hand write on pdf?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by m7han, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. m7han macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2008
    Does anybody know whether there is an application allowing you to hand write directly on pdf file through usb tablet? For example, take notes, highlight text, or draw some simple figures, etc. For pc, I know PDF Annotator does really a good job, but I haven't found any running on mac.

    Thanks in advance!~
  2. vandozza macrumors 6502a


    Jun 14, 2006
  3. m7han thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2008
    thanks~! but it seems not support multi-stroke. everytime when you release your mouse or your digital pen, the program will return to select tool from the scribble tool. i.e. you have to re-select scribble tool for the next stroke,,,,, this is so annoying,,,,, am i doing wrong somewhere? or is there any tip for the multi-stroke?
  4. vandozza macrumors 6502a


    Jun 14, 2006
    i can't help you with this app unfortunately, but i assumed (wrongly) that if the pen was supported by the system (which i take that it is,) then it would work in this app with no problems.

    maybe email the developers?
  5. scott9s macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2008
    Any MAC replacement for PDF Annotator?

    I'm looking for a tool to do exactly what the subject of the original post says. Did anyone find anything?

    Here's the products I've tried:
    • Skim which is great for keyboard only- wish they'd add ink.
    • Formulate Pro: Too Raw. it doesn't do as much as pdf annotator, and I can't get the eraser to work.
    • PDFpen: It looked very promising, but it keeps the selector tool as the default. So, when you create a scribble, you have to select the scribble tool for each hand printed character. Way too much time.
    • PDFClerk Pro: Same gripes as PDFpen.
  6. virgomac macrumors member

    Mar 10, 2008
  7. keyofnight macrumors regular


    Mar 19, 2009
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    I spent all night looking into PDF writing, ink-over-pdf, or whatever people want to call it. That's right: between the hours of 10pm and 6am, I dedicated all of my energies to downloading every program capable of PDF annotation and nearly had a nervous breakdown in the process. Loser? You be the judge.

    Most of the solutions I've seen are clumsy. I only found one program that did the trick, and it was—of all things—the mindmapping project management powerhouse program Curio.

    First, here are the losers:

    Inkbook is kind of nice, but the interface is sort of strange. I never got the hang of the interface: that huge page button is weird. I wouldn't use it.

    Adobe Acrobat Pro will let you markup PDFs with the "pencil tool," but the tablet support is crabby. I couldn't get the eraser to work on my Wacom, there is no support for pressure control, and I'm not sure if you can change the color (I didn't stick around to find out). The pencil tool in acrobat is, in my eyes, for proofing only—not note-taking and other tasks requiring handwriting.

    Jarnal is a Microsoft Journal / OneNote look-alike written in Java. It gets the job done, but like other apps the pressure control seems non-existent. The interface is that shabby Java toolkit (bollocks), and the "mac-version" is packaged strangely (it is a test version afterall). If the Jarnal project ends up adding a swank Cocoa front-end for subsequent mac versions, I might end up using this. (o;

    Evernote does not allow you to crete what they call "ink notes" in their Mac OS X offering, and they fail to mention this one their website or in their screencasts. At 4am, this was aggravating. Remember, kids, documentation can be the deal-breaker. Even still, Evernote doesn't seem to allow a person to write over a PDF. They could save a pdf as a "note" in itself, though. Useless, I'd say. :/ Beautiful application though.

    Skim has no tablet support.

    Formulate Pro is promising, but it definitely is "too raw," like Scott said. The project, also, has been inactive for a while. If anyone is looking for a pet project to fork, Formulate Pro would be the lucky loser.

    I was not impressed by PDFPen or PDFClerk: their interfaces don't live up to the standard we're all used to by now. The only application that does is EverNote, and that doesn't even do what we want it to do.

    The only program I found helpful in annotating PDF documents is Zengobi's Curio. Since Zengobi touts its program as a Notebook, WhiteBoard, Presentation and SketchPad monstrosity of a killer-application, I should have known it had what I needed. This video on "PDF spread" illustrates how you can pull PDFs into CURIO and do creative things to them (including marking, highlighting, and presenting). I believe Curio does not allow for the searching and selection of text within a PDF, but I imagine this will change soon. Zengobi listens to its users—I think.

    Hopefully someone read this whole post and got something out of it. I probably will never know.

  8. shedali macrumors newbie

    Mar 31, 2007
    London, England

    that was useful, I'm trying out curio now........
  9. pharaohramses macrumors newbie

    Sep 22, 2009

    Thx for the info. I have also spent more than a few hours looking for a program. I have a windows tablet PC, but I am done with Vista. Curio works well, not as well as a tablet PC. However, it is definitely worth checking out...:)
  10. pmichael macrumors newbie

    Dec 5, 2009
    Skim is much better than Curio

    If all you want to do is use a pen and tablet to annotate a PDF, the free open source program Skim is much better than Curio.

    Curio does many things and clearly has its advocates. If you are happy to read all of your marketd up PDFs only in Curio and never have to print them out, it is fine. But getting a PDF with ink on it re-exported as a PDF is a very tedious task.

    As several people have noted, PDFPen has a remarkably misleading name. Useless for pen input.
  11. dbwie macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2007
    Albuquerque, NM, USA
    I believe if you double click on the tool in PDFpen, so it is highlighted in dark blue instead of light blue, it stays active. I may be wrong.
  12. sfriesen macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2011
    Great post...I've been using PDFPenPro for a few years, and never been that satisfied with it's freehand markup option. I just downloaded Skim, and it's PERFECT for freehand, and FREE to boot.
  13. hp79, Dec 20, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013

    hp79 macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2013
    Any updates for 2013/2014 on inking software?

    I googled for PDF Annotator (for Windows) equivalent software for OSX and found this post. I realize it's a pretty old thread, but would like to get some update from people.

    For inking purpose, is there a good alternative to PDF Annotator yet? How about OneNote alternative for inking? (I know Evernote doesn't support inking.) I'm a long time Tablet PC user, and I loved OneNote inking for taking notes. I used PDF Annotator for inking over PDF directly, although the interface is not so elegant as OneNote, probably because there's not that big of a market or lack of competition, it works very well for inking over PDF directly. I switched to rMBP13 because the high resolution screen and always wanted to try out OSX since long time ago.

    How is the Wacom Intuos CTH 480 ($89 on Amazon) with OSX for inking? I'm not an artist, and this will only be for inking. I think it will be weird writing on a separate area and looking at the screen, but maybe I'll get used to that. But more importantly, I'm wondering how the inking software are for OSX.
  14. onekerato macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2011
    I use Skim.app and an Intuous 5 now and then to mark up PDFs with the freehand tool. It works smoothly on a fast Mac with lots of RAM. Yes, it takes some getting used to working with a wacom tablet...

    Also, iAnnotate on iPad has a good freehand annotation tool, and is my preferred choice -- the finger/stylus is not very precise but its fast and easy to switch to a regular comment/note tool when required. Moreover, it supports embedding voice annotations in the PDF too.

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