Add Photos and Text to Your Genealogy Pages without an iPad

Posted by Carly Morgan on

I used PDF worksheets to organize my genealogy and now I sell them so other people can do the same. I use my iPad and an app called Goodnotes to add in text/photos but I have a lot of customers who don't have an iPad and I'm constantly asked if there's another way to add text and photos to the pages without printing them out and writing on them directly.

The short answer is: YES!

I was hoping I could figure out a free hack using Google Docs but after playing around with a few different methods, I think Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is the easiest and produces the best results. You do have to pay for Adobe Acrobat (either purchase the whole program or pay for a temporary subscription) but the good news is that you can pay one month at a time so if you're only planning on doing this sporadically it's really not that expensive.

I'm going to go through step by step to show you how to add photos and text to PDF pages. This may seem a little too detailed but I'd rather you have too much info than not enough!! I'm not going to show you how to download and install Adobe Acrobat Pro DC because that will look different depending on what type of computer you have so let's assume you have Adobe Acrobat Pro DC open on your computer:

Since I don't use Adobe Acrobat to do my own genealogy, I didn't have any of my genealogy worksheets in the recently opened files. To open one, I went up to "Edit PDF" and clicked "Select a File":

This pulls up a box where I can select a file to open. I had saved the Olive Green Ancestor Profile pdf to my desktop so I selected that one.


Now you can see the toolbar right above the document image. If the file is open, but you don't see the toolbar above, you might see a menu on the right hand side. You need to select "Edit PDF" and this will open the tools to add text and images.

I'm going to start by adding an image. First, I'll choose "Add Image" in the toolbar on the top. This will open up a window so I can choose the image I want to add. I saved the image to my desktop to save time.

When I click the image, a smaller size of the image appears. When I place the image, however, it's larger and I can enlarge or shrink it by dragging on the image corners and edges.

Now that my image is the size I want it to be and I have it in the right place, I'm ready to add some text.

This will open a text cursor. It will also open the text options menu off to the right so I can choose a font, a font size, etc.

If you're putting together a genealogy notebook, I suggest picking a font and a type size and then sticking with it to make your pages look more consistent. You might even want to write the font and type size on a post-it and keep it in a place you can reference easily. 

Once I have my font and font size selected, I just need to click wherever I want to add text and start typing. I can adjust the position of the text after I'm finished typing so I'm not too worried about having it perfectly lined up. 

I'm going to keep adding text throughout the page, filling in everything I know. 

I also want to make sure I put in the right index number.

Now that the text is all finished, I'm going to zoom out so I can see the whole page and make sure everything is lined up the way I want it. I do this by going to "view", choosing "zoom" and choosing "fit height". 


Now that the page is finished, you can either save it by choosing "save" from the file menu at the top or you can find the save icon up on the left hand side. There's also a print icon if you're ready to print your page out and add it to your family notebook.