[Athen] Annotating & highlighting PDFs on an iPad

Pratik Patel pratikp1 at gmail.com
Thu Apr 8 02:14:29 PDT 2010

Hello Shelley,

One of the most popular PDF reading apps on the iPad appears to be
Goodreads. I jsut downloaded it last night and just started to play with
it. You may want to explore it as well. From the description, it appears
that Goodreads probably doesn't do the highlights.


-----Original Message-----
From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On
Behalf Of Shelley Haven
Sent: Thursday, April 08, 2010 5:02 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
Subject: [Athen] Annotating & highlighting PDFs on an iPad

I apologize for all the iPad-centric posts lately, but the more I explore
this thing, the more possibilities I see for the LD students with whom I

I came across an amazing app this evening called iAnnotate PDF; think of it
as Kurzweil's study tools on an iPad. You download text PDF files to the
iPad through a simple desktop interface (Mac or Windows). Open the file,
zoom in or out to the desired magnification, then highlight text in
different colors by simply dragging your finger across the text. You can
also underline text, strike-through, make freehand (free-finger?)
annotations with a pencil tool, bookmark, and add different color text notes
which can be pinned anywhere on the page. If the PDF is tagged properly,
the app will also generate an outline for easier navigation. Marked-up
files can then be uploaded back to the computer. In the next version (due
shortly), text-only summaries of just the annotations can be extracted and
sent to the user via e-mail.

Here's a description of iAnnotate PDF, plus a video demo of it in action:

I had great fun leisurely highlighting and annotating text with the Pogo
Stylus (http://tenonedesign.com/stylus.php) which duplicates the capacitance
of human skin -- much more natural than trying to highlight with my
fingertip. The developer has a forum where people can post feature
requests. Several wanted a dictionary function; I "fourthed" that motion
for that, and also requested VoiceOver access of the text since Apple now
allows developers to use VO in their apps.

Judging from the forum posts and reviews, many of the users (on both iPad
and iPhone) are grad students in medical or law school who need to read and
study a ton of text. Obviously, this has application in the K-12 arena as
well, perhaps for teachers to mark-up PDFs for students to provide a guided
reading experience.

Anyway, just thought some of you might see value in this.

- Shelley

Shelley Haven ATP, RET
Assistive Technology Consultant

Athen mailing list
Athen at athenpro.org

More information about the athen-list mailing list