Is there a PDF-annotator for iPad that allows you to annotate and read?
June 3, 2013 6:02 AM   Subscribe

I've realized that, as great as the iPad is for academic reading, I really need to annotate the PDFs in order for things to stick. I love what Sente allows you to do on the Mac (I have a PC), in that you can highlight a sentence and it gets copied in real time to a summary page that you can see side by side with your reading. That way, when you're done, you have an accurate and formated summary page of the article you've read. Is there anywhere to find this on the iPad?

I've reviewed the multiple threads on the best apps for PDF annotation and organization on the iPad, but I can't seem to find an app that does this. The closest I can find is goodreader, which lets you "email a summary file" which is just a mumble jumble of everything you've highlighted after the fact.

Does anyone have any suggestions?
posted by cacofonie to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I use "pdf-notes" Works fairly well for this pc user forced to use an issued iPad for meetings. (Can't link to it from my office pc as I have no iTunes account here.)
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:33 AM on June 3, 2013

Here's a link to pdf-notes. (You don't need an iTunes account to link to something in the store.)
posted by bcwinters at 6:41 AM on June 3, 2013

I think I'm probably missing something here, but you know there is a Sente iPad app (link to iTunes Store), right?
posted by segatakai at 6:49 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Segatakai: I tried the Sente iPad app but I think its only for people with a co-existing map application to create libraries and such, unless I'm mistaken?

I had trouble creating a library to even use it.
posted by cacofonie at 6:59 AM on June 3, 2013

Best answer: I have used various apps to do this. The best ones allow you to sync your PDFs via dropbox, or similar services, with notes and annotations automatically saved onto your hard drive for viewing next time you open your computer.

These apps all do the job very well:

- PDF Expert
- Remarks
- DocAs
- iAnnotate PDF

My personal preference is PDF Expert. It's a powerful little app, and does everything I need it to. I like its interface the best of the 4 apps I mention, and its auto-sync features are the easiest to use and keep track of.

Once a PDF is annotated, you can output that PDF as a flattened file, or just an annotation summary.

Do let us know which you end up going for.
posted by 0bvious at 8:37 AM on June 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

On a related note, if you have the opportunity or decide to switch to a Mac, this article describes a pretty nifty automated workflow that dumps info from annotated PDFs into a Wiki.
posted by Silvertree at 9:13 AM on June 3, 2013

In addition to the iPad apps listed by Obvious, another one is GoodReader. Has a lot of annotation features, syncs with more services than you can shake a stick at (including Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive), has a built-in web server if you want to upload/download directly from the ipad over a network, and it has a nice interface (IMHO of course—YMMV).
posted by StrawberryPie at 9:45 AM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I currently use GoodReader and ZotPad to connect my pdf annotations to my citation library in Zotero. At the end of the process, Zotero creates a document that has my citation for the document and all the notes and highlights I've made on the pdf. It's a bit of a pain to set up initially, but once it's up and running, it works like a dream.
posted by teleri025 at 10:14 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

I use iAnnotate PDF, it's pretty good. (Don't know if it's the BEST because I haven't compared, but it's quite usable; it's what IT picked for us after reviewing several options.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:14 AM on June 3, 2013

GoodNotes is my choice after trying many of these.
posted by usermac at 11:21 AM on June 3, 2013

I use Notability - it's pretty great for annotation and is compatible with PC/Mac. Or MarkUp if you just want to take notes on documents.
posted by guster4lovers at 1:49 PM on June 3, 2013

Best answer: Could anyone confirm if the app they recommend actually makes a formatted summary page, as the cacafonie asks? Because that sounds awesome and I haven't found an iPad PDF reader that does this. I use Goodreader now, and their "email summary" works, but it's not great. cacafonie, I hope you update this question if you find what works best for you.
posted by blub at 4:15 AM on June 4, 2013

PDF Expert does it. But not automatically. I said in my previous comment:
Once a PDF is annotated, you can output that PDF as a flattened file, or just an annotation summary.
posted by 0bvious at 7:22 AM on June 4, 2013

Response by poster: Hi folks.

Thanks for the answers.

Whereas Goodreader and iAnnotate both allow you to email a summary file, neither provides the real-time side-by-side editing feature that I was looking for.

One workaround was to create a blank page in iAnnotate and just type in my notes there, but its clunky.

I tried:
PDF-notes (free)
and Sente

I didn't try PDF expert because there was no free version to try first.

Overall, though I think GoodReader, iAnnotate, and PDF-Expert are the top three just for general PDF perusing. Notability's hand-writing features are by far the best though for other note takine.

None of them work like Sente though. Ah well. Maybe a paper and a pencil?
posted by cacofonie at 9:18 AM on June 4, 2013

I tried PDF Expert on my phone. It saves an annotation summary as a text document. As far as I can see it only has one highlight color option (yellow) and the highlighted text is saved without any formatting. The annotation summary looks very similar to Goodreader's annotion summary, except that PDF Expert saves it as a separate document instead of an e-mail, and it doesn't mention the highlight colors (because there's only one) and date/time. I assume the iPad version of PDF Expert is similar to the iPhone version, but of course I'm not sure.
posted by blub at 6:48 AM on June 6, 2013

The handwriting capabilities of Remarks are as good, if not better than, Notability's. I am currently hunting for an Android PDF app (I just jumped ship from iPhone) and not having much luck.
posted by 0bvious at 5:02 AM on June 7, 2013

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