iPhone PDF annotation -> I Love (Heart) GoodReader

Just a little Garfunkel and Oates joke to start off the post.

GoodReader is only $5 and does a bunch of stuff that brings me iPod Touch joy (this list is just the stuff that I care about)

  • It does proper PDF annotation (notes, bookmarks, typewriter tool, drawing) that is written to PDF so that when you access the file on another computer, the annotations are still there. This managed to greatly reduce my need to get an iPad or something similar for reading journal articles and the like.
  • You can upload/download/sync files with your dropbox, sugarsync and googledocs accounts. And you can do this for entire folders instead of tedious old one file at a time.
  • It remembers where you were an the zoom level in a PDF when you close the program so when you come back you are right where you left (like any good reading program should, but not all do).
  • Has a folder structure of your uploaded (to your iPhone) files that you can manipulate (move files around, make new folders, etc).

One thing that I would like, that it does not currently feature, is some sort of  “two-column pdf” reading function. Most journal articles I deal with have two columns on each page so when you tap to advance you would typically like to go from top-left to bottom-left in tap steps, tap to jump to top-right and then go to bottom-right in tap steps. Any reader I have encountered only goes horizontally (when zoomed in beyond the page size like in comics) when tapped and then has a carriage-return type of motion when it gets to the horizontal edge of the page.

Goodreader also displays all the standard M$ office files, and if I understand correctly also plays music, videos and displays pictures. There is probably other stuff as well, but what I really wanted was a good PDF annotator and it works well for me.

I was using Aji Annotate before (same price) and the PDF annotations were not written directly to the pdf, and getting files into that program was a hassle. Yay GoodReader!

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2 Comments on “iPhone PDF annotation -> I Love (Heart) GoodReader”

  1. Would it work to annotate student’s papers? I would tend to circle things and put in cryptic marks that I would later screencast explanations for. It’s too early to rewrite that last sentence and not end a preposition with.

  2. Joss Ives says:

    Don’t worry Andy, this is a safe place for unsafe grammar.

    GoodReader has highlighting and drawing (circles, squares, freehand) tools. You can insert notes (similar to comments in Word) or use a type-writer tool to simply write words directly on the page. So it should meet your needs pretty well. All the annotations can be edited at a later point as well, which is something that I use on my regular computer. You can go in and expand on points that you made and then hand back the annotated PDF.


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