Goodreader and iAnnotate are the two best applications I’ve used to date for reading PDF files and annotating them on an iPad. I like the way iAnnotate supports signatures, which can be handy when you need to sign a document, but I don’t like the fact that it doesn’t handle double column PDFs for annotations well. Here is an example.

I am reading the report “Citizens Blindsided: Secret Corporate Money in the 2010 Elections and America’s New Shadow Democracy” from People for the American Way. When I try to highlight several lines in the document in iAnnotate, it erroneously highlights across the column. The highlights I made in the upper part of the document below had to be made line by line, even when the highlights were contiguous. The highlight at the bottom shows how iAnnotate handles this if you try and highlight more than one line at the same time in a two column PDF file.


Goodreader, on the other hand, permits multi-line highlighting on a two column PDF file just fine.


At this point, I like Goodreader better for iPad PDF reading, since I love (and perhaps “need”) to highlight articles like this.

Have you had good or bad experiences highlighting and annotating PDF files on an iPad? What’s your favorite app and why?

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


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  • Jennifer

    Hi Wes, I’ve fallen in love with Noterize. I’m using it to read and take notes on online course materials on my iPad. It can highlight in different colours, supports a pogo stick for hand writing, has sticky note feature, a voice recording feature so you can just speak your thoughts, and a set of yellow note pages at the end of the document. Can’t recommend enough. It’s also easy to get docs in there through Dropbox.

  • http://www.wesfryer.com Wesley Fryer

    Thanks Jennifer! Noterize is $2.99. That compares well with iAnnotate at $9.99. GoodReader is $1.99.

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  • Jordan

    I wasn’t aware of either of these two readers, so I just wanted to say thanks for such a detailed comparison of them. I’ve been looking for a good pdf reader and the ability to highlight is awesome. Thanks!

  • http://middleschoolmatters.com Troy Patterson

    Thanks for the review. I’ve used GoodReader and have been quite happy with it. You can highlight in multiple colors, make notes, draw directly on the pdf, and more. The sharing is good too. You can save via dropbox. I really like that the markups transfers in the file. I know that Todd Williamson uses Noterize. I would love to see a full scale comparison between Noterize and GoodReader. Both seem to have a lot of useful features.

  • Stéph

    GoodReader gets the best reviews on most of the sites I’ve found. On the strength of that, I bought a copy. Of the apps I tried, it’s easily the fastest at rendering a large, complex A3 drawing (though still much slower than a PC). Annotation functions are great and it’s got some good file management built-in.
    I haven’t tried iAnnotate.

  • Stéph

    GoodReader gets the best reviews on most of the sites I’ve found. On the strength of that, I bought a copy. Of the apps I tried, it’s easily the fastest at rendering a large, complex A3 drawing (though still much slower than a PC). Annotation functions are great and it’s got some good file management built-in.
    I haven’t tried iAnnotate.

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