I would pay $20 for preview.app like annotation app

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by oclor, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. oclor macrumors regular

    Jan 14, 2006
    Not sure if any developers take suggestions through this forum, or if there is anybody out there that can help me find what I'm looking for, but I need an app that is is very simple. Let me explain.

    I am a dental student and I take a ton of notes on my laptop during lectures. I use preview's annotation tool which I find to be the most perfect thing that has every been invented (ok slight exaggeration but I love this feature). It's so extremely simple, you just click somewhere and start typing, and a note is made to the site. When you have lectures with 100+ slides each and a ton of info, this is tremendously helpful.

    I want just that for the iPad. I'm tired of lugging my 15" MBP to school and running out of battery life (we have at least 4, 2 hour lectures a day). I am going to get the iPad and the apple wireless keyboard and want to be able to view my PDF's and just tap ONCE and start typing, JUST like preview on the mac.

    Now I know there are some popular annotation apps in the app store such as iAnnotate, but I have used that on my friend's iPad and was really disappointed. It definitely does what you need, but not fast enough. If you want to take a note, you have to click 2-3 times on different things until you start typing (my profs go extremely fast, I would be lost if I used this). I just want to click once somewhere and start typing right away. When I click somewhere else, a new note starts. That would be perfect. Maybe you can make it so that if you click and hold and then swipe you can go to the next/previous slide instead of creating a note. Please someone either make this or point me to such an app if it exists in the app store.

    Other features such as the ability to sync with my mac's preview would be good, but absolutely not necessary. I just want something like preview for the iPad. That's all. I would literally pay whatever it costs because it is so important for me and would make my life 10x easier. Thank you so much.
  2. Jasonbot macrumors 68020


    Aug 15, 2006
    The Rainbow Nation RSA
    Same here. I havent got an iPad yet but I've been looking at the apps and dont know which one is the most streamlined for note taking.
  3. natecannon macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2011
    Boston, MA
    I agree with you regarding iAnnotate. The UI is confusing, non-Mac/iPad like, and rubs me the wrong way. I've also tried Readdle and a few other PDF annotating programs, but have inevitably been left disappointed. That is, until I found GoodReader. In my opinion, Goodreader is hands down the leader in this area, especially with its most recent release (3.3) that has made syncing dramatically easier. It took me a fair amount of research, but I'm totally happy with my workflow now. I usually read and annotate 100-200 pages of PDFs a week on my iPad, so getting it right was important to me.

    The first critical step though is to make sure you have a free Dropbox account set up. Seriously, Dropbox is the greatest thing that ever happened to your iPad. It will become your best friend for keeping everything synced up between your iPad and your computer (Mac or PC). Simply hook up Goodreader to your Dropbox account, and enjoy relatively painless syncing with any Dropbox folder that you specify. Its not technically automatic, since you do have to hit the 'Sync' button, but much easier than dealing with every individual file. After hitting 'Sync', any annotations you make on your iPad will automatically show up on your home computer. No emailing files, no manual syncing over WiFi, no plugging in your iPad to manually transfer. It's a beautiful thing.

    I think you'll be happy with the annotation process within GoodReader as well. Simply hold down your finger anywhere on the PDF, and a menu pops up with options such as Note (works nearly identical to Preview on the Mac that you love so much), highlight, draw, underline, etc.

    The GoodReader / Dropbox combo is killer. If there's anything better out there, I certainly haven't found it.
  4. workinboy macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2011
    Nate, have you messed around with PDF expert at all? From what I've read, it's also a contender with iAnnotate and good reader. Im looking for an annotator that will sync with my dropbox account but will also open PDFs right from my browser. If I do it this way can I save a new PDF file into my dropbox? Or can i only import and edit with good reader? Do you use an app for note taking ad well like uPad or notes plus?
  5. natecannon macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Perhaps PDF Expert is a Contender?

    At your suggestion, I just finished reading up on PDF Expert. I'm definitely intrigued. The 5 star average rating in the app store (with 281 ratings) is an impressive feat in and of itself, and the feature set looks appealing. It offers two-way syncing with Dropbox, iDisk, or any WebDav storage, which is an absolute must in my book. I've been perfectly content using GoodReader after wading through several other subpar annotation apps, so I'm wondering if there's enough there for me to justify the $10 switch. I'd be curious to hear how it goes for you if you try it out.

    As for saving PDFs from your browser, GoodReader can handle that (and I would assume that PDF Expert could as well, although I obviously haven't tested it.) Your Safari browser in iOS will open a PDF just fine when browsing, and when it does it will display option buttons on the top right of your screen to "Open in GoodReader" or "Open in..." (if you don't see it, just tap anywhere on the screen and it should pop up). The "Open in..." option will let you send the PDF to iBooks, Evernote, or any other compatible app. Once the PDF is in GoodReader, simply move it to any folder that you have set up to sync with DropBox, tap the sync button, and you should be all set.

    The note taking app realm is a whole other beast, probably good for its own post... Ugh, I feel like I've been through a lot of them: Mental Note, Corkulous, Notes Plus, Notability, Pages, and countless others that I've read about but haven't decided to buy. Most of the above options aren't terrible, they just seemed to lack the simple feature set and polish I'm looking for. I'm currently using Notability, and I'm actually pretty satisfied so far. For my note taking style, the ability to easily create hierarchical bullet lists, numbered lists, etc is essential, and yet so many of these note taking apps just don't get it right, or don't get it at all. Notability does the best job that I've seen so far. The ability to record lectures and meetings and link directly back to the text you were typing at any point in the recording is pretty cool/useful as well.

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