Reading & Annotating PDFs on iPad

Yeah. I thought similarly. I don’t really need to access these on my Mac and when I do, pdf is just fine. I would have bought the companion Mac app, but it has pretty horrible reviews in the Mac App Store.

Thanks for this tip. I’ve been trying this app and I am really enjoying its simplicity and speed.

Hey all, so I just recently started a series of two classes. It’s fast paced and has one class for a week 9-5pm and then another from 9-5 next week. As such a ton of PDF’s. DevonThink has made organizing things pretty easy and initiative. In looking at PDF Expert, it seems to offer highlighting amongst also annotations/comments and markup ability. Given this, is Notability even needed then to write comments? Also for PDF Expert should I just create a folder within iCloud Drive for this course full of all the PDF’s?

If anyone is interested, I wrote about my workflow for doing this here (this is back when I had an iPad Air 2 and third party stylus, I now have an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, but it’s basically the same):

Are you taking your laptop in with you to the classes? As opposed to an iPad? If laptop only, then PDFExpert will do the job. Only major benefit of Notability, is the option to record the audio to sync with where you are taking notes.

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I’m using my iPad for PDF annotation and using my laptop. I need to reference the PDFs to write response papers @BradG

Great article, thanks for sharing. Given your area of academic specialty, I think you will enjoy the Righteous Mind, if you have not already read it. Here’s a brief bio on Jonathan Haidt. I found his book to be insightful and well researched.

His research focuses on morality - its emotional foundations, cultural variations, and developmental course. He began his career studying the negative moral emotions, such as disgust, shame, and vengeance, but then moved on to the understudied positive moral emotions, such as admiration, awe, and moral elevation. He is the co-developer of Moral Foundations theory, and of the research site He is a co-founder of, which advocates for viewpoint diversity in higher education. He uses his research to help people understand and respect the moral motives of their enemies (see, and see his TED talks). He is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom; The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion; and (with Greg Lukianoff) The Coddling of the American Mind: How good intentions and bad ideas are setting a generation up for failure. For more information see
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A few suggestions:

  • I dragged the “open externally” toolbar icon to my DevonThink toolbar. This will allow me to open PDFs in my default PDF app from DevonThink. As a longtime PDF expert user, I find this really helpful.

  • I use LiquidText on my iPad for some PDFs. It’s quite useful at times.

  • I haven’t taken enough time to figure out workflow so that I don’t end up with different versions on iPad and Mac. I’m still working on that.

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If you’re a keyboard shortcut fanatic like I am, the shortcut to open in external app is CMD-shift-O

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