What is the best PDF annotation app for iPad?

Starfyre

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Original poster
Nov 7, 2010
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As the topic states, I want a PDF annotation App that I can annotate a pdf, save it locally to the iPad and not save out to the cloud. I should be able to email it to myself, and I don't want to pay any subscription fees to do this.

I also want whatever comments or annotations I make with the iPad app, if I email or send the document back to me, all the comments and annotations will be there.

What app is out there that does this? Googling turns up the #1 app being one with a subscription paid for using in-app purchase. I don't want to use anything like that and want to ask the community here for recommendations.
 
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muzzy996

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Feb 16, 2018
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My go-to is PDF Expert by Readdle. It can support cloud services but you do not need to use them. If I recall correctly it was a one time purchase. I'm sure there are others out there, I settled on PDF Expert rather quickly as it was bundled with other great apps like Documents from the same developer.
 

Starfyre

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Original poster
Nov 7, 2010
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My go-to is PDF Expert by Readdle. It can support cloud services but you do not need to use them. If I recall correctly it was a one time purchase. I'm sure there are others out there, I settled on PDF Expert rather quickly as it was bundled with other great apps like Documents from the same developer.
That's the one that has a monthly subscription for pro features (after a 7 day trial). Free to install initially.
 
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rumz

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Feb 11, 2006
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That's the one that has a monthly subscription for pro features (after a 7 day trial). Free to install initially.
The subscription features appear to be the ability to customize your toolbar, turn other documents into PDFs, and to edit text in PDFs.

Worth a shot to Ignore the 7 day trial and see if the free “non-pro” free features do what you want. I’ve had the app since I got the first gen iPad Pro w/ Apple Pencil but I’ve only needed to use it a few times. I am curious if it’ll meet your needs, I may tinker a bit more...

What about markup? Does it let you annotate PDFs? (I’m thinking iPadOS actually, though the functionality there might not be as robust as you’d like.)
 
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Kostas3000

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Sep 28, 2016
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New York
pdf expert used to be my favorite for many many years. It seems that they have lost their focus recently and the new subscription of $50 per year is absurd

my current favorite is by far pdf viewer


it is worth taking a look at marginnote and liquidtext (this one only for ipad though)
 

Beards

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Mar 22, 2014
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Derbyshire UK
Simple answer for me:- ‘Notability’.
I use it to mark up all my PDF’s and share them either as a RTF/PDF/Notability file. Email is supported.
 

Rigby

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Aug 5, 2008
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San Jose, CA
As the topic states, I want a PDF annotation App that I can annotate a pdf, save it locally to the iPad and not save out to the cloud. I should be able to email it to myself, and I don't want to pay any subscription fees to do this.

I also want whatever comments or annotations I make with the iPad app, if I email or send the document back to me, all the comments and annotations will be there.

What app is out there that does this? Googling turns up the #1 app being one with a subscription paid for using in-app purchase. I don't want to use anything like that and want to ask the community here for recommendations.
If been using Goodreader for many years. Supports both local device storage and various clouds, and many ways of transferring files in and out (it's not just a PDF reader/markup tool, but also an excellent general purpose file-management tool). Can embed the annotations into the PDF file, so you can view and edit them with tools like Acrobat on a computer. You can also "flatten" the annotations. The app costs $6, and there is an optional "pro pack" for another $6, but you'll probably not need that. No subscription.
 
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culb0743

macrumors regular
Feb 24, 2013
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Used PDF Expert for years; was always more than happy to pay for the version updates and Pro features IAP. But I have to draw the line with the inflated subscriptions. Years ago, I used iAnnotate by Branchfire and PDFPen by Smile Software. Will likely migrate back to one of these two.
 

Starfyre

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Nov 7, 2010
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LiquidText seems really good. I'll have ot try iAnnotate and PDFPen to see what they are like.
 

0989382

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Jan 11, 2018
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PDF Expert is good, but very recently they did change to subscription. That’s a step back to me. I made the purchase two years ago then a second purchase to get pro features. Then I owned it outright, but now the app has a constant trip hook wire at every turn to try and get you to subscribe. So for that reason I’ll also be trying the other apps mentioned here
 

Starfyre

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Original poster
Nov 7, 2010
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So far I must say, the PDF Expert free (no subscription) seems to be one of the most fun to use for annotating and reading. LiquidText is nice, though has some quirks.. I would like it to be easily pannable/zoomable with the pen tool selected, which some of the other apps don't have a problem with this.
 

danmart

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Apr 24, 2015
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Lancs, UK
Another vote for GoodReader. It has been my PDF-app of choice ever since I got an iPad 1 back at launch. With my Pro I keep four or five big PDFs open at the same time for cross referencing, and annotation with Pencil or finger plus text is super easy.
 

pacorob

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Apr 8, 2010
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the Netherlands
I used to use a couple of years ago the really handy side by side PDF (split screen for current and old iPads without Apple's split view support) annotation app called Easy Annotate which still seems to be available for free and 4.99 dollar (once) for the pro features. Not sure though it still works as good since it hasn't been updated in about 3 years.
 
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