When annotating a pdf in pdfview with the pdf-tools capabilities, I noticed that the symbols I can use are the same symbols evince uses. Can I use different custom symbols on i.e. text notes and if so how?

Steps I have undertaken to answer the question myself:

  1. I found the function evoked to place annotations (pdf-annot-add-text-annotation POS &optional ICON PROPERTY-ALIST)
  2. I found that in that function the function pdf-annot-add-annotation is evoked. I assume this is the function that places the symbol
  3. I found that there is a list of strings pdf-annot-standard-text-icons which lists the names of the symbols like Note and Comment.

What I wasn't able to find was where the actual symbols are taken from. If replacing is not quite so easy, is there a way to scale the symbols placed smaller?

1 Answer 1


The docstring of pdf-annot-text-annotation-size (a constant) reads:

  The Size of text and file annotations in PDF points.

These values are hard-coded in poppler.  And while the size of
these annotations may be changed, i.e. the edges property, it has
no effect on the rendering.)

Therefore, the icon rendering size can not be changed.

If this has very high priority for you, then you could consider to (additionally) use the vimura-server i.c.w. the add-pymupdf-backend branch of my fork of pdf-tools (it also adds a line annotation feature).

  • 1
    Thank you for answering! I wlll look into this!
    – pana pana
    Nov 7, 2022 at 9:15

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