IPad PDF Annotation: Productive Duo

Apr 30 2013 Published by under [Etc]

When I review manuscripts I just hate wasting reams of paper to print the article, especially when my iPad provides such an ideal reading environment. Unfortunately, annotating PDFs on that device has been less than ideal. Recently I discovered PDFpen, a wonderful app that lets me open PDFs stored in my Dropbox and highlight, scribble, and cross-out to my heart's content. I especially appreciated this easy use when I took on a dissertation; who wants to print out hundreds of pages?

I had one complaint about this system: text selection. Even my fairly small fingers had trouble selecting a word or line of text on the screen. I tried a number of styluses, none of which seemed to be more precise than my finger (although often less dirty).

Click to learn more.

This problem has been solved.

The Jot Pro stylus by Adonit looks like a super-fine-point pen with an extra plastic disk on the tip. That plastic tip keeps it from scratching your screen, but lets you select individual words or the spaces between letters with uncanny accuracy. One letter wrong in an email? This device can take you right there, rather than selecting the entire word and hoping the correct substitute comes up in the suggestion list.

The video below shows this critter in action. I am completely, irreversibly in love with my stylus already. It costs $29.99 online, a bit more than other devices. However, this one works exactly as I need.

Between PDFpen and my Jot Pro, the iPad is now the perfect way to review documents. I highly recommend both.

4 responses so far

  • AMW says:

    Thank you! I have been hemming and hawing over tablets for precisely this reason. Do you also have a decent note-taking app that you recommend? Reading/annotating papers and taking handwritten notes in seminars (without dragging in a laptop, and having them be searchable by title without trying to remember if I kept my scribbles from that seminar last month in the green notebook or the blue one?) are two things I've been longing to do on a tablet.

    • WhizBang says:

      I have tried several note apps, but none have wowed me yet. Sound note lets you record audio and write simultaneously. It's a battery and space hog, but definitely cool.

  • Pat says:

    Interesting ! I'm using Notability when I want to annotate PDFs (as well as for note-taking). However, I've been struggling with my cheap stylus...I will definitely try the one you are talking about !

  • WhizBang says:

    Damn! I forgot my cool stylus and I'm in withdrawal.

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