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 PDF annotation apps (Modern UI aka Metro UI) with pen / stylus support.

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    Recommended: Drawboard PDF, Drawboard ($10, trial available) - link
    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. Autosave to protect against data loss. Tabbed document view. Regular app updates. Continuous scroll. Simultaneous pen and touch (no tool switch needed), option for drawing with finger/capacitive stylus.
    You can now leave feature suggestions on Drawboard's UserVoice page.

    Note Anytime, MetaMoji ($8, free lite version) - link
    Excellent general note taking app, but can also be set as the default tool for PDF import and annotation. It does NOT save back to the original PDF though, and there doesn't seem to be a PDF export option, only JPEG or Note Anytime format. Simultaneous pen and two-finger touch, but not pen plus single finger touch (touch also draws). Great sampling rate (smoooth ink). Radial menu with customizable pens. Lasso select, infinite (?) undo levels. Doesn't recognize hardware pen eraser. No continuous page view, but two finger swipe to next page works, and it offers a page thumbnail navigation bar that can stay on-screen, as well as a 'jump to page' button.

    Reader, Microsoft (free) - link
    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. Standout feature: tabbed document view.

    Foxit Mobile PDF for Win8, Foxit (free) - link
    Eight pen colors, four transparency settings, four line widths. Manual switch between inking and panning mode.

    PDFNotes, Omtinez (free) - link
    App description states it's a beta for now. Notes are not readable outside app for now.

    Xodo Docs, Xodo (free) - link
    Offers ink, notes, text, signature, shapes. No distinction between pen and touch, and need to activate 'edit' mode to ink, and no panning while inking. Does not recognize the Surface Pro pen eraser.

    PDF Touch, Suneet Shah ($3) - link
    Highlight and ink, five pen colors, sliders for width and opacity. Manual switch between touch and ink, no saved custom pens.

    Annotate101, KL Software ($5, trial available) - link
    Mentions digitizer based annotation, haven't tried it yet.

    Perfect PDF, soft Xpansion ($2.50, trial available) - link
    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 not on Windows RT. 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, and relatively expensive ($70, or $30 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 in Win8. Touch panning and pen annotation without switching tools, relatively smooth panning, tons of options, pressure sensitive ink as well. Works surprisingly well on an Atom slate (trying this with Ativ 500T). No touch fling though on my system (page doesn't coast / immediately stops scrolling on release).
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2014
  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 Scribbler - Standard Member Super 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 Moving 'up' from iPAQ 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
  11. testplayer

    testplayer Scribbler - Standard Member

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    @JoeS: Did you get pressure sensitivity in the windows 8 reader app? I've updated the reader app to the latest version (6.2.9200.20523), but I still can't get it. Are you using the wacom official driver? I can have pressure sensitivity in OneNote MX without the wacom driver though.
     
  12. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    No pressure sensitivity anymore in Reader using an X61t with RTM for me either. I did install a Wacom driver which killed touch calibration for me (could see touch response animation, but calibration utility wouldn't register taps), and I don't remember if pressure sensitivity worked. Then I reinstalled the Lenovo MT screen driver to get things working again, but as you say, no pressure sensitivity in Reader, while working fine in OneNote MX.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  13. testplayer

    testplayer Scribbler - Standard Member

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    But in the first post you did mention that it is pressure sensitive...... Did you get it long time before?
     
  14. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    I certainly don't have pressure sensitivity anymore, not sure when I lost it. I really think Reader had it, but by now it's sufficiently long ago that I can't say for sure. Anyone else? If I made it up, my apologies for the confusion! (edit: re-reading my first post, I'm sure I didn't make it up. I used to have pressure sensitivity in Reader, but no longer)
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  15. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    Added the new 'PDF Touch' to the list.
     
  16. jhoff80

    jhoff80 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Huh I hadn't seen that one yet, I'll have to check it out myself.
     
  17. jnjroach

    jnjroach Surface MVP Super Moderator

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    I tried it this morning and it is actually really good, it has ink and highlight support, works best in Portrait as it doesn't allow for a 2 up view. Inking and Highlighting are not seamless, as you need to select the tool and tell the app your done. But overall a good app and for just annotation it can easily replace PDF Annotator Plus it is free.
     
  18. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    Good point, I'll add price info to the first post. I'm not sure if developers can convert a free app to a paid app, but if so it might not be a bad idea to download it right now.
     
  19. valdarsh

    valdarsh Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I can't seem to find PDF touch in the store (Windows 8 Pro). Clicking on the link to buy bounces me back to the app front page. Is it RT only?
     
  20. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    It's x86-only for the moment, the guy is working on RT compatibility. I can still see it in the US store. Maybe it's not available in your county?
     
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