HowTo: annotating pdf "live" for screencast
December 5, 2011 7:34 PM   Subscribe

What software can I use to annotate pdf documents "live" on a Mac with free hand drawings in various colours?

I would like to produce short screencasts using LaTeX generated slides saved as pdf documents. Rather than having static pdf slides on the screen, I would like to be able to annotate them with free hand drawings in various colours. If you have seen videos from Khan academy, think of a mixture of those with pre-defined slides with lots of math equations as a background.

[Those taking the Machine Learning class from Standford should know exactly what I mean.]

I have tried briefly Skim but there does not seem to be a way to change the colour of the free hand annotations. Preview does not seem to allow freehand drawings.
posted by aroberge to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Actually, you can change the color of the freehand tool in Skim. Unfortunately, it's not done on the fly the way you'd like by just clicking on the color icon in the toolbar. You have to go to Skim>Preferences>Notes in the menus, and click on the Freehand color. I assume this is too clunky for your purposes but who knows.
posted by drpynchon at 8:46 PM on December 5, 2011

PDFPen has a standard Mac floating color picker panel that stays open when you use the pencil tool.
posted by nicwolff at 8:59 PM on December 5, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks drpynchon. Based on what you suggested, I did the following (noted here in case others might want to do something similar):

1. I created the folder /Library/Application Support/Skim/Scripts

This resulted in the addition of an AppleScript menu item for Skim.

2. Using the AppleScript Editor, I wrote the following AppleScript (and other variants):

tell application "Skim"
set default note colors to {freehand note color:yellow}
end tell

I saved this in the above named folder under the name "Yellow freehand.scpt". This resulted in "Yellow freehand" submenu.

3. Using the procedure detailed here I created keybords shortcuts (using alt-1, alt-2, etc.) for "Applications" (left-side panel) Skim (right side panel) and "Yellow freehand".

I can now quickly change freehand color to annotate pdf in skim :-)
posted by aroberge at 5:04 AM on December 6, 2011

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