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iAnnotate PDF Vs. GoodReader for reading and annotating

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by j-a-x, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. macrumors 65816


    I recently purchased GoodReader because while iBooks is fine for reading PDFs, it doesn't let me annotate them.

    GoodReader is okay, although I don't really like the UI and I find that sometimes scrolling through PDF pages is slow compared to iBooks.

    I was wondering if anybody has tried both iAnnotate PDF and GoodReader, and if so, can you tell me how the performance of iAnnotate compares. I might consider paying $10 for a PDF annotater if only I know that it performs better than what I am already using.
  2. macrumors 6502

    I've been using iAnnotate for some time but only bought GoodReader last night, so I haven't had time to explore its updated features and give it a full shakedown.

    IMHO iAnnotate is far superior. There are a couple of areas GoodReader excels (like in the automatic page fit, having two up, etc), but by and large iAnnotate does everything else more effectively. These are just a few reasons why it suits my workflow better than GoodReader:

    - Tabs. It speaks for itself, but having several documents open with the ability to flick between them is useful.

    - Sharing features. The ability to email or paste to clipboard a summary of all notes/highlights/annotations you've made is just brilliant, and makes light work of noting the most poignant areas in an academic article.

    - Annotation tools. They are far quicker to access than in GoodReader. If you want to highlight something in iAnnotate, you just tap the icon in the toolbar and drag it over the text (as much as you want – you can scroll through the document even with the highlight tool selected) before confirming your selection. You can set as many different colour highlighters up as you want. By contrast, in GoodReader you must tap-and-hold, drag the handles to select a continuous chunk of text, then tap highlight from the popup. If you want to change the colour of the highlight you need to tap, choose colour, confirm your choice; using multiple colours is just too time consuming. I prefer the behaviour of notes in iAnnotate too, for reviewing and revision purposes. Tapping every note in GoodReader is tiresome.

    As I understand it, the annotation features were only recently added to GoodReader, and as it stands it is excellent value. Hopefully with a bit more time to mature, the tools will be a bit more intuitive. For now though, iAnnotate fits my workflow and is unlikely to be ousted for some time.
  3. macrumors 6502


  4. macrumors 6502

    Annotating with iAnnotate is easier/fluent, but I hate how it jumps in and out of fullscreen everytime.

    Goodreader is better for reading.

    talk about a shameless plug...
  5. macrumors member

    When your app can annotate encrypted PDF's then it will be the winner. Any news on whether that feature is being included?

    Until that time, iAnnotate is the best in my opinion.
  6. macrumors member

    I agree... I bought GoodReader and had problems with the highlighting alignment. The width was too big and it overlapped from line to line.

    I love PDF Expert much better for my needs.

  7. CADer, Jan 9, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011

    macrumors 6502


    Lets keep this discussion going!

    I am about to get an iPad, depending on when the iPad 2 comes out, and need a PDF annotation app for work and life! And Dropbox is a huge part of my life too so support is good.

    90% of my jobs require a signature from the client and the ability to fill type text in the notes section - whether it be via a fill in the predefined space or just being able to type on the doc and it be visible when printed, so adding a note annotation doesn't work.

    I use goodreader on my iPhone but it doesn't allow typing on the pdf. Does the ipad version? But I hate the one sided DropBox use, doesn't sync back to dropbox.

    iAnnotate was the first to the scene and I used it back when it first came out so I am not sure if it can fill in form or type text on the pdf. Not just finger writing that won't cut it for me. Does this app have dropbox support, and to what level?

    PDF Expert seams like is will fill in the form and I thought it said it could also type text on any pdf not sure? Anyone? It says it has both way sync for DropBox, anyone know how well that is? I like the signature button and how from the screen shots it goes full screen! Thats what I need.

    From my rough synopsis I would go with PDF Expert but since I don't have an iPad I don't know all that much about each app so any help would be great!! Even if you only have one of the apps give your pros and cons please, Drop box? Printable text on PDF?

  8. macrumors 68040

    I really like PDF Expert a lot. I've been using GR for a very long time however in terms of feasibility, efficiency, and productivity, PDF Expert beats them all.
    Run a comparison yourself and then decide. Since everyone has different needs - you're better off researching yourself and then deciding as per your wants/needs.
  9. macrumors 6502


    Thanks for your input, I have been leaning toward PDF Expert. And posting in this thread is part of my research as I feel users of the apps are a better source than sites that review apps as they may not be real users of said apps. I have checked developers web sites and I still have unanswered questions which is why I am here. All feedback is taken in and processed.
  10. macrumors 6502


    PDF Epxert really lets you fill in PDF Forms. In addition, you can type text on any PDF documents. DropBox two-way sync is also available in PDF Expert.

    More info here: http://readdle.com/pdfexpert_ipad

    Feel free to ask any questions you have.
  11. macrumors 6502


    Ok brother in law just came over to visit with his iPad and I sold him on PDF Expert he is jailbroken but he paid for it legitamatly since he knows he will use it. He said to me he is fed up with iannotate and it's lack of the text fill and such.

    But he needs a few features before he can issue iPads to employees and I agree.
    -Print to PDF! (or hard save) making all changes on the document permanent and viewable by all devices and the annotations he made would not be able to be tampered with only more notes and annotations over top
    - I couldnt figure out the signature deal? No erase, just a new sheet and the signature is saved and inserted each time- which is good for personal signature but can there be a list of saved signatures, option not to save some...? Or perhaps a Personal Signature that is saved and a separate signature for others to sign my PDFs a signature that doesn't need to be saved!!

    I work a tech job and my work order need to be signed and sent back, I also don't want to print the 20-40 page color documents instructing me on the exact way to setup a POS machine just for the file to be revised the next time I do a job for the same store. Adding these features will make PDF Expert my app of all apps!

    Oh yeah and do I get any kind of refferal bonus:)
  12. macrumors 6502



    many thanks for your feedback.

    I passed that to our Dev team, we'll see what can we improve. I will inform you as soon as possible. :)
  13. macrumors 6502a

    You can convert PDFs into Apple's Book format with the free app Calibre.
    Then you can annotate just as if it was an eBook.


  14. macrumors member

    Do any of these iPad PDF or ebook readers create an annotation file that can be exported? It is the option I miss the most about the Kindle device.
  15. macrumors 65816


    iAnnotate will let you export all the highlighted text alongside the actual PDF. I've used that before to point of a specific paragraph in a scientific paper to somebody, I can send them both the paper highlighted and the text of that highlighted part along side it.

    The biggest downside of iAnnotate is that sometimes highlighting text does not work perfectly. Sometimes when you try to highlight a paragraphs, there will be gaps not covered by the highlighter and sometimes in two column format documents (scientific papers) the highlighter will jump from one column to another (hard to explain without images). But overall I think it's the best solution for annotating PDFs in iOS.
  16. macrumors 6502


    So I have PDF Expert now on miPad 2 and it let's you export an annotated PDF as a flattened PDF, so all annotations are printable and readable on all PDF software etc. kind of like a photoshop flatten all layers, all content is there just on one layer and not editable etc. You can export any other way you like also, normal annotations for editing annotations and I believe even a list of what annotations there are, willcheck on that one when I get to my iPad.
  17. thibaulthalpern, Apr 20, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2011

    macrumors regular

    So what's the latest opinions about GoodReader, iAnnotate, and PDF Expert? I too am looking into a sophisticated PDF reader and annotation software, and one that can easily sync with my Mac. I wish I could try out all three programmes before buying. It would be nice if Apple could have an option where we try out software for a day before it expires.

    I ask about "latest opinions" because since the first reviews were written, both iAnnotate and PDF Expert and GoodReader have been updated several times and some of the original shortcomings have been addressed so some of the original reviews are no longer valid.
  18. macrumors newbie

    PDF Expert vs. iAnnotate vs. Goodreader

    I reviewed the three programs the week I got my iPad 2. I needed something to annotate dozens of PDFs for a Masters thesis I'm working on. I originally intended to get iAnnotate but once I read a lot of blogs and reviews, settled on PDF Expert. I'm very happy with it. Love the Dropbox sync.

    Yesterday I met with our Chief Tech Officer. I'll be doing an executive level presentation in June on great iPad apps. I mentioned PDF Expert and he said he hadn't heard of it and most execs were using iAnnotate with Goodreader. He gave me a big iTunes gift certificate so I could buy a number of these apps and try them out so I guess I'll give both a spin. Perhaps I can write a full blog post once my thesis is done in two weeks.

    I'll buy them tonight and try to post a quick first impression in the next day or two as a response to this post.
  19. macrumors newbie

    @ waxwing1
    Please do post your findings. I would be very interested in the pros and cons of PDF expert and iAnnotate which includes their latest features.

    In particular, I read a lot of scientific papers and I would like to be able to effectively include hand written notes (using Pogo stylus). I read on my commute so one handed annotation is necessary. Hen pecking at the keyboard with one hand is slow and frustrating.
  20. macrumors regular


    Yes, please do review and post your comments about the three PDF applications.

    I'm working on my Ph.D. dissertation and while at this moment I'm not doing a lot of reading (since I'm deep in the writing phase) it could be really useful. In the past, I use Apple Preview to annotate the PDFs which I have stored in EndNote along with their appropriate citations.

    In your review, I hope you address the major disadvantages or shortcomings of these programmes. And, as an academic, which programme do you think is most suitable for scholarly use? I'm in the qualitative side of the social sciences so do a lot of reading and not only of journal articles but also books.
  21. macrumors regular


    I'am also very interested by a scientific évaluation of PDF reader/manager on iPad. In addition, I'm looking for 2 others features:
    - Organize PDF by "folder"
    - tag management
    Does any of the app mentioned have this kind of features ? How is Papers for iPad, because I really love it on the Mac.
  22. macrumors regular

    I have found this one: Sente.
    Seems full of features, but pretty expensive too. Does anyone use it or ever tried it ?
  23. macrumors regular

    If I'm correct, this jumping around has nothing to do with iannotate but has to do with how the article was OCR'd. When it was being OCR'd the device was not set to recognise columns and rather went right across the columns like a line. Try highlighting the problem PDF in other PDF programs on PC or MAC and you'll see the same "jumping around".
  24. macrumors regular

    Never used but Sente is more than just a PDF annotation reasons programme. Sente is a bibliography management tool
  25. macrumors newbie

    I am also among the throngs looking for an app that can annotate and export as a flat PDF with the changes made, sync with DropBox would be grand as well. It's for a PhD thesis and being able to have multiple PDFs open would be neat too.

    I think from my research it's come down to iAnnotate or PDF expert but I'm looking for some opinions to help decide. Thanks in advance!

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