APR 9 2013

Annotation of a Document on the Apple iPad

by in OfficeApps, Practice Leave a comment


Imagine, you have all your important documents ready to hand without having to print anything or always access the latest version of the relevant documents in your meetings. These are some scenarios that can work easily with an appropriate document management system and a suitable tablet. In addition, you would like to make some notes on the document, which means to annotate it.

In this article I deal with these use cases by analyzing apps that are able to annotate documents and save them into the cloud or into the ECM-system.

The blog will be published in three parts and structured as follows: In part one I outline the annotation apps on the Apple iPad,  part two is about applying annotations on the Samsung Galaxy Tab and part 3 on Windows Surface RT.

An app which is able to annotate documents should support at least following functions:

  • Document download and upload: preferably support for standard interfaces like WebDAV.
  • Add annotations to the pdf file
  • Text-highlighting (underline, mark,…)
  • Simple to use
- Fabasoft Folio Cloud
- Fabasoft eGov-Suite 2012
- Fabasoft eGov-Suite 2013
- iAnnotate
- GoodReader
- Notability
- pdf-notes
- Adobe Reader
- GoodNotes


An overview of the test documentation

iAnnotate PDF GoodReader Notability pdf-notes GoodNotes Adobe Reader
Provider Branchfire,Inc. Yuri Selukoff  Ginger Labs AMuseTec Co., Ltd. Time Base Technology Ltd. Adobe Systems Inc.
WebDAV available yes yes yes no no no
Amount of WebDAV-drives any any 1 - - -
Path to configure  WebDAV-Connection 1. Library
2. Manage Connections
3. Setup New Connection
4. WebDAV
5. Define parameters
6. Save
1.Connect to Server
2. Add
3. WebDAV Server
4. Define parameters
5. Add
1. Gear
2. Choose “Cloud-Services”
3. Go to WebDAV
4. Define parameters
5. Save
 -  -  -
Path to make annotations 1. Go to Library
2. Choose Fabasoft eGov-Suite
3. Choose a file and open it
–> possible to annotate the file with different tools
1.Go to „Connect to Server“
2. Choose file
3. Go to download
4. Go to „Download file here“
5. Open file
–> possible to annotate the file with different tools
1. Import
2. WebDAV
3. Choose PDF
4. Choose “Create new note”
5. Choose section and press OK
6. Import PDF
–> Make your annotations
- - -
Features of annotations Mark, write, Use the whole colour scheme, cross out, paint, deleting annotations,… Mark, write, Use the whole colour scheme, cross out, paint, deleting annotations,… Insert text, mark, defined colours available  -  -  -
Supported file types PDF PDF
PDF  -  -  -
Saving into Cloud/ECM 1. Click on the Sync-Button
2. Upload Changes
1. Manage Files
2. Mark file
3. Go to “Upload”
4. Once again go to upload
5. Answer dialog „File already exists“ with overwrite
1. Choose target
2. WebDAV
3. Send via WebDAV
 -  -  -
Multi-Document-Editing yes yes no  -  -  -
GUI ++ (very intuitive) - (Handling of the app is a bit bumpy, e.g. saving into Cloud/ECM) - (long navigation path to the annotation operation) - - -
Languages English English German, English - - -
Comments When saving the PDF file in the cloud the content was destroyed partially. WebDAV is not supported
–> no detailled analysis executed.
WebDAV is not supported
–> no detailled analysis executed.
WebDAV is not supported
–> no detailled analysis executed.

* TXT-support is limited: ANSI-coded text doesn’t work, only UTF-8-files. Line breaks in the text are not saved after editing the text with the app.

Screenshot of saving the annotated pdf with the app “iAnnotate”


Unfortunately the WebDAV-connection to an ECM-system only works in 3 of 6 tested apps. The app “notability” has indeed provided the function, however it has sometimes destroyed the annotated PDF files while saving. Therefore the apps iAnnotate and GoodReader are the only one which worked well.

iAnnotate is a very intuitive app. Because of the open WebDAV interface there is a connection to all cloud services and ECM systems available that support WebDAV. With Good Reader all use cases can be carried out successfully but the operation is a bit bumpy because you need for all a lot of steps to reach the goal.

As soon as you get used to the convenient PDFs, which you can annotate anytime, you don’t want to miss it anymore. That’s why the college block should be only a historical thing. Because notes on the way can be inserted directly into the documents and saved directly on the server and therefore can no longer get lost.


iAnnotate: http://www.branchfire.com/iannotate/

GoodReader: http://www.goodiware.com/goodreader.html

Notability: http://www.gingerlabs.com/cont/notability.php

pdf-notes: http://blog.pdf-notes.com/

GoodNotes: http://www.goodnotesapp.com/

Adobe Reader: http://www.adobe.com/

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Related posts:

  1. Office-Apps on the iPad: Fit for ECM or just a toy?
  2. Editing documents on tablets – a simple exercise or simply impossible?

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