The Powerful Local Tool for iPhone and iPad Management

Posts tagged with "readdle"

Quick Review: Remarks

Readdle is today launching their latest iPad productivity app, Remarks. In some ways it is similar to their existing products such as ReaddleDocs or PDF Expert because it features full PDF annotation capabilities, but it is distinctly different because it is the first of their apps to really push the idea of handwriting and note taking as a core function. We’ve reviewed many of Readdle’s products before and by this stage it is clear to us that they make quality productivity software for iOS, so the real question I had when I downloaded this app was what exactly does it let you do and how might it fit into how I work.

What struck me almost instantly was that this app is clearly aimed at being a PDF creation tool, it isn’t like ReaddleDocs or PDF Expert which are more focused as being document management and PDF annotation apps. Remarks may have those same annotation tools but it wants you to create PDF documents, whether it be a handwritten note, drawing or diagram that you want to send to a colleague or perhaps a study note.

In its current form, PDF annotation may be useful but it’s a bit of a pain to get a PDF into Remarks, unlike PDF Expert and ReaddleDocs it doesn’t (yet) have support for cloud services such as Dropbox or SugarSync. Fortunately, this will only be a short-lived annoyance, Readdle plans to have an update ready within two weeks that adds support for cloud services.

Once you do get a PDF into Remarks, you won’t be disappointed - the same powerful annotation functionality that is in Readdle’s other apps is also available in Remarks. So you’ll get the tools to add text, draw shapes and write or draw in freehand on those PDFs, and as usual it is all editable in Preview on the Mac or any other PDF reader such as Adobe Acrobat.

I think for me, this app will come in handy when I need to take down study notes that also require diagrams or illustrations. Things that I can’t do in Evernote, which is very much a text focused note-taking app. In the past I have sketched them down in an exercise book and then for the most important ones I have subsequently drawn them up in Photoshop, OmniGraffle or OmniGraphSketcher, importing those into Evernote. Now I could just use Remarks to make an electronic copy of all my study notes, not just those that are in plain text. I’ll probably still use Photoshop or one of the Omni apps for some of my diagrams that are super important so they are a little neater - but its no longer a requirement.

Before I wrap up, I just wanted to make a quick mention of using a stylus with the iPad. The app does recommend using one and I must admit using a stylus in the context of drawing diagrams and general notes does make a lot of sense - using my finger wasn’t as effective as I had hoped and it soon got tiring. So I foresee myself picking up a stylus in the near future, to make sure I can take full advantage of what Remarks offers.

If you are just looking for an app to annotate PDF documents it might be a better idea to go for PDF Expert or ReaddleDocs. But if you want to do more freeform note-taking, drawing diagrams or creating your own simple PDFs, Remarks is the way to go. Remarks is available in the App Store for $4.99.

PDF Expert 3.2 Brings Full PDF Searching And Better Support For Bluetooth Keyboards

PDF Expert for iPad was updated last night to version 3.2, adding some nice new features to further improve the capabilities of the excellent PDF manager, viewer and annotation iPad app. The big new addition is full text search, allowing you to search through all your PDFs, rather than just their file names. I gave this new feature a quick try and whilst the initial indexing took a few minutes, I did have 535 files saved in PDF Expert. Furthermore, once it was indexed, subsequent searches worked virtually instantly.

A new sorting panel is also present in PDF Expert 3.2, now allowing you to reorder your files by name, date or modified date. If you use a Bluetooth keyboard with your iPad you can now use those “Tab” and arrow keys for faster data entry, particularly for PDF forms.

Readdle has also improved the Handwriting and Wrist Protection features in PDF Expert so they work better with less accidental annotation because you have rested your wrist on the iPad’s screen. Included in this is a new eraser tool for your handwriting, so if you do make a mistake it is now easy to erase just what you want. Finally, yesterday’s update included the use of data protection APIs, so all your PDFs are now stored securely inside the app.

PDF Expert for iPad is available for $9.99 on the App Store.

ReaddleDocs 3 Review: Powerful Document Viewer & File Manager For The iPad

ReaddleDocs 3, the latest version of the popular document viewer and file manager for the iPad was released a few days ago and it packs a bunch of new features and improvements. The app is a little odd in some ways, because at its core it is trying to recreate the file system on an iPad — something that Apple has tried its very best to stay away from with iOS. But in reality, if you’ve wanted to be productive on an iPad you’re inevitably going to need some sort of file system, because whilst iCloud is beginning to help with document and app sync, it isn’t all that helpful for syncing between apps.

As a result, I use a few other ‘cloud’ services to keep all my documents in sync and available everywhere. The primary one I use is SugarSync, but I also use Dropbox (primarily for collaboration) and occasionally Google Docs. This allows me to use any of the computers I have at home, where I will have all my documents ready and available - I can even edit them and see those edits synced across to the other computers where I could access that same file the next morning with all the edits included.

But how do I deal with documents on the iPad? It’s been a bit of a complicated issue since the iPad was first released, and initially I was just emailing any documents I needed on my iPad to myself and then opening that email up on the iPad - but this was messy, complicated and required advanced ‘knowledge’ to send that file before you could see it on the iPad. Eventually I realised I had to find a better way to solve this, and that’s where SugarSync and Dropbox come in. Both these services (and a multitude of others) slowly began to be supported by various apps for the iPad and iPhone, hooking straight into the services. This was a far better way to open files on the iPad - but the apps felt very rough around the edges.

In recent months I’ve been using iFiles on the iPad and iPhone, it’s been pretty great and it was certainly the best app I had used to date for viewing documents from my Dropbox folder and SugarSync services. Then about a month after I started using iFiles, I came across PDF Expert. Primarily I was using it for PDF annotation, but I noticed it was also a pretty great file viewer, particularly because it would also integrate right into Dropbox and SugarSync. So over the past few months I’ve been using PDF Expert for most of my document viewing needs and occasionally opening iFiles.

When looking at it simply, PDF Expert and ReaddleDocs 3 are nearly identical — they share very similar user interfaces and are close in functionality too. Where they differentiate is mainly in price (PDF Expert is nearly twice as much) and in annotation abilities (it is far better in PDF Expert). So before I go into too much detail, if you want to do a lot of PDF annotation on the iPad, PDF Expert is what you should purchase (even if you want to use it as a document viewer, because it is also good at that). In all other cases my recommendation is for ReaddleDocs 3, particularly if you want to do some file management - it is virtually identical and also has some annotation capabilities.

Jump the break to continue reading my review of ReaddleDocs 3.

Read more

PDF Expert 3.0: Redesigned UI, Page Manager

PDF Expert by Readdle is my favorite app to collect, read, and annotate PDF documents on the iPad, and thanks to a series of updates in the past months it’s also become a solid alternative to iBooks on the iPhone, not to mention support for signatures and text notes. With the major 3.0 update released today, free for existing iPad customers, Readdle has completely revamped the user interface of PDF Expert, adding a new toolbar for annotations, notes, drawing shapes on screen and highlighters, as well as a “page manager” to act on single pages within a document, copy them, export them, and move them with drag & drop.

The new toolbar in PDF Expert for iPad is easily dismissible with a tap on the “x” button, so you won’t have to look at it all the time while you’re reading a document. Similarly, a single tap on the edit icon in the upper toolbar (the one that contains navigation buttons, the new Recents menu, search, bookmarks, and sharing options) will display the annotation toolbar again. You can manually highlight text or use the automated tools for highlights, underlines and strikethroughs; you can add shapes, notes, your signatures, and choose from a variety of free-hand highlighters with different colors. Changes can be reverted at any time, and I haven’t noticed any visible slowdown when navigating annotated documents with hundreds of pages.

The new toolbar is clean and unobtrusive, but it gets better with the new Page Manager. With a tap on the pages button, you can switch to a bird’s eye view of all your document’s pages with live previews (that is, thumbnails include annotations and highlights). You can add a blank page between existing pages, select one and move it around – even select multiple ones, rearrange them, rotate them, email them, and extract them as a new document in PDF Expert’s main section. Live previews update fast on the iPad 2, and the “extract” function is undoubtedly useful if you need to focus on specific pages of a document.

PDF Expert 3.0 is a great update that improves both design and usability, whilst adding some other “little gems” you can check out in the app’s built-in update guide. PDF Expert for iPad is available at $9.99 on the App Store. Read more

PDF Expert Gets Even Better with Signature and Text Notes Support

PDF Expert is, in my opinion, the best PDF reader and annotation tool you can currently have on the iPad. It’s got a nice UI, a great engine that’s damn fast at opening large PDF files, it lets you pull documents from various online sources such as Dropbox and iDisk. It allows you to annotate documents and transfer them back to the Mac to view annotations in apps such as Acrobat Reader and DEVONthink. It’s a full featured app that, unlike many alternatives, doesn’t overwhelm you. Read more

PDF Expert: PDF Reader and Annotation Tool That Fits In My Workflow

As you may know, I try a lot of apps every week. Perhaps that is wrong, as one may be tempted to constantly jump between different softwares just for the sake of having something new to play with (like kids are always attracted by new toys), but I’m firmly convinced I’m doing this because there are hundreds of indie developers that don’t have the resources or the knowledge to virally promote their apps, yet they deserve attention.

That’s why I’m doing this. And thanks to this “method” (or habit), every once in a while I discover gems that redefine and refine my workflow. New apps that set new standards and raise an already high bar. It’s not easy. But it’s possible. Read more