View Full Version : College, note taking and PDF's.
Oct 15, 2009, 11:11 PM
So I'm trying to find the best software to use to take notes in college. I've searched google but I couldn't neccesarily find one that allows me to download PDF lecture slides and to be able to edit them and write notes on them. Anyone have any suggestions on what application can accomplish this? I've heard that Evernote, Devonthink, Omnioutliner etc are good but I'm not sure if they allow you to edit PDF lectures slide files as if a word document lecture file would allow. Any help would be appreciated.
example--I currently use word to take notes in class but my professor puts up PDF files of lectures slides (the ones that have 3 slides on a page along with lines next to the slides) so I was looking for a way to just write on those lines next to the slides(on the pdf file) instead of opening up word to write whats on the slide plus my extra clarification/ notes.
Oct 16, 2009, 08:46 PM
I'm guessing you're talking about PowerPoint slides that have been converted to PDF files with three slides per page. Could you ask your professor to post the PowerPoint files as well? That way, you could take notes in the Notes section in PowerPoint under the slides.
I haven't used any of the applications you mentioned. Most PDFs aren't set up to be easily edited or to have text added to them. However, I have used Adobe Acrobat to add notes and things to PDFs. Acrobat Reader is the free version that everyone uses to open PDFs, but Acrobat itself is the program many people use to create PDFs.
You can edit some things in Acrobat, but I've found it to be slow and annoying for anything except minor changes. I certainly wouldn't want to try to take notes using it.
Adobe does offer software at reduced prices for students. You can download a free, 30-day trial here: Acrobat 9 Pro (http://www.adobe.com/downloads/)
If it were me, I'd see if I could get a copy of the PowerPoint file to take notes in. Good luck! I've been there, and it's frustrating when your lectures/notes are in PDF format!
Oct 16, 2009, 09:18 PM
You can use Preview to edit/comment PDFs.
I have a Livescribe (http://www.livescribe.com), I haven't used a laptop to take notes in over a year.
Oct 16, 2009, 09:50 PM
Sometimes profs use the notes section of their powerpoint files to take notes themselves, and they don't want those notes to be seen by students, so they export them into pdfs. These are the smart profs.
I have had some that just post the powerpoint files and, bam, you have a copy of the slides complete with notes from the prof... no need to go to class.
Oct 16, 2009, 10:36 PM
Papers (http://mekentosj.com/papers/) is a fantastic PDF library, organizing, and search tool. It has a note taking function. If you are in the sciences, Papers is a very useful program to have especially for graduate students, post docs, and professors.
As others have noted, Preview has a comment and highlight functions that you can access.
You should also check out this thread (http://forums.macrumors.com/archive/index.php/t-688448.html) for more suggestions that might serve you better.