Dan Gallagher takes a look at Easy Annotate, an innovative PDF annotation app for iPad.
Easy Annotate is an app for the iPad designed to do just what it says — allow the user to easily annotate PDFs. But what makes this app stand out from other PDF annotating apps is the ability to have two PDFs opened at the same time.
By turning the iPad to landscape view, one PDF is viewed on the left and one on the right, and both can be annotated.
The first time you open Easy Annotate an interactive user guide is displayed. The old mantra, ‘Learn by Doing’, comes into play. You do need to give it your time and attention. The guide comes in at 19 pages of very useful and important techniques to get you acquainted with the app.
There’s much to like
First, having the ability to have two PDFs open and viewable at the same time is unique. I have used many PDF annotating apps in the past and must agree with the creators of Easy Annotate:
[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”100%” height=”” background_color=”#e1e1e1″ border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]There are many PDF annotation apps, so why yet another one? Because we needed it ourselves! We do quite a lot of research and used many apps. However often we had one PDF with material and one with references. And there was NOT EVEN ONE (!) app that could display these two side-by-side. Thus, we decided to make one ourselves! So here it is: The only app that can annotate PDFs side-by-side. And while we were at, we decided to make it possible to link PDFs. And we kept it all as easy as possible. [/dropshadowbox]
Another feature I like is the ability to link to other PDFs. By simply highlighting text in one PDF and choosing “Link…” then highlighting text in the other PDF and selecting “Match link” the two will be connected. At any time you can touch your linked text and the other PDF will open up to the particular page with the matching link. I have never seen that ability in any other PDF apps.
As with any app, a user can find something ‘missing’. For Easy Annotate, I found one item that I hope is expanded on in the future. Currently, the app integrates with Dropbox for retrieval and storing of PDFs but there is no way of linking your Google Drive, Box, or any other cloud storage service you may use. You do, however, have the ability to open your cloud storage app and select “Open in Easy Annotate” then export the PDF back to that service.
Impact in the Classroom
As a former teacher I see this app being a huge benefit to any classroom going paperless. A teacher can now have PDFs of worksheets and literary or informational pieces which the students can view and annotate at the same time. Citation and providing evidence are skills which can be reinforced through the linking ability. Just imagine a student reading a chapter of a story and answering a question. They can then link their answer directly to the portion of the text where they derived it. During review, the student can simply touch their response and the corresponding text appears.
Of all the PDF annotators I have downloaded and used, this is by far the most powerful. I enjoy having the ability to view two PDFs at the same time, annotate, and even link. At $4.99, Easy Annotate will change the way you work with PDFs.