Best PDF annotation app in the Windows Store?

Discussion in 'Windows 8' started by JoeS, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    This thread lists Windows 8 and Windows 10 PDF annotation apps (Modern UI aka Metro UI) with pen / stylus support.

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    Recommended: Drawboard PDF, Drawboard ($10, trial available) - link - Rating 3.7 / 5
    Pen, freeform highlighter, word highlighter, stroke eraser, 40 pen colors, 20 line widths, undo/redo, radial menu, insert blank pages, create new PDF, insert shapes, insert image, insert camera snapshot. Annotation history pane. Tab support. Continuous scroll. Simultaneous pen and touch (no tool switch needed), option for drawing with finger/capacitive stylus. Pressure sensitive ink. Paid add-ons like ruled paper etc.
    You can now leave feature suggestions on Drawboard's UserVoice page.

    Xodo Docs, Xodo (free) - link - Rating 4.2 / 5
    Offers ink, notes, text, signature, shapes. Simultaneous pen and touch (no need to switch). Recognizes the Surface Pro pen eraser. Only three pen colors (red, blue, black), not customizable. Still, good product for the price!

    MetaMoji Note ($12, free lite version) - link - Rating 3.2 / 5
    General note taking app, but can also be set as the default tool for PDF import and annotation. Simultaneous pen and two-finger touch, but not pen plus single finger touch (touch also draws). Only two pen colors (black and red). Lasso select. Tab support. Recognizes eraser on surface pen.

    Reader, Microsoft (free) - link - Rating 3.9 / 5
    One black pen with fixed width, yellow text highlight with cursor (tap text to show selection handles). Some issues: doesn't recognize transparent ink from PDF Annotator (and others?), sometimes loses annotations after app switching, blocky ink pre-rendering at high zoom levels. No pressure sensitivity. Tab support.

    Foxit Mobile PDF for Win8, Foxit (free) - link - Rating 4.8 / 5
    Eight pen colors, four transparency settings, six line widths. Manual switch between inking and panning mode. Can only change pen color by tapping an annotation, and selecting 'property'. After that, new annotations are in the new color. Kind of clunky, but maybe I'm doing it wrong.

    Perfect PDF, soft Xpansion ($20) - link - Rating 3.0 / 5
    Looks relatively full-featured, but tools are hard to get to. Example: supports pen markup under context > tools > ink + shapes > pencil. That's a long way to go for every new annotation. On my quick try it popped up a menu after every single pen stroke, which makes natural writing impossible. Bug?

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    Please use your own judgment working with these apps - I cannot vouch for their reliability or security.
    After trying any new app, please leave a review in the Windows Store so us 'serious inkers' are heard.


    If the apps above don't cut it, consider the following non-metro alternatives:

    PDF Annotator is a good option for those who do not mind using traditional Windows software. Customizable toolbars with multiple pressure sensitive pens, freeform highlighters, text markup tools, etc. Drawbacks: slow scrolling performance on Atom, you need to manually switch from ink to panning or pan by touching outside the page area (edit: fixed in version 5), and relatively expensive ($70, or $40 for students, free trial available). Panning is not very smooth on an Atom slate, but it works.

    PDF Revu 12 is a more expensive choice ($220/$110 educational, free trial available), but it's really very good even in Win8/Win10. Touch panning and pen annotation without switching tools, relatively smooth panning, tons of options, pressure sensitive ink as well. Works surprisingly well on a 2nd gen Atom slate; I tried this way back on a Samsung Ativ 500T. No touch fling though on my system (page doesn't coast / immediately stops scrolling on release).
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
    hendryjl, luluxry, leaftye and 2 others like this.
  2. jhoff80

    jhoff80 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    For what it's worth, you can highlight text in Reader with the cursor.
     
  3. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    Thanks, I hadn't noticed. I'm amazed how limited the reader app is given how much of a selling point smooth annotation would be. Here's to hoping that a lot better is in the works behind the scenes.
     
  4. jhoff80

    jhoff80 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I agree, it really just needs a tiny bit more pen support and it'd be perfect.
     
  5. Seketh

    Seketh Moderator Moderator

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    From Windows Phone experience, Microsoft generic apps like the Reader are always basic. Probably intentional to stimulate third-party alternatives.

    I'm sure we'll be seeing lots of PDF annotation apps, most will be paid though.
     
  6. testplayer

    testplayer Scribbler - Standard Member

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    It seems that windows reader is still the ONLY app that can recognize BOTH inking and touch (pinch/zoom) at the same time (without switching the navigation mode from inking/pen to pan/selection). In Bluebeam PDF Revu/PDF annotator, in the pen/inking mode, if you touch the screen, it will be recognized as ink :(, then you have to switch to pan/selection mode to pinch/zoom, but you will lose inking. They just can't make writing directly on a PDF like a real paper, i.e., just like in OneNote, only micro$oft knows exactly what we want...:(
     
  7. dceggert

    dceggert Owner of a TabletPC Museum Senior Member

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    I am a bit confused at your scope; are you limiting your PDF markup scope to just 'apps' for the Metro interface? I am not sure a pen will be usable on the RT version (except the capacitive sausage type) so to get the full benefit of review and markup the non-RT versions would be better and those come with not only a digitizer but also a desktop mode. If you consider expanding the scope to the desktop as well that opens the door to quite a bit of good stuff without all the limitations of the non-multitasking apps. Just wondering...
     
  8. jhoff80

    jhoff80 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    There aren't any products that utilize one announced yet, but there's SDK documentation that seems to imply that pen support (or at least the APIs to query the pen hardware) is available for Windows RT if a manufacturer decides to use it.

    I can't find the link as of right now though.

    Edit: Here we go:

    System Requirements

    Edit2:
    Also, the Device Digitizer information:
    Device.Digitizer
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  9. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    @dceggert: I was thinking of limiting this to software that can be downloaded directly through the Win8 app store, so that leaves out things like PDF Annotator and PDF Revu. I'm hoping some of the iPad players will come on board (PDF Expert, iAnnotate, etc) but so far it's pretty limited.
     
  10. testplayer

    testplayer Scribbler - Standard Member

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    It seems that the wacom official driver (7.0.9-5) is not compatible with windows reader: I couldn't get pressure sensitivity, and if I click the right click button, it will be recognized as one point of inking. The third button, which I set to open the wacom pop-up menu, doesn't work in the reader, however, if I close the reader, the pop-up menu is actually shown on the desktop. Hopefully wacom will update a really working driver after Windows 8 becomes general available on Oct 26.

    Update: I still cannot get pressure sensitivity, even after uninstall the wacom official driver. Does anyone have the same problem? I'm using samsung s7s and windows 8 enterprise RTM.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
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