Review: Mark your PDFs from your tablet or phone with iAnnotate PDF

Annotate PDFs on the go with this excellent free PDF app for Android tablets (phones, too).

Use iAnnotate PDF to mark up PDFs easily on an Android device. Branchfire's free app lets you annotate, search, manage, and share high-quality PDFs on the go. It's optimized for tablets but works great on smartphones, too. The latest iAnnotate PDF release, version 1.1.4, has improved tabs for handling multiple open documents and syncs with Box's OneCloud. You can open, mark, and save PDFs directly from OneCloud.

The app's interface does a great job combining the familiar look and layout of desktop PDF tools with Android's touchscreen functionality. The left sidebar's "Library" button displays documents by Thumbnail, Outline, Annotations, or Search Results. The tabbed Toolbar accesses the Pencil, Note, and Highlighter tools as well as the "Scroll-Lock" and "Fit-Width" buttons, while the floating Toolbox offers additional tools and commands such as Go To Last Page, Underline, and Email PDF. A Getting Started page and Quick Reference Guide give clear, well-illustrated instructions. Since iAnnotate PDF is tablet-optimized, the tab buttons might seem small to big-fingered folks, but generally speaking, the app looks and works just fine in our typical Android smartphone.

We browsed to a file and opened it in iAnnotate PDF. If (like us) you have more than one PDF-capable app, select the option to always open PDFs with iAnnotate from your device's Open File menu. Using iAnnotate isn't just easy, it's fun. Maybe it's the touchscreen functionality that lets you draw and write on documents with a fingertip -- that's been missing from desktop PDF tools -- or the way iAnnotate seriously enhances productivity by letting you read, mark, save, and share documents while you're on the bus, in the elevator, or who-knows-where. For whatever it is, this is a very capable app.

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