Best PDF annotation app?

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by jenn.y, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. jenn.y, Jun 20, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014

    jenn.y macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2014
    #1
    So do you guys have any recommendations on a good PDF annotation app (paid or free)? I know there's been some threads before but there's a few requirements I need the app to meet
    -Freehand highlighting
    -small file sizes (My iPad is only 16gb, and I don't want it to use up my memory - e.g. if I import a 70mb file and it takes up a few hundred mb with annotations)*
    -notetaking would be a nice bonus

    I've been looking at iAnnotate, Pdf Expert 5, Notability and Goodnotes. I'm currently using pdf-notes free, and I'd like to upgrade. (pdf-notes free uses up a few hundred mbs per pdf which is under 100mb).

    I basically want to highlight textbooks that are a few hundred pages long and some other documents.

    Does anyone have any experience with the apps I previously mentioned and/or any other apps? I'd be really interested in the sizes which it stores the files at (apparently notability has very large files?), as well as if there's any lag (I've head notability/goodnotes tend to lag with large pdf files?).

    Oh and iCloud sync and Google Drive access would be nice too.

    Thanks!

    *Clarification: I don't mean exported file sizes - I mean the file size the pdf is stored at in the app - i.e. the amount of storage the app uses up in data. E.g. my pdfs are 200-300mb total, but using pdf-notes, which pre-opens every file and stores them as a .pdfnotes format, the application has used up 1.3gb in data (and if I pre-opened them in retina format, it takes up ~4.5gb). For reference, the actual application's size is only 48.1mb.

    Edit: I think ? The correct term for the app using up a lot of memory is actually using up a lot of cache? I noticed another person who had the same issue with pdf notes referred to it as such.
     
  2. SHNXX macrumors 68000

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  3. lexvo macrumors 65816

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    #3
    I just tested it with PDF Expert. I have a 99MB document. After I made annotations on it, it was only a few hundred kilobytes larger (less than 1 MB). I can recommend PDF Expert, it has a lot of annotation options and a very nice Finder-like interface. And it can connect to iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, SMB, Webdav and so on. Is does not have notetaking though.

    You can also take a look at Documents by Readdle. It is free and has basic annotating. And it has basic notetaking.
     
  4. jenn.y thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2014
    #4
    Thanks for your reply lexvo! I'd just like to clarify - I'm not talking about the size of the exported file. What pdf notes does is it pre opens every file, and saves it as a .pdfnotes format. This .pdfnotes file is very large (i.e. the app uses 1.3GB of data, whereas the actual pdfs themselves are ~200mb maybe 300mb in total (individual files are around 20-70mb max for my textbooks). The app is 48.1mb.) This is pre opening at a 1024x768 resolution - when I chose retina resolution, it took ~4.5gb total.
     
  5. jenn.y thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2014
    #5
    Also, if anyone has any information on the amount of highlighter colours (the freehand highlighter) PDF expert offers (as in different colours, not just different shades of the same colour) that would be great! I colour code my highlighting, and I need at least 7 - preferably 8, distinct, bright colours.
     
  6. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #6
    I use Cabinet (It's free). It's using 329MB with 23 PDFs in there right now. It doesn't have your color requirements, but check it out anyway. The organization system is great.
     
  7. jenn.y thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    Yeah, I previously tried PDF cabinet, and while I loved its interface, the lack of highlighter colours meant that it didn't work out for me. :(
     
  8. lexvo macrumors 65816

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    #8
    Check out the site of Readdle. In the first image you can see the colors you can choose from (the image shows text colors, but the selection for freehand is the same).
    https://readdle.com/products/pdfexpert5/
     
  9. jenn.y thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2014
    #9
    On the picture, some of the colours (e.g. the third blue) are quite dark - is the text still clearly visible when using these colours with the freehand highlighter?
     
  10. TITNTUFF macrumors regular

    TITNTUFF

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    West Louisiana
    #10
    PDF PROvider

    I use PDF PROvider. Multiple highlight colors, and free to try. Imports and exports. Synch with Dropbox. Clipboard functions. Easy to edit also.
     
  11. SHNXX macrumors 68000

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    #11
    Are you guys using these with iPads or other devices
     
  12. TITNTUFF macrumors regular

    TITNTUFF

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    #12
    iPad and iPhone

    I use PDF PROvider on iPad and iPhone. No problems or complaints.
     
  13. jenn.y thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2014
    #13
    The free version doesn't have any annotation features to try unfortunately, and it seems that pdf provider doesn't support freehand highlighting?
     
  14. Chloe12 macrumors newbie

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    Mar 18, 2014
    #14
    writepdf

    hi
    writepdf is a good pdf annotation app - i have used it with no problems
     
  15. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #15
    iPads most likely.

    There are some PDF apps for iPhone though. GoodReader, PDF Max, PDF Connoisseur, etc.

    Notability also handles them. So does Noteshelf (iPad only).

    A lot of them handle the annotating by turning every page into an image though. PDFs aren't friendly in general, they can be really heavy.
     
  16. ishark macrumors newbie

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  17. Donka macrumors 68020

    Donka

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  18. Cassady macrumors 6502a

    Cassady

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    #18

    Glad I'm not the only one who colour codes - have mine setup across all devices, to match DTPO on my Mac!

    Thus, the ability to set the colours is a deal-breaker for me. So my vote goes to Goodreader 4. It gives you the full color wheel/palette to work off, and remembers the 14/16(?) most recently used colours. Set it up properly once, and you're golden going forward.
     
  19. jenn.y thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2014
    #19
    Ooh that sounds pretty good. But does goodreader support freehand highlighting? When I look at the screenshots in the App Store it doesn't seem to show that. Also does it use up a huge cache?/memory/data in storing the pdf files?
     
  20. Donka macrumors 68020

    Donka

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    #20
    Yes it does support freehand highlighting. I haven't checked file sizes on board but it stores them as proper annotated pdf files and all annotations & comments can be viewed and edited on desktop acrobat so I would hazard a guess that the file sizes are not excessive. I don't have anything substantial to hand for testing though.
     
  21. Donka, Jun 23, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2014

    Donka macrumors 68020

    Donka

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    #21
    Actually. Had a 2.4mb pdf file in Goodreader. The app was already using a total of 107mb. It saves a copy of the file (optional) when annotating. Added a bunch of highlights, freehand annotations and comments and saved the updates. Closed the app and checked usage and Goodreader is showing 109mb usage so looks like only a tiny increase in file size with a bunch of annotations since the extra app usage appears equal to the size of the copied file for edits.
     
  22. jenn.y thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2014
    #22
    I ended up going with iAnnotate. I quite like it - though customising it initially was a pain. I did experience the glitch where if you copy text, it gets jumbled together, but that doesn't bother me too much for the moment.
     
  23. gio2000 macrumors newbie

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  24. jenn.y, Jun 29, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014

    jenn.y thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2014
    #24
    Edit: Never mind - iAnnotate stopped lagging, but there's still some seriously annoying glitches.
     
  25. sk1wbw Suspended

    sk1wbw

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    Williamsburg, Virginia
    #25
    Just bought PDF Reader from Readdle. I also have PDF Pen which I think I got on sale a while back on the cheap. Both seem nice but Readdle's app is layer out better and cleaner and seems easier to navigate.
     

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