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pdf Annotation Workflow on iPad

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I have been unable to set up a good system to store, read and annotate pdf files (scientific articles) in Evernote.  The workflow I have in mind would go like this....


1) Find pdf on web, and clip to Evernote (this works fine).


2) Open article on iPad, read and annotate in third-party app.  I use Goodreader, but I could try another.


3) Save annotated pdf back to Evernote.


Any method I have tried up to now does not save my annotations back to the Evernote version.




PS.  As an aside, what is the best way to get a pdf attachment in Gmail into Evernote?  In the new Gmail format, the clipper doesn't work on the default Gmail display of pdf attachments.  I can download it and drag it in, of course, but it would be nice to do it without leaving a copy in my download directory.

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Good questions.


I would like to put in a plug for the latest Skitch-Evernote Liaison in Evernote.  I realize that it is a premium feature, but the connection does allow the reader to open and markup a pdf in a reasonable manner in Skitch directly from Evernote, and then have the marked up pdf saved automatically in the original note.  Woohoo.  


Many of the details have been worked out well.  For example, if I switch apps to say Drafts to take some notes while reading the pdf in Skitch, returning to Evernote lands me right back into my article in Skitch, as it should. 


Kudos to the EN programmers for this.  



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Below is the workflow I use- but I feel it could use some improvement:


1) Clip pdf to Evernote, with tag "TO ADD" (i submit and manage content for a digital research library- so I have stages)

2) Save original PDF to DROPBOX

3) Open original in NOTABILITY and annotate (lets me handwrite as well as highlight, bookmark, etc.)

4) Save annotated version in Dropbox.

5) Email annotated version to Evernote.

- my system breaks down here in terms of tagging and storing : /


Similar to your question:

~ Is there a better workflow?

~ Is there a better way to annotate or mark-up within Evernote? I will investigate Skitch. Some preliminary googling revealed problems with this feature.

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  • 1 month later...

Yes, Evernote does not seem handle this workflow well. I too deal primarily with academic articles and I find Evernote offers neither an ideal reading nor annotating experience. I store my PDFs in Dropbox and read/annotate in PDF Expert on my iPad or Preview.app on my Mac. While I lose out on the organization offered by Evernote, native content searching in Mac OS makes up for having to use a less flexible folder structure (of course Evernote offers this too, but it doesn't make up for the downside we are all encountering)

I keep all my reading notes in Evernote, however.

I suppose if I really wanted I could use the "open in..." Feature to place the annotated file from PDF expert to Evernote, or drag and drop on OS X, but I haven't found the need. I frequently return to files later that require further or different annotating as a new project dictates so moving it out of Dropbox doesn't make much sense. Reading notes in Evernote, files in Dropbox, PDF expert/preview for reading and annotating. Works well for me.

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  • 1 month later...

I have been frustrated with the same issue. On my iPad.

I have started using notability in conjunction with printfriendly.com.

When I find an article I wish to keep and markup I use printfriendly.com to convert the website to a pdf and then "open in" notability. Once in notability I can mark up and save in notability, move to evernote, I don't. Notability is only available on ios but can be automatically backed up to, Dropbox or Box which makes the articles available on any platform.

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  • 7 months later...

It is dissappointing we are not getting guidance or support with this. EN has the potential to own this, but they just have not taken it up. Maybe its because they think people who highlight text in pdf documents represent a niche group. I think they are misreading that... there are 23,000 scientists attending next week's meeting of the American Geophsical Union (AGU).

Skitch is not the right app for this. Goodreader, pdfexpert and others target proper text annotation (e.g., highlighting). It seems to me all we need is a means to connect these apps to EN, as they have done for skitch. If they get this right, I would become a dedicated user and advocate.

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  • Level 5*

Hi - it's doubtful you'll get Evernote guidance or support on this,  since they don't (normally) comment on anything until it's released.  Staffers reputedly use Evernote themselves,  so should be aware that PDF annotation could be improved - but are probably just as stuck with the current road map which clearly doesn't count this as an immediate priority.  Although there's a vocal lobby in the forums for change,  it's a vanishingly small percentage of EN's overall user base - they must do surveys of their own,  and other interests are presumably higher in the list.

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