Help Choose: iAnnotate, PDF Expert or GoodReader

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by epicmar, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. epicmar macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2008
    Northern Florida
    I moved over 1000 files from GoodReader to iAnnotate several months ago - now over 1500 files. I really liked iAnnotate's split window library view with the ability to drag and drop files. I also like the tagging and search capabilities. The web interface works well if you routinely download PDFs from a bunch of different websites. The cloud support has left a lot to be desired. Now with their recent update they have eliminated the split window library view and the drag and drop. They have not enhanced the search-its great that it can search content, but with no way to limit or organize search results it becomes less useful when searching 1500 files and you get 75 hits. They have not kept up with GoodReader which now has almost notetaking app handwriting functionality.

    Should I switch back to GoodReader or is PDF Expert (which I don't own yet) the way to go or another app? What do you think are the strengths of GoodReader or PDF Expert over iAnnotate or their strengths in general?

  2. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    It depends on your use case. I have all three, but generally prefer iAnnotate.
  3. jojoba, Jul 10, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012

    jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    I'm also annoyed by iAnnotate's latest update. I have that and PDF Expert, and while I initially preferred the latter because iAnnotate's IU used to be much worse, I now generally find iAnnotate better, partially just because they allow for vertical scrolling (I scroll through documents a lot), but also because I've started using more of their features (they generally have more options than PDF Expert, at least last time I looked at PDF Expert). PDF Expert doesn't do tabs, tags, vertical scrolling or set/return to mark, for example.

    I have also had GoodReader for a long time but haven't really used it. I tested it out a bit a few weeks ago and was quite impressed. I like their hand writing option.
  4. rockgalmusic macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2012
    Searching PDFs and write pdf

    Hmmmn - iAnnotate, GoodReader and pdf expert are often mentioned for pdf viewing, organizing and editing etc
    personally i use a different app called writepdf
    the main reason why i mention this one, is when you are searching for a keyword it will come up with a list of clickable links which take you straight to the pdf file and as i also deal with a quite a few pdf files this is essential for my sanity!
    also in the top pane you can view all your pdf files so its good for organization
    it's not difficult to use either
    worth a try?
  5. Readdlemate Suspended


    Jan 26, 2009
    Sorry, but PDF Expert does support vertical scrolling. Just go to "Settings" -> "PDF Viewer" and chose the type of scrolling you like.

    There is a very simple reason for not doing tabs - it will ruin the whole user experience and interface. We do have "Recent" tap with the last 5 documents you have viewed (so you can quickly jump between those).
  6. epicmar thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2008
    Northern Florida
    I also have WritePDF and think it has a lot of potential. However, it's handwriting annotation is very weak. I can't get the search file content feature to get any search hits searching multiple files. The same search will get hits when I have a file open.

    I am still stuck between iAnnotate and GoodReader as no one has said enough to conclude that PDF Expert is a better app :(
  7. mrrish macrumors regular


    Feb 14, 2008
    I have all three. PDF Expert has excellent file management and that is why I am sold on it. All the tools you need are there, and in a clean, unobtrusive manner. Works with all major file syncing services.

    At the moment though, the app's annotations are in the crapper. Lots of crashes with the thin pen tools in particular. This has been going on for about 2 months (with no update). I still use it despite this because of the file management.

    I'd say wait for the next update, and then try PDF Expert. It is $10, and if you think your productivity runs the benefit of being improved, then $10 is not that much money.
  8. epicmar thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2008
    Northern Florida
    Thanks for the information and your opinion. I don't have a problem with spending $10 if it is reasonably likely to be a better app than iAnnotate or GoodReader or WritePDF - all of which have some pretty good strong points. I will take your advice and wait until the next update to purchase PDF Expert.
  9. shyam09 macrumors 68020


    Oct 31, 2010
    personally i prefer the vertical scrolling of iAnnotate to PDF Expert- but i agree. wait for the update to see if its worth it :)
  10. Readdlemate Suspended


    Jan 26, 2009
    The update for PDF Expert is coming out this weekend! Stay tuned guys, I'll keep you posted!
  11. dcollinz macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2012
    Erasing Annotations in iAnnotate

    I've been looking at iAnnotate and PDF Expert -- my one challenge with iAnnotate is it does not appear that you can delete annotations after you exit annotation mode. I've tried a number of times, but once I exit and the reenter annotation mode, I can only erase annotations made during that annotation session. Once closed, I cannot find a way to erase. Am I missing something here??

  12. epicmar thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2008
    Northern Florida
    You should be able to erase annotations by tapping on the annotation which brings up the annotation menu with an option to "Delete." If you are talking about handwriting annotations, you can only erase/delete the entire annotation. GoodReader has recently added the ability to selectively erase a portion of handwriting annotation after you close an annotation session.
  13. mrrish macrumors regular


    Feb 14, 2008
    So the PDF Expert update came out and its great. It now lets you add audio clips within the PDF file (something their others apps offered for a while). The bugs with annotations are fixed and taking notes couldnt be better.
  14. Objector macrumors member

    May 16, 2011
    Sorry for bringing this thread back to life, but I'm also struggling to chose between those 3 apps.

    Tomorrow I'll receive my very first iPad, which I've purchased to go 'paperless' next college semester. I will try to digitalize all my courses and I will be taking notes to them with the iPad.

    Coming september I will also have to write my thesis, which requires me to read countless scientific PDF's. So I will be using the iPad a lot for research.

    So what do I need:

    - A very clearly organized library of all my PDF's.
    - A quick and easy way to highlight text
    - Being able to add written text
    - The ability to search for specific words in ALL my files (for research)
    - I'd be nice to add sound during lectures
    - Bookmarks in PDF files, so I can easily jump to paragraphs which are relevant to my research
    - The ability the easily add a page (for drawing diagrams or extra's during courses)


    Which one suits me best? It seems like PDF expert works the most intuitive, but does it have all the functionality?
  15. epicmar thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2008
    Northern Florida
    I have iAnnotate and GoodReader. I have switched back and forth between them and recently moved over 1500 files for iAnnotate back to GoodReader.
    - iAnnotate does better highlighting especially if you are highlighting in image PDFs; can search the content of all PDFs (but can't limit search to specific folders so it is not very useful with a large number of files; doesn't do handwriting annotations nearly as well as GoodReader; doesn't backup/synch with the cloud as well as GoodReader;
    - GoodReader excellent handwriting notes annotation (pushing capability of standalone notetaking apps, but for some inexplicable reason doesn't support inserting blank pages (iAnnotate does); doesn't support rearranging pages; can selectively erase parts of handwriting annotations (iAnnotate can't - i.e., if you write 5 sentences, hit save, and then realize you made an error in a word, you can only delete all 5 sentences); very capable backup/sync with cloud services; can only search within one file at a time;

    I think a good solution is to annotate PDFs and take notes in Notability where you can also record audio. Unfortunately, i don't think you can get the notes with audio into iAnnotate or GoodReader. I don't use much audio so I take meeting notes, which usually starts with a pdf file and then open as a PDF in GoodReader for file management purposes. I also use Appigo ToDo which works with GoodReader. GoodReader and ToDo work together to facilitate creating a ToDo entry with a link to a GoodReader file. That way if I need to review a file, I have a todo task with a due date and reminder that is linked to the file in GoodReader.

    My understanding is that PDF Expert searches the content of all files, has decent handwriting annotation, does not support tabbed/windowed display of files, does not support flagging files as favorites.

    The bottom line is that they are all solid apps. None is my ideal, but they keep adding new features and offer a lot of functionality for relatively little $, certainly compared to desktop apps.

    Let us know which app you go with.
  16. Readdlemate Suspended


    Jan 26, 2009
    PDF Expert 4.3 is coming! And guess what.. it'll have tabs!
    Stay tuned guys, I'll keep you informed.
  17. JTravers macrumors 6502a

    Jun 28, 2010
    When using vertical scrolling, are you still able to annotate the PDF?

    Any chance you could add the "Recent" button to ReaddleDocs when viewing a PDF (I know "Recent" is already available in the document manager view)?

  18. staccato83 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 9, 2008
    Las Vegas
    Will it fix the slight jitter effect when you scroll to the bottom of a pdf?
  19. MBHockey macrumors 68040


    Oct 4, 2003
    New York
    yes, i annotate all the time with vertical scrolling. Love PDF Expert. The only thing i wish it had were customizable toolbars. I am constantly switching between the highlighter and the pen/pencil tool. So i constantly have to go back and forth between the toolbars. I wish i could make my own that had both in there. it would save me a lot of tapping :)
  20. Scrub175 macrumors 6502


    Apr 25, 2012
    Port St Lucie FL
    iAnnotate will let you adjust toolbars. I have highlighter colors preset.


    iAnnotate will allow voice notes to pdf
  21. quinncom, Apr 5, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013

    quinncom macrumors newbie

    Apr 5, 2013

    I have ReaddleDocs and GoodReader and much prefer GoodReader. It has twice the features as RD with less than half the memory (RSIZE) footprint. I find the UI less cumbersome. It excels as a PDF reader; other file formats just use the iOS built-in file viewers, which are rudimentary at best (this applies to RD and GR both). The built-in text editor is handy. It is well thought-out and built, a very lovable app. I've uploaded screenshots of both apps so you can compare:
  22. Han Solo 1 macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2013
    Try GoodNotes. It has the smoothest and nicest annotation feature of any app I've tried yet, and I've tried dozens of them.
  23. TJ61 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 16, 2011
    Any reason you dredged up a 6 month old thread to post this? I feel very reluctant to click on any of your links....

  24. djransom macrumors 68040


    May 14, 2008
  25. Coko Robano macrumors newbie

    Apr 20, 2013
    Sorry to introduce a new issue; I'm unsure why this didn't come up in previous discussions so I may have a lack of GoodReader knowledge.

    In the organization I work a lot of Word doc's are distributed by email, I guess that's a pretty standard situation.

    I like to convert these Word doc's into pdf files in order to be able to see the docs as they were meant to be by the composer (if I open a Word file on the iPad directly a lot of messy layout is generated). A second reason is I like to be able to annotate the file, which only is possible if I convert the .doc to a .pdf (which has to be done on the computer, not on the iPad) after which conversion I have to send the pdf by email to myself in order to import it in GoodReader.

    I heard that iAnnotate is able to convert a .doc into a .pdf where I cannot find that functionality in GoodReader?

    Is this all true and is iAnnotate a better choice for somebody who receives a lot of Word .doc files, or am I missing something (in GoodReader).


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