iPad mini Seamless PDF compatibility between Mac Preview and iPad?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by fxhun, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. fxhun macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2013
    First time owner of an iPad here - iPad Mini 3. Longtime user of Mac computers.

    I read a lot of PDF's and I am constantly highlighting. I bought an iPad exclusively to do reading/highlighting of PDF's. I would like to be able to highlight PDF's on my iPad and then see the highlighted marks when pulling up the PDF on my rMBP's Preview. I use Preview on my laptop because it is really convenient and straightforward for highlighting PDF's.

    To clarify, I am not looking for something that permanently alters a PDF document, but could be "un-highlighted" by the Mac Preview app need be.

    Is this possible? I've just realized neither iBooks nor the Adobe Reader app allows highlighting of PDF's. I don't understand why Apple needs to make this so difficult?
  2. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    You might want to try the PDF Expert app.


    I just tested this on my iPad. I highlighted a pdf in yellow, had it sync over to my Mac via icloud (you can also use dropbox if you want), then opened it in the preview app. The text was highlighted in yellow, but I was able to select it and remove the highlighting.

    It's not a cheap app, but it is a very fully-featured PDF annotation tool, and well worth the price, IMO.
  3. fxhun thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2013
    Thanks for confirming Abazigal! I will look into PDF Expert. It absolutely blows my mind that something as basic and standard as PDF highlighting is absent from the iPad's built-in functionality.
  4. Cassady macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2012
    PDF annotating in general, is pretty shoddy, imo. Hundreds of apps that offer it, very few that do it well, and hardly any that do everything needed.

    I've tried plenty. Goodreader is my main weapon of choice atm, mainly due to it allowing me to set (and remember) my own highlight colours. It also allows a variety of sync methods, and you have the option to annotate or flatten the file.

    On the horizon - hoping I get approved for the beta-testing of a new iPad app that looks promising: Liquidtext.

    Good luck!
  5. Saturn1217 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2008

    Part of the problem is that apple changes how annotations work with almost every version of OSX and doesn't seem to care how this effects users' workflows. They also don't seem to provide any consistent APIs for iOS so that highlighting and text annotations made by iOS apps are all 100% compatible with the latest version of preview.

    In Yosemite the next text annotations are particularly bad at cross compatibility. I wish Apple cared about this more. Annotating PDFs is a large part of my work.
  6. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    I use GoodReader and sync with my OneDrive account or the iOS Adobe Reader app and an Acrobat Online account. The OneDrive files then get auto-synced to my PC & Macs or I can open files in Adbobe Reader on my PC or Macs via the desktop Acrobat application. Seems to work reasonably well.
  7. FuNGi macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2010
    If you read allot of pdf's and want to have seamlessly linked files then you might consider a pdf organizer program such as Sente or Papers2. Both offer iPad companion apps. I use both and given the decline of Papers am leaning toward Sente now.

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