What's up with iPad and annotating PDFs?

Discussion in 'iPad Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by Nick16, Apr 2, 2016.

  1. Nick16 macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2011
    Either I'm missing something or the iPad is really funky about what it does and doesn't let you do in terms of annotating and saving PDFs. If anyone does a lot with PDFs on the iPad, I would love some advice!

    I use PDFs a lot. I print to (or save as) PDF from my MacBook very frequently because I edit and send a lot of documents of various types. Saving as PDF is a good final step because virtually everyone can open/read one. First, I was pretty disappointed that you can't print to PDF on the iPad. That seems like it'd be a pretty handy feature for a lot of people. I've gotten over that and now I'm confused about why you can still do so little when you actually do have a PDF. I don't see a way to easily store/manage PDFs on the iPad or annotate them. When I receive a PDF via email I can use the "annotate and reply" feature. This is great! I can also save PDFs to iBooks and export webpages from Safari to iBooks as a PDF. This is super handy, too! But why can I not open a PDF in iBooks, annotate it, and then send it to someone?

    Say I want to print a webpage as a PDF, annotate it, and email it to someone. So far, the only way I've figured out to do this is to export the webpage to iBooks as a PDF, email it to myself, and then use the "annotate and reply" feature to annotate then send it back to myself. This is ridiculous. Is there any simple or inexpensive solution that will allow me to 1) turn more things into PDFs (essentially anything that is printable, I want to be able to print to PDF sometimes) or 2) annotate the PDFs I do have? It seems like iPad only lets you annotate PDFs that you receive via email. The only other solution seems to be to download a complex combination of apps but none of them do all of this. I generally enjoy Apple's products but I'm new to iPad and perplexed by this simple task. Any help is appreciated!
  2. Cascades42 macrumors 6502

    Jan 25, 2016
    Printability is a free app off the top of my head that lets you convert things to PDF. I personally use Workflow as I have it already (and you can convert documents to some extent), but there's plenty of choice. For annotating PDFs I recommend listening to episode 6 of Canvas which is a podcast episode about creating and managing PDFs on the iPad. They recommend PDF Expert and iAnnotate. I use Notability or PDFPen myself (the latter for contracts, the former for lecture slides and homework sheets), which gives you another 2 options.
  3. AlliFlowers Contributor


    Jan 1, 2011
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    I just use the free Adobe app, which allows me to annotate, form-fill, and sign a .pdf.
  4. TrueBlou macrumors 68040


    Sep 16, 2014
    I use PDf Expert 5 for all of my annotations and general PDF work, I think it's great and simple to use. Can't remember if it's a paid app or not I've had it so long.
  5. eg2007 macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2007
    I use Notability every day. Love it. But you might be able to do this with the stock Notes app on the iPad.

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