I have already reviewed a couple of useful PDF applications, including Apple’s Preview and iOS apps iAnnotate and iBooks, but there’s always room for other PDF apps that offer a different approach to annotating and managing PDFs. The newest app in this genre is Easy Annotate ($5.99; $2.99 during launch offer).
When it comes to PDF apps, I consider (among other things) how easy it is to import documents into the app, how many taps it takes to access and use annotation tools, and what features are included for reviewing annotations. It’s time to see how Easy Annotate keeps up with the competition.
Similar to other PDF apps, documents can be imported into Easy Annotate via iTunes File Sharing, Dropbox or the mobile Safari app. All added documents can be found in the app’s library.
To import from iTunes, select your iPad in iTunes, click on the Apps tab and scroll down to File Sharing. Click on Easy Annotate in the list of apps and then drag and drop documents you want to export to the app.
To import from Dropbox, allow Easy Annotate to connect to your Dropbox account, and from there you can import documents from your cloud directory. By default Easy Annotate doesn’t make a copy of documents you import, but you can copy documents to the local directory so they can be annotated independently.
To import from Safari, download a PDF in the mobile web browser, tap anywhere on the page, and then tap on Open In… From there select Easy Annotate to have the document exported to the Easy Annotate library.
Documents in Easy Annotate can be sent to a printer, exported to Dropbox or email, or opened in another supporting iOS app. Each of the exports, except to Dropbox, allows you to export the entire document or just selected pages, and you can choose to embed annotations so they remain editable in other PDF applications, flatten the document whereby annotations can’t be manipulated, or export and ignore the annotations altogether. It would be useful if the annotations – especially highlights – could be reviewed outside the document itself, as per rival app iAnnotate.
In addition to the regular marking tools, Easy Annotate also includes a feature for creating links between documents and pages in the app library and also opening documents side-by-side.
As for annotating text, Easy Annotate includes what I would refer to as “annotate mode”. Tap on the pen and paper button in the toolbar and then select the annotation tool you want to use. When a tool is enabled, you can keep applying it repeatedly without needing to re-tap buttons every time you want to annotate.
While in annotation mode you can still navigate pages by tapping on the arrows in the toolbar or by swiping with two fingers. You will have to tap the annotation button again to change tools. If you prefer not to use the annotation button approach, you can simply select text and choose your tools from the pop-up menu. The annotation tools allow you to change the highlight and pen colors, adjust the opacity of the markings, and copy text and drawings you make.
Create Document Links
To create document links between documents you will need to open both documents side by side, which is done with the iPad in landscape orientation. Select the text you want to link, and then tap on Link in the pop-up menu.
In the other document, select a section of text and tap Match link. The linked text will be highlighted in an orange box, and the first link will be highlighted in blue. This feature is useful for quickly linking to and opening up related documents in the library.
Great Study Tool
The unique features of Easy Annotate make the app very useful for study purposes. Documents can also be searched, managed into local folders, and there are buttons in the toolbar for undoing and redoing actions in the app. The tools in Easy Annotate may not be as expansive as the ones in iAnnotate, but the side-by-side document feature may be useful for many users.
Download: Easy Annotate ($5.99)
Let us know what you think of Easy Annotate and what features you would like to see added.