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Vincent Noel

better workflow for annotating PDFs with pencil

Idea

Something I often need to do: annotate a PDF on my iPad with my pencil so I can send it back to someone, for instance a form I need to fill.

Being a good evernote user, I naturally want to do this through evernote. However, when I attempt to do it right now, this is what happens:

  • I select the note with the PDF within
  • I tap on the PDF, it opens and fills the screen
  • I reach for the pen and attempt to write on the PDF -- the PDF moves instead. Evernote thinks I'm just using the pencil instead of my finger to move around the PDF. Not good.
  • I tap the "annotate" button up right. The PDF re-opens in a somewhat different layout (why ?)
  • Using the pen, I attempt to write on the PDF -- the PDF moves instead. Not good.
  • I select the "pen" tool: I first tap the "arrows" icon at bottom-right, then I tap the "pen" icon.
  • I finally can annotate the PDF. 

In total, once the PDF is opened on screen I need to tap three things (annotate->arrows->pen) before I'm able to annotate the PDF. Instead, as soon I put the pen on the screen Evernote could assume that I'm trying to write on the PDF. I imagine that it's the main reason why people would use their pencil on screen. That change would save me three taps and two confusing user experiences when I end up moving around the PDF with my pen (twice in very short succession).

In addition:

  • the pencil annotation engine is weak, it has trouble following you when you write too fast (PDF expert has no problem) so your writing often ends up hard to understand. It is just not an enjoyable experience overall so I generally try to avoid it (even though I want to use Evernote)
  • when you are in annotation mode and writing with the pencil, you can't just flip pages using your finger -- Evernote thinks you want to annotate the PDF with your finger as well. I know you can use both fingers but at the point when you remember it you often have already drawn lines over the PDF with your finger (that you need to undo). It seems pretty safe to me to assume that if you are annotating a PDF with your pencil and suddenly you use your finger it means you're trying to change the page. Again PDF expert does this right.
  • If you close the PDF and open another one in annotation mode, the tool selection goes back to "move" instead on staying on the last-used "pen". Confusion again.

My suggestions would be:

  • at least when the user enters annotate mode switch back to the last used tool.
  • in annotate mode, if the user is using a pencil to annotate, finger taps should move the PDF around
  • if the user taps an opened PDF with the pencil, switch to annotate mode with the pen tool selected.
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Pdfs in Evernote (on Mac and iOS) are pain in the … .  I heaviliy wish that it gets improved. „Skitch-Engine“ is outdated.  I currently use PDF Expert for annotations.  But the drawback is, that I have to send my files back to Evernote – which is also quite time consuming/annoying as there‘s no way to send it back to the same (originating) note.  The pencil is a great tool/device for annotaions.  Hopefully Evernote will get it done in the very near future.

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On 10/17/2017 at 7:27 AM, dr3do said:

But the drawback is, that I have to send my files back to Evernote – which is also quite time consuming/annoying as there‘s no way to send it back to the same (originating) note.

My feelings exactly. 

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You can shorten your workflow by reaching out directly to the annotation tool. Here is how:-

1. Select the pdf or image.

5a6bdc6fd1a5b_SimulatorScreenShot-iPadPro(12.9-inch)(2ndgeneration)-2018-01-26at17_53_18.thumb.jpg.8216ea59993d50bb9079c56bf58a81f4.jpg2. You can tap on the Annotation menu.

That is it.

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2 hours ago, imougy said:

You can shorten your workflow by reaching out directly to the annotation tool. Here is how:-

1. Select the pdf or image.

2. You can tap on the Annotation menu.

That is it.

I don't see that menu on my iPad  

Also, I think you're annotating an image instead of pdf 
For pdf annotations, I use the annotation icon is at the top corner

IMG_2056.jpg.ecb068b7266a38525132d74511d921a8.jpg

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5a6fb9fb3b0d5_SimulatorScreenShot-iPhone7Plus-2018-01-29at16_18_52.thumb.png.e3e24ff9910a7c7a3d07f7c4f1132daf.png

The menu appears if you select the PDF file, I know it is not obvious, and once you see the menu you can Annotate directly.

Why you can't see this menu on the iPad? You should.

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On 10/17/2017 at 1:27 AM, dr3do said:

Pdfs in Evernote (on Mac and iOS) are pain in the … .  I heaviliy wish that it gets improved. „Skitch-Engine“ is outdated.  I currently use PDF Expert for annotations.  But the drawback is, that I have to send my files back to Evernote – which is also quite time consuming/annoying as there‘s no way to send it back to the same (originating) note.  The pencil is a great tool/device for annotaions.  Hopefully Evernote will get it done in the very near future.

I was really hoping that now that IOS 13 for the ipad is released this gets fixed, im really bummed on this.

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It seems they were happy to have the EN app still executing under iOS / iPadOS 13.

I have not found any significant use of the new possibilities by the EN app yet (I mean, beside the dark mode ...). What I am missing most is the possibility to open the app twice in split-mode side-by-side, working on 2 notes at the same time, allowing for copying and pasting between them.

Probably there is quite a way to go before we see real progress.

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