The ultimate guide on how to annotate PDF files on the iPad

Ultimate guide on how to annotate PDF files on the iPadFor most people in university and college, the ability to annotate PDF files is one of the main reasons for buying an iPad. There are hundreds of apps out there that let you annotate PDFs: how do you know which one is the best one for you?

Rather than discussing one particular app in detail, this post presents the bigger picture by discussing three different user profiles whose needs are different with regards to PDF annotation and management. Once you know what type of user you are, you can check out the overview of 10 (plus 3) apps, my personal favorites, and some thoughts on using a stylus. With all this information, finding out what app you need to annotate PDF files “your style” becomes a piece of cake.

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5 free iPhone apps for academics

When the iPad came out, many people immediately recognized the benefit this device offers researchers and university students, and latest since its Education Event last week Apple has made clear that the education sector is an important playing field for their iPad ambitions. Even before the iPad came out, the Mac was widely popular in academia, and it continues to be so.

The iPhone, on the other hand, does not carry the same image of being an important device in academia. Don’t get me wrong: it is not that academics do not use iPhones as an easy-to-use mobile communication device (in fact, iPhones are quite easy to spot on campus). It is just that, for most people, the iPad and the Mac are more strongly associated with education than the iPhone is. Even for Apple, the iPhone (and iPod touch) is seen as their “third device” in education.

However, there are a couple of apps that can turn the iPhone into a powerful tool for university professors and college students alike. I am listing five of my favorite iPhone apps in this post. [Read more…]

“What can I do with my iPad?” (part 2)

This is the second part of a very brief overview how you can make good use of your iPad. This time, we are looking into what I find are the core uses of the iPad in academia: getting organized, acquiring information, and conceptualizing ideas.


Things where your iPad shines: organize, read, conceptualize

Your new iPad really excels when it comes to some core aspects of your academic life: organize, read, and conceptualize. If you want to organize your time and tasks across research, classes, and meetings, you can look into installing a Getting Things Done app. I admit: I haven’t done this yet. This seems to be one of the most competitive fields of app development, and I decided to wait it out until one or a few clear leaders emerge. You can check out this comparison (although it does not discuss the very popular Things app), if you like, and I promise I will post my solution as soon as I found it.

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“What can I do with my iPad?” (part 1)

A couple of schools are giving out iPads for their incoming students, and that means that the iPad will get into the hands of quite a few people who maybe would not have bought one by themselves. So now you have an iPad (and if you are a faculty members you maybe even got it for free): What are you doing with it? This blog gives you, over two parts, a very brief overview how you can make good use of your iPad. Sadly, the discussion has to remain at the surface level for now, but stay tuned for more in-depth discussions about particular apps, tips, and tricks.


The basics: home screen, dock, search, appstore

You navigate through the various applications on your iPad via your home screen. Every app (short for application) on your iPad has an icon either on the home screen, which can consist out of several pages filled with apps, or in the dock at the bottom. The icons in the dock stay the same even when you swipe left and right to visit the various pages of your home screen. [Read more…]