How do I annotate PDFs on iPad?

A teacher recently asked me how he could annotate PDFs which he’d opened in the iBooks app on iPad. It’s a good question, as basically that function doesn’t exist, but there are a few ways round this using one of a few of our favourite productivity apps for iPad – Adobe Reader and Goodreader.

As a bit of an explanation as to why you can’t annotate PDFs from within iBooks itself, the highlighting and notes functions are only available for ePub and iBooks format books, because they are stored in a separate bit of data which doesn’t exist in a PDF, or at least can’t be accessed by the iBooks app. So if you want to be able to annotate PDF files, you’ll need a different app, such as:

Adobe Reader (Adobe, free) is a free PDF reader app which allows you to annotate using highlighters, pens, text and text styles. When you’re done you can email the document or open it in another app, such as iBooks.

Goodreader (Good.iWare Ltd, £2.99) is not too expensive but can read most types of document. The annotation tools for PDF are superb and you can import and export documents from Dropbox, Skydrive, Google drive and more. If you have a computer on your WiFi network, you can move documents between computer and iPad using Goodreader too.

Got any questions about Apple iPad? Call us on 03332 409 333 or email To keep up to date with what our e7 team are up to, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page
Rob W
Rob W
Call us: 03332 409 306

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