As I approach a significant academic milestone this semester with the completion of my dissertation and PhD, I thought I’d share a very handy iPad application I’ve been using to annotate, correct and edit PDF versions of my own writing recently: iAnnotate PDF.

Document editing on an iPad with iAnnotate PDF

iAnnotate PDF is $10 on iTunes, but it’s worth every penny. I generally use my free Dropbox account to upload PDF versions of documents to “the cloud,” then download them to my iPad with the free Dropbox iPad app to open them first in DropBox. Then I open the file in iAnnotate PDF. Just click the arrow icon in the upper right corner, and after it’s installed iAnnotate PDF should appear as a destination app option.

Open PDF from Dropbox

I love how iAnnotate PDF supports highlighting, adding notes to pages, and also freehand writing. My writing would look neater if I used an iOS stylus, but today I was just making notes for myself so neatness didn’t matter as much.

Goodreader is another iPad app I’ve used for annotation, but iAnnotate PDF is my favorite since it lets you save notes and annotations you add into a new PDF file you can share with others. Last March when we were closing on our home in Oklahoma City, I was in an Alabama airport and needed to sign a PDF document for our realtor. I had my iPad and iAnnotate PDF, so it wasn’t a problem!

I like to convert my Word files to PDF format when I proof them on my iPad. At this point, iAnnotate PDF is my favorite app for these digital editing tasks. If you’re an iPad user, definitely check it out!

Variety of editing and annotation options in iAnnotate PDF

You have another iPad app you prefer for digital annotations? Please share about it in the comments!

All our family’s iOS applications are linked in my Appolicious account library.

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  • http://twitter.com/TroyMc Troy McConaghy

    Note Taker HD is another app that can be used to add annotations to PDFs, among other things. It was created by Dan Bricklin, who is also known for creating VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet program for personal computers (in 1979). Note Taker HD link:  http://www.notetakerhd.com/ 

  • Fogleman2

    Thanks for your post. What do you use on your iPad to convert Word docs to PDFs?

  • MrKeenan

    I use PDF Expert. It maintains nearly the same feature set as iannotate, but has AMAZING integration with almost any network or storage system you can think of, you can even do a browser file transfer from your laptop. I used iAnnotate for some time, but for all my research papers and marking now, it is PDF Expert!

  • Angie S.

    I use GoodReader for iPad app (I think, $4.99) to annotate PDF files, but have also used neu.Annotate PDF which is free. Both have most of the same capabilities that you mention in your article although given the price difference I’m sure lack some of the capabilities of the one you mention. I use the same method to transfer files to these apps that you use, Dropbox to the iPad to the app. Sometimes I’ve even used iTunes file sharing to get the file into the app. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://wfryer.wpengine.com Wesley Fryer

    I convert the Word file to PDF on my Mac using the default PDF creation option in the print dialog window. I haven’t converted files to different formats on my iPad. You could use a web service like Zamzar to do that, but I don’t know how you’d convert to PDF on the iPad.

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  • Ef0615

    I use PDF Notes Free, whose only limitation is the ads. Turning on airplane mode makes them go away, though. The program has good gestures to go from annotating to highlighting, a palm rest area, and allows typed-in notes.

  • Sarahparker

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Finally, I have found a recommendation for high quality annotation apps!  I am a second grade teacher/ life long reader with a reading masters and interest in how to help young people and teachers adapt our literacy instruction to include new tools to support literacy in the future.  Writing about reading as you are reading is a powerful comprehension strategy for a variety of learners.  We are doing this through reading notebooks in second grade.  But, I would love if my 14 year old were able to do this more as she interacts with text for her own learning.  Thanks for highlighting a tool I can try and integrate into my own learning and share with others.

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