Liquid Text for PDF reading/annotation - any users

I was looking at Liquid Text as a new option for reading PDFs on my iPad. The website looks intriguing.

The app is free, but requires in-app purchase to unlock all of its features. Irritatingly, I cannot find information on the cost of the in-app purchase.

Any users? I generally read PDFs in GoodReader, sometimes imported into GoodNotes, and sometimes in PDFPen, but I am always looking for the most convenient software.

Is Liquid Text worth investing in, both in terms of time and potentially money if the in-app purchases unlock features that are truly worth having?


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I have LiquidText and I use it quite a bit when reading technical documents. I like the way it allows me to take notes alongside a document (rather than annotating on top of it).

The in-app purchase unlocks some Apple Pencil specific features and the ability to work with multiple documents at the same time. When I bought it last year it was $9.99. The app was pretty fully functional without the additional purchase. I’d encourage you to download it and give it a try to see if it fits your needs.

I appreciate the idea and bought the IAP, and used it for all the readings for a graduate seminar I was teaching. But even on a 10.5 ipad pro the UI feels cramped, & the lack of a Mac app is a disincentive to using it for annotations that I will need in the long term.

But you should definitely give it a try without IAP if only to see how cool the underlying annotation system is. It feels groundbreaking at first.

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I should note that I use it on a 12.9" iPad Pro. The UI seems fine at this size, but I can see how it would feel cramped on a smaller screen. Even on a 12.9 this is not an app that I would want use much in Split View.

I have pretty much the same experience as @ChrisUpchurch - I find it works well on my 12.9. I only use it when I need to read, annotate and analyze long and complex documents (contracts, RFPs etc.) but for this type of work, it is spectacular.

You should be able to hit the Buy In-app link. You will get an Appstore dialog asking for confirmation of the purchase. Here you will see the current price and have the option to accept or decline the offer.


Thanks everyone.

I will give it a try. I have both a 9.5 and a 12.9 inch iPad Pro…it would be nice to use it on both, but perhaps reading without annotation will work well on the smaller iPad and with annotation on the larger.

I used to use LiquidText. But I suggest you take a look at MarginNote 3. It’s a good time to try it because they just upgraded to MarginNote 3 which was a new purchase. It seems to be focused at students, but I find it extremely powerful for creating highlights, creating notes from highlights, and even combining notes from across multiple PDFs. I have not tried the study cards feature yet, but that would be a very focused way to review your notes.

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Thanks. That looks interesting as well. Will have to experiment with both I think before deciding whether to upgrade for a purchase. MarginNotes also has a Mac version which would be very useful.

Liquidtext is great! What I use it most for is when I have multiple PDFs concerning one topic which I would like to summarize. You just drag the passages you need to the sidepane and do so with all documents (you can import several PDFs into one „file“). In the end you can export this summary to different formats (PDF, Word …). You can decide to keep a reference to the source file in this excerpt (ideal if extraxting quotes you want to use in a text).
You can also decide not to use the sidepane and highlight or annotate within the Pdf, just as usual. You can then collapse the document to show only the highlighted sections.

Another happy user of Liquidtext. It really is a great way to markup documents for your own use. The ability to export just the highlights as a word document is another hidden gem. The support for Webdav also is a plus - it happily talks to Citrix Sharefile so I can swap files with my work PC.

I am currently running it on a 1st generation iPad mini. I will say this is the one program I use on my mini where I really would like a bigger screen.


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Comprehensive overview/review posted the other day over at MacDrifter:

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I have it but haven’t tried it yet since it doesn’t have a left-handed mode when I bought it and was dismayed. It’s usable but annoying to use when you are a lefty. I just recently saw that it now has a left-handed mode so will try it out if it will fit my workflow. It seems something that I would love to use since I like to annotate on my iPad and wanted the ability to take down notes on a separate document alongside the PDF.

A left hand mode was my first and only feature request to the developer years back. A bit surprised it took them this long, as this must be important for a lot of users. The feature was released within the last few days, as far as I understand.

I have had good use of Liquid Text anyway, as the Note panel shows up at the bottom in portrait mode. Not optimal, but also not unusable for me.

What do you guys use more: the highlighting and reducing feature or the extract feature? Or something else?

Yeah same request with Adobe Lightroom back then until I cancelled my subscription because of lack of left-handed mode on the iPad. They added it after a few months of canceling but I’m enjoying Affinity Photo by then. I don’t get why left-handed mode on the iPad isn’t always part of developers roadmap especially when using Apple Pencil is involved.

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I use a combination of the features – but use it almost exclusively for long-form PDFs.

This being said, one of the key-features for me, remains the multi-PDF view. The ability to be able to drop extracted-highlights of text from PDF-2, PDF-3 and PDF-4, onto the note-panel of PDF-1 – and then to be taken back into PDFs2-4 from the note-panel of PDF-1, is incredibly useful.

I frequently need to highlight lengthy pieces of legislation/statute – and depending on the jurisdiction, I might be sitting with the “master” piece of legislation, that has been heavily amended by new legislation. Using the multi-view, means I can highlight the text that has been changed, and then draw in the text from the new legislation onto the note-panel of the original legislation. Given that these all serve as “live-links” to the new legislation, it becomes very easy to review the former/existing text, as against the changes introduced by the new text.

No other app really comes close to how easy/well LiquidText handles that aspect of things!

One other feature, is the highlighter “summary” view. To be able to tap a button, and have all the other text contract, to only show a continuous view of all the text that has been highlighted, was something I didn’t know I needed until I used it!

Whilst I appreciate the effort/care they have gone to in setting up the various Exporting options – this remains my only sore-point, in that over on the Mac/wherever else I am ‘viewing/consuming’ my PDFs, doesn’t allow one to experience it as it is on the iPad. This sees me be fairly selective about what I use LT for (in terms of which PDFs go into it), as opposed to making it my ‘general/overall’ PDF annotator.

My one major wishlist item, is that they expand the highlighting quick-select options to 7 choices, as opposed to the current 5. But I realise I am an outlier in this regard, and manage well-enough with how things are now.


Interesting, I never thought about that multi-PDF approach, will think of ways this could be useful for me.
I use the „extract“ feature mostly, making a short .doc out of the most important snippets of the pdf, which I can then put into my notes (usually a Scrivener project concerning a story/novel/blogpost).

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It feels cramped on 12.9… :slight_smile:
Actually it really does.

One weakness for me is Notes Export.

I want plain text. A fortiori Markdown.


FYI they’re giving a sneak peek video of the (Catalyst?) Mac version, coming soon to beta: