If you’ve read our iPad Interface and Court Records post, you know that every document our office handles eventually ends up in PDF form. That post generated so much traffic to our site we went over our bandwidth limit for the month twice. We really appreciate all of the responses and encouragement. Based on the iPad court records post, I was contacted by Geoff from Aji, the developers of many great iPhone/iPod/iPad apps. One such app is iAnnotate, and I couldn’t be happier with it. iAnnotate is a PDF reader/editor, better described by Aji:
iAnnotate is both an elegant PDF reader and a powerful annotation tool that finally lets you work with your PDFs. You can open documents from email, sign and send out contracts fast, enter notes for edits, sketch diagrams, copy text, and add highlights or underline with the drag of a finger!
Aji has a great overview with some “how to” material available on Youtube HERE.
I’ve been using iAnnotate for about a week now, and it has improved my iPad workflow. There really is no other app like it anywhere in the app store. While I’m not going to do an intensive review, I am going to show you how I’ve been using iAnnotate in the real world, especially when I really needed it in an important case recently.
Since iTunes now supports two way file transfers, that’s the method I’ve been using to place most of my PDF files in the iAnnotate app. You can also import them from your DropBox, GoodReader, mail, etc…. accounts by the simple “open in” feature. I have not tried Aji’s PDF reader service, so I cannot comment on its functionality, but below is a sample from my DropBox account.
Once opened in iAnnotate, you are ready to edit and mark up your PDF. You can open multiple PDF files and sort through them in convenient tabs that show up across the top of the app itself. Note the tabs at the top of the app in the screen shots below. Imported documents show up in your iAnnotate library.
Notice I was reading the “How to become a paperless master” PDF. Excellent reading if you are interested, written by Ernest Svenson, aka “Ernie the Attorney”. Check Ernie out HERE and HERE. His “Paperless Master” document is HERE.
There are plenty of options present to annotate/mark up your PDF. The day after Aji sent me the app, I used it in Court in a hearing on a Capital Murder case. The Edwards case is the pictures is the actual document I used.
I opened it in iAnnotate, quickly used the highlighter option along with the bookmark option and created a concise outline of what I wanted to argue and the points I wanted to make, all organized in bookmark form. When I was finished, I emailed the PDF to myself and uploaded it to the proper case file, notes and markings intact.
The screen shots below are self explanatory for the most part, so I won’t comment much on them.
Tap the note icon in the toolbar to easily add a note. Notes also transfer to your final PDF should you chose to use it off the device.
Sharing your work is easy, you can email it, upload it through iTunes, or even “open in” you PDF viewer of choice on the iPad. I could not get the annotations I made to show up when opening the PDF in GoodReader, though.
The toolbars are highly customizable, and have a lot of different options, such as location, opacity, etc….
Midway through writing this review, the good folks at Aji updated iAnnotate, and now there is an email icon on the top bar, instead of buried in the menu. Excellent update, shown in the shot below.
iAnnotate has some really useful features built in, for example, when you email a PDF file, you can choose to send a summary of your annotations with it. I found this very useful, you get a summary of your main points in the PDF, as well as the ability to copy and paste the text in a different document.
As you can see below, the annotated PDF appears perfectly when opened on your computer. I could not get the bookmarks I made in iAnnotate to show up in the bookmarks feature of Acrobat, however.
iAnnotate is a must have app if you work with PDF files. There is no other app that comes close to it in terms of PDF productivity. I’ve been using it everyday. The user interface is very easy to use, the menus are intuitive and highly customizable, and it seems very stable. One feature I would like to see added is a redaction tool for easily removing information from PDF files, but other than that I have no gripes. If you are looking for a solid way to edit PDF files on your iPad, give it a try.