When is a .pdf not a .pdf? When it's scanned.
February 11, 2011 8:05 AM   Subscribe

Ipad filter: highlighting and annotating scanned .pdfs?

I currently have ReaddleDocs, and although I can add a note in the pdfs I'm reading, I cannot highlight text if the .pdf was created by scanning the pages -- which happens a lot in my doctoral program. The prof will scan the pages of her textbook chapter, for example, and offer it as a .pdf.

I'll invest in iAnnotate, if I'll be able to highlight text in scanned pdfs. But I don't want to pay for it and learn how to use it if I'm going to have the same problem.

Anyone have experience with iAnnotate and scanned .pdfs? Or any other app that will let me read a scanned .pdf, and highlight it?

I'd want to be able to email the pdf with the highlights and notes intact.
posted by vitabellosi to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A couple of things you can do. If you just own Adobe Reader, you can put annotations on the document if the PDF isn't secured. Go to Tools, Customize Toolbars and then select the annotation tools you want.

To check security on the PDF, go to File, Properties and look at the Security tab. If commenting is disallowed, you will have an issue.

You could also convert the PDF to a Text and Image PDF if you own Acrobat Standard or Pro, not just Reader. Open the doc, go to the Document menu and select OCR Text Recognition then Recognize Text with OCR.

You could always send it to me or someone you know who already own Acrobat Pro to do the conversion. However, if the doc is secured, you may need to take several steps to do anything with it.
posted by johnn at 8:39 AM on February 11, 2011

Another app is GoodReader, but my comparison shopping suggested that iAnnotate is much better at annotation, while GoodReader is better for reading in some instances.

My standard workflow is to OCR all the docs I scan (primarily police reports), but I don't know whether failure to do so will defeat iAnnotate's ability to let you highlight or annotate. You might also try emailing the developer.
posted by Hylas at 9:56 AM on February 11, 2011

Yeah, what johnn said about using OCR. You will also find that the PDFs get drastically smaller, because they are reencoded as text instead of giant images.


I generally just use Acrobat pro, because I have access to it, and it seems to do a good job, though I hate it for all other PDF-related tasks. Be sure to check your University's software store. Adobe often gives 50-80 Percent or more discounts to educational users, sometimes even more than that if your university owns patents that Adobe uses.
posted by rockindata at 10:05 AM on February 11, 2011

Best answer: I am a big fan of Notetaker HD. The only issue with annotating scanned (or any small print) .PDFs is the sometimes minuscule size of your notes when printed.
posted by Morpeth at 8:29 PM on February 11, 2011

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