Tuesday, April 7, 2020

PDF Markup in Microsoft Teams Class Assignments for Mac

If you use Microsoft Teams to participate in a class, either the browser interface or the desktop application, marking up PDF documents to submit for an assignment is not built-in. To be fair, marking up any type of document you are given is not possible, because your documents do not exist inside of Teams. You have to do that outside of Teams, using the file on your computer.

These instructions are specific for marking up a PDF assignment using your Mac. I use the markup tools in Mac Preview, but of course you can purchase other tools if you want to.

These instructions are written at an adult level for someone with basic computer skills, just to keep things simple. Especially since we have to install some software. If you have an elementary-school aged kid who needs to handle their own assignments, this should get you going to help them learn how to do it :)

Downloading a PDF assignment template

When you visit an assignment that has reference materials, each file has an ellipsis menu (...) to the right of it. Click on the ellipsis and click Download to download the file to your device or computer. This image was captured using the browser-based Teams application, but it looks exactly the same in the desktop Teams application.

If you are using the browser, and you have it set to prompt for the download location, you can download the file directly to any folder you want to work in (see the download settings for your browser).

If you do not have your browser to prompt, or you are using the Teams desktop application, it will save the file to your downloads folder. Use the Finder to locate the file in the downloads folder and move it to the folder you want to work in.

Downloading a PDF from a OneDrive share in Teams

If your instructor/facilitator has shared files in OneDrive, you can find these under the Files tab in the selected team. Here you can click on the ellipsis menu (...) to the right of the file name and select Download to do the download. The download works the same as I described above.

Marking up the PDF document

Use the finder to browse to the file. Right-click the file and use the Open-With menu option to open it in the tool of your choice. I am using the built-in Preview tool on my Mac:

In the Preview tool the button just to the left of the search field (it looks like a surveyor's compass) will open the markup toolbar if it is not already open. When you start marking up the document you may see a message up near the top with "The original document can't be changed, so a duplicate with your changes has been created" (it's in the screenshot below). No worries, go ahead and make your changes. Here you can see where I circled an answer in Part A with red using the markup tools:

If you are happy with your work, then use the File -> Save menu option to save the changes. If you got the warning and Preview created a duplicate it will ask where you want to save the file. You can save it right back over the original file if you want, or you can make a new copy and keep the original.

When you are ready, upload the marked up file to complete the assignment in Teams.


  1. HI. Will this work for a Dell device or only Mac?

    1. See the corresponding post "PDF Markup in Microsoft Teams Class Assignments for Windows". Either search for it (upper left) or just go back to the landing page (click on the header at the page top). Good luck!

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