “balloon” on the main page. Thanks for your assistance. Adobe needs to put this in their help file!

  4. Thanks! This was driving me crazy, but the very last tips here about ctrl-clicking the note icon, with the note closed, was the solution.

  5. This was driving me crazy (I realize I’m resurrecting a 4-year-old thread here, but so be it).

    The key here is that the “make current properties default” button, at least on my install of Acrobat 7, is only visible when right-clicking a COMMENT balloon, even though the properties also apply to edited text notes (i.e. deleting or changing text). Argggghhh.

  6. I’m running Acrobat 8 Standard, and following these steps exactly did not do the trick for me. I even changed my Windows login name and rebooted, and Acrobat kept the old, cryptic default login name that came standard on my work computer.

    Does anyone know the trick for getting this to work in Acrobat 8?

  7. I want the default for comment author to be blank! I have to reset this in every document, then choose default, and sometimes that lasts, for that specific document. Not for default for all documents.

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