Pencil workflow for reviewing lots of documents

Discussion in 'iPad' started by kat.hayes, Aug 17, 2016.

  1. kat.hayes macrumors 6502a

    Oct 10, 2011
    I am trying to find a way to integrate the Pencil into my workflow for reviewing lots of documents. My job requires me to review lots of webpages, documents, information, and articles, so I currently save lots of webpages as PDF files to a folder in Dropbox on my Mac and later access those files through Notability. I have also saved webpages directly on my iPad to Dropbox and webpages on my iPad directly to Notability.

    I use the Pencil in Notability to highlight key info I need to later review, and I annotate on the files. Everything in Notability is being backed up to a folder in Dropbox so I can than access these updated PDF files on my Mac or iOS device or send to someone else. I than go back to Notability and delete the files after they are backed up to Dropbox.

    So far this works, and I like reviewing PDF files on my iPad with the ability to easily make highlights and annotations, though I'm guessing I could have done the same thing with an older iPad and a 3rd party stylus?

    Based on what I described, can anyone recommend an improved workflow? Are there any key features of the Pencil/Notability that I am not using that I should look into?

  2. rldunn macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2010
    Ann Arbor, MI
    What you are describing is almost exactly the workflow I use for my reviews, including using Notability and Dropbox. I've been using this workflow since the first iPad with a 3rd-party stylus, and I switched to Notability shortly after it's release - to answer that question, yes, you could have done the same thing, but the Pencil makes all the difference in the world. It's what I've been waiting for since the first iPad came out. Writing is so much smoother and faster that it feels like a completely different process.

    As to your main question, are there aspects of this workflow that you question in particular? What I really enjoy about this workflow is the redundancy that it offers, having everything backed up to Dropbox and being able to be accessed by my desktop (or viewed on Mac Notability).
  3. tgara macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2012
    Connecticut, USA
    Just a comment that might make things simpler for you.

    The Dropbox app for iOS recently added the ability to edit PDF documents directly through Adobe Acrobat.

    I use this a lot, and find it saves lots of steps, e.g., copying a document from Dropbox to another app, then editing in that app, then moving back to Dropbox. Editing/annotating right in Dropbox also syncs immediately so those edits are on all my other devices as well.
  4. DGGoingUphill macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2015
    I do something similar but use Documents by Readdle with PDF Expert (you could just use PDF Expert, if you'd like). I create a sync folder from DropBox in Documents so I don't have to manage the round trips, it just automatically updates. For light editing I'll use the Adobe Acrobat option from DropBox, but I find the Readdle apps are easier to use for extensive markup.
  5. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    I think the problem then comes if you want to preserve a master copy in Dropbox.

    This was the problem when I used pdf expert. So it's not a bad idea to manually open the files you want in a separate app where you can annotate on it all you want and you will always have a master copy you can fall back on or reuse at a later date.

    And notability is available on iOS and Mac devices, and lets you backup to Dropbox as well, so ease of access shouldn't be an issue.

    That said, notability has fairly modest annotation capabilities compared to other apps like pdf expert.

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