Best PDF annotation app?

jenn.y

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 20, 2014
18
0
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.
 
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lexvo

macrumors 65816
Nov 11, 2009
1,241
398
The Netherlands
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.
 

jenn.y

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 20, 2014
18
0
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.
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.
 

jenn.y

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 20, 2014
18
0
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.
 

jenn.y

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 20, 2014
18
0
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. :(
 

lexvo

macrumors 65816
Nov 11, 2009
1,241
398
The Netherlands
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.
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/
 

jenn.y

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 20, 2014
18
0
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?
 

TITNTUFF

macrumors regular
Aug 9, 2010
212
33
West Louisiana
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.
 

jenn.y

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 20, 2014
18
0
The free version doesn't have any annotation features to try unfortunately, and it seems that pdf provider doesn't support freehand highlighting?
 

Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Oct 31, 2009
9,258
766
Near Dallas, Texas, USA
Are you guys using these with iPads or other devices
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.
 

Cassady

macrumors 6502a
Jul 7, 2012
552
128
Sqornshellous
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.

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.
 

jenn.y

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 20, 2014
18
0
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.
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?
 

Donka

macrumors 68030
May 3, 2011
2,779
1,399
Scotland
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?
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.
 

Donka

macrumors 68030
May 3, 2011
2,779
1,399
Scotland
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.
 
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jenn.y

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 20, 2014
18
0
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.
 

jenn.y

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 20, 2014
18
0
Edit: Never mind - iAnnotate stopped lagging, but there's still some seriously annoying glitches.
 
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sk1wbw

Suspended
May 28, 2011
3,483
1,006
Williamsburg, Virginia
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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