How to Write on a PDF with Stylus Pens for iPad

Stylus Pen for iPad ready to write on a PDF
Photo by Joan Tran on Unsplash

Got an iPad, a stylus, and PDFpen for iPad & iPhone? Then you’ll love annotating PDFs! Here are the basics of marking up PDFs with a stylus pen for iPad.

Annotating PDFs with a stylus pen for iPad is easy, pleasant, and makes you look like a pro. Here’s all you need to know about how to write on a PDF with a stylus pen for iPad and PDFpen.

Before you begin

Already have a stylus pen for iPad and PDFpen for iPad? If so, feel free to scroll down to How to write on a PDF with stylus pens for iPads. If not, here is some basic information about the hardware and the software you need to get started.

The hardware

You can use PDFpen for iPad & iPhone with the following pressure-sensitive and Bluetooth styluses:

Aside from the Bluetooth styluses, PDFpen works with regular styluses, too.

If you need an iPad stylus but are not sure which one to get, we recommend narrowing down the features you want, then testing out different models on your mobile device. For an in-depth analysis of the most popular models, check out the Wirecutter’s article “The Best Stylus for your iPad for 2020”

Before you begin using a stylus with PDFpen, you might need to:

  • Charge your stylus and pair it with your iPad. 
  • Tell PDFpen which stylus you are using. See steps to Configure PDFpen with your stylus below.

How to configure PDFpen with your stylus

Note: PDFpen should automatically work with your Apple Pencil as long as it is paired with your iPad. (This is with the Stylus settings set to 'None'.)

  1. Tap Tools
    > Settings > Stylus
  2. Select a stylus from the list

    For bluetooth pens, turn on bluetooth in the iOS Settings app of your iPhone or iPad.
    For older Jot Touch pens, you’ll need to pair the device with the pen in the iOS Settings app.
    For Jot Script pens, use the Jot Touch settings. The Script does not include pressure-sensitivity.


When your stylus is configured, you’ll see it in the editing bar. If you are using a bluetooth stylus, the stylus icon will indicate whether it is connected or disconnected. If disconnected, hold down the buttons on the stylus to turn it on and connect.


The software

To annotate PDFs on the iPad, you need PDFpen for iPad & iPhone, v5 or later. Our app enables you to draw, highlight, scribble, add and correct text in PDFs on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. PDFpen for iPad & iPhone v5 works with iOS 13 and later.

How to write on a PDF with stylus pens for iPads

Open PDFpen on the iPad. Tap the plus icon to create a PDF document, or tap an existing PDF file to open it. Then, tap the Scribble tool. The Editing bar appears, and with it:

  • The Color picker
  • Additional markup tools, including the Scribble, Polygon, Rectangle, Ellipse, Line, and Rounded Rectangle

Depending on the markup tool you select, you can choose:

  • The color of text and text background
  • Stroke and fill
  • Opacity



  • If you don’t choose the type of stroke you want, PDFpen will automatically determine one by the pressure you put on your stylus when scribbling. 
  • When you are annotating a PDF with a stylus, PDFpen recognizes the stylus, as the only writing tool. This means you can touch the screen to scroll up or down the PDF without scribbling with your finger.

Palm/Wrist Protection

Palm/Wrist protection icon

Palm/Wrist protection enables you to rest your palm or wrist and the screen while using your stylus without it affecting your work. Available with writing tools in markup mode, it’s represented by a hand symbol in the editing bar. When you see it, tap it to begin Palm Protection mode.

When you do, two horizontal protection bars will appear. It’s safe to rest your palm above and below the protection bars. To reposition the bars, drag them into place using the arrows on the ends.

Try using your iPad stylus pen with PDFpen


Styluses make it easier to draw, sketch, doodle, and write on the iPad and the iPhone. They are a perfect tool for PDFpen users who like or need to annotate PDFs, sign documents, and fill out forms on the go.

To see what using an Apple Pencil with PDFpen for iPad is like, check out [Video] PDFpen for iPad & iPhone - Preview.

Don’t have PDFpen for iPad & iPhone? Get the latest version of PDFpen for iPad & iPhone on the App Store.