Locking vs. flattening your markups

Applies to:

  • Revu for Mac 2

Revu for Mac is no longer supported. Learn more.

Revu for Mac lets you either lock or flatten markups to prevent them from being accidentally moved or edited, but how do you know which one to use, and why? The answer lies in what you’re trying to achieve: are you trying to turn the markups into a permanent part of the document content that can never be edited? Or do you want to keep them from being unintentionally modified or deleted?


Locking a markup is useful if you want to prevent it from unintentionally being changed or deleted while you’re working on the document. Locked markups can still be viewed in the Markups List, where you can run markup reports and make edits like replies and status changes. Also, if there are multiple locked markups, you can unlock them individually.


Whenever markups are flattened, they become part of the page’s content layer and are no longer editable. Once this happens, they will not appear in the Markups List.

Flattening markups not only offers the advantage of making them secure, it also ensures that markups and annotations display in viewers and mobile apps that only display PDF content and would otherwise fail to display markups and annotations included in a PDF file.

Although you can secondary click on an individual markup to flatten it, the process of unflattening affects all markups on the page.

Processes that prevent markup recovery

Although you can enable the Allow Markup Recovery option in the Flatten Markups dialog box, the functions listed below will alter the content and prevent the flattened markups from being recovered:

Flattened Form Fields cannot be unflattened under any circumstances.

Recommendations and best practices

Based on the advantages and differences between the Lock and Flatten features, you should consider the following points when securing your markups.

  • Lock the markups if your document is a work in progress.
    • You can still export or copy them, and make certain changes such as replying or changing the status.
    • Continually flattening and unflattening isn’t the best workflow to use in this scenario.
  • Always remember that there are certain processes and functions which prevent markup recovery once a document has been flattened.
  • If you decide to flatten your markups, first create a copy of the file. This way, you’ll have the original, unflattened version in case you need to return to it. Save a copy of the file, and flatten that version.
  • As a general rule, you should flatten markups if you want to prevent third parties from deleting or modifying them. Flatten and disable the Allow Markup Recovery option before sending out the document.
    If you’d like even more security or an audit trail, you can upload the file to a Session. This also prevents other users from unflattening the file.
  • If your markups contain Actions that you want to work in Revu for iPad, you’ll need to flatten them before transferring them to the device.
  • Flattening ensures markups and annotations will display in PDF viewers and mobile apps that only display PDF content and otherwise fail to display markups.


Revu for Mac 2


Learn about the differences between locking and flattening your markups in Revu for Mac 2.

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