16 Best iPad Apps for Annotating PDFs

Best iPad Apps for Annotating PDFs

You might need to work with PDF documents as part of your job or school.


Also, it might be that you’re just looking for an easy way to highlight parts of books and articles that catch your eye; either way, you can use an iPad to make it happen.

There are lots of best iPad apps for annotating PDFs. In fact, if you’re willing to pay $10, you can do more with some of them (particularly with the PDF Expert app).

In this article, we’ll give you a breakdown of the pros and cons of the best iPad apps for annotating PDFs so that you can choose the right one for your needs.

1. Notability

Its extremely user-friendly interface and impressive feature set make it one of the best iPad apps for annotating PDFs.

In fact, it is a favorite among college students and business professionals. Highlights of the app include powerful handwriting recognition that can convert handwriting into text.

Furthermore, it has built-in optical character recognition (OCR) and can add rich media like audio or video annotations. Notability is a versatile note-taking tool that can be used on almost any device with a screen.

This makes it an excellent choice for iPads, other tablets, and laptops. It’s available on Apple devices for $5.99 and on Android devices for $4.99 in the Google Play store.

2. LiquidText

LiquidText is also one of the best iPad apps for annotating PDFs. It allows you to highlight, underline, and draw on a document.

You can also add notes and shapes to it. The app is free, but it does have a monthly subscription fee of $2.99.

So if you need to annotate many documents, it might be worth purchasing an annual subscription.

This excellent free PDF editor has been designed to allow you to read and annotate documents on your iPad easily.

There’s no need to print off or convert documents into another format. 

Besides, you can use a document scanner app on your smartphone, take a picture of each page, upload them to your desktop, and then import them to LiquidText.

This will, in turn, convert them into searchable electronic documents that you can access anywhere in seconds.

Also, it allows you to share these converted documents with anyone by sending an email address, Dropbox, or Evernote link.

3. PDF Reader – PDFelement

PDFelement is a great PDF reader app. It is easy to use, and it syncs with Dropbox, so all your annotations are saved automatically.

You can also save documents on your device and annotate them offline before you sync them with Dropbox later. 

Moreso, the text selection tool in the app allows you to highlight and copy text from a document very easily. This comes in handy if you need to cite something quickly. 

There’s also a variety of annotation tools available in this app that allows you to draw shapes. In fact, it even writes notes on top of the document’s page or fills an entire page with sticky notes!

PDFelement is one of the best iPad apps for annotating PDFs out there because it combines ease of use with all sorts of useful features.

4. PDFpen 6 – PDF Editor

As known, there are many best iPad apps for annotating PDFs, and PDFpen 6 is one of them. It’s powerful enough to do everything you might need, but its intuitive interface makes it easy to use and doesn’t get in your way.

You can highlight and annotate text, add shapes, insert tables and images, and convert files to different formats. 

Also, the app has a built-in dictionary that will help you decipher some of those fancy words you never learned in school.

If you only need one or two features, then there are other apps out there with more streamlined interfaces. However, PDFpen is perfect if you need the whole package. 

Moving on, there are plenty of free trial periods available so give it a shot before dropping any money on this one! With PDFpen 6 as our best iPad app for annotating pdfs, we have arrived at our destination.

5. PDF Viewer – Annotation Expert

PDF Viewer – Annotation Expert is one of the best iPad apps for annotating PDFs. The app allows you to highlight, underline, draw arrows and shapes, and write notes in a variety of colors and styles.

The app also supports other annotation features such as comments, text boxes, stamps, and more. 

One thing we found is that if you’re using an Apple Pencil, then the app will automatically detect it. And allow you to easily annotate using gestures on the screen.

The app also has a built-in option that lets you sync all your annotations with iCloud. As a result, they’ll be available on any device that has the app installed.

6. Xodo PDF Reader & Scanner

The app has a built-in keyboard that makes it easy to create and edit text annotations on PDF documents.

Also, it allows you to import other files such as pictures, Word documents, and PowerPoint presentations. You can also export your work in different formats, such as Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. 

What’s more about this app on our list of the best iPad apps for annotating PDFs? This app is perfect for working with large documents that you need to annotate constantly.

One more thing: It’s free! If you want to go premium and get additional features like exporting images, merging pages into one document, and printing PDFs, then there are two options available: monthly ($8.99) or yearly ($47).

7. Foxit PDF Editor

Foxit PDF Editor is one of the best apps to use with a tablet. The app has many features, such as the ability to create new documents, edit existing ones, and annotate PDF files with drawings and text.

You can also highlight passages in a document to save them or make notes on documents. And if you have an Android device, you can use Foxit MobilePDF instead of the desktop version.

It’s not quite as easy to use and takes some getting used to. But it’s totally worth it because you can take your PDF annotations anywhere, including other iOS devices! 

Overall, both are great options for those who need to annotate PDFs from their tablets. If you’re more of a learn-by-doing type of person (like me!), try downloading the app and start playing around. Once again – I think we’ve found the perfect solution for all our digital needs!

8. PDF Hero – PDF Editor & Reader

PDF Hero, one of the best iPad apps for annotating PDFs, has a full-featured, free PDF editor and reader.

This lets you annotate and mark up your documents with text, shapes, stamps, signatures, highlighter pens, and more. You can also sign a document on your device using the built-in eSignature feature. 

With this app, you can import any type of document from your Camera Roll or email attachments to work on it in a matter of seconds.

You don’t have to worry about being limited to one type of file format because you can open any file (PDF or otherwise) without having to convert it first.

The user interface is simple enough so anyone can use it but powerful enough to allow you to take full advantage of all its features. It’s also lightweight and fast when opening large files, which is always a plus.

9. WPS Office

WPS Office is one of the best apps out there for annotating a PDF. It lets you edit text, highlight, add shapes, and more. Plus, it has a built-in dictionary and other cool features that make it easy to read and understand. 

With this app, you can easily turn your iPad into an all-purpose document viewer. You can also share files with others via email or iTunes file transfer. And, if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can use this app on those devices as well! 

Additionally, the app now supports over 13 languages, including Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian and Spanish.

If you are looking for the powerful and best iPad apps for annotating PDFs, then try out WPS Office today.

10. iLovePDF – PDF Editor & Scan

Speaking of the best iPad apps for annotating PDFs, iLovePDF – PDF Editor & Scan is a great option.

It allows users to annotate and edit files on their iPads and convert them into other formats, such as Word or JPEG.

Moreover, the app lets you scan documents with your device’s camera, which will automatically enhance the document. Users can also insert their signature onto any scanned document within the app. 

Another good option is Scanner Pro. It allows users to save scans in one of three file formats, including PDF, TIFF, and JPG.

The app also offers an auto-crop feature that enables you to frame an entire page with just a few taps of your finger.

This is great when you want to make sure that all of the content on a page is captured in the image.

11. Adobe Acrobat Reader: Edit PDF

Adobe Acrobat Reader is the best app to use if you’re looking for a tool to annotate and edit PDFs. It has all of the features that you need, including an annotation toolbar and different pen colors. Plus, it’s very easy to use. 

Coupled with that, you can also easily upload and share your work with others by using the export function from within the app. This is a great app if you want to do more than just read through documents on your tablet. 

Meanwhile, the only downside is that it does not support Dropbox or iCloud storage for saving documents. If you have a lot of PDFs saved on these services, then this may not be the right app for you. Nevertheless, it is still not left off the register of the best iPad apps for annotating PDFs!

12. iAnnotate 4

iAnnotate 4 is one of the best iPad apps for annotating PDFs. It is available on the iOS App Store and has a free trial period.

With iAnnotate 4, you can view documents in full-screen mode and pan through them with your fingers. 

Further, you can use various annotation tools like highlights, notes, shapes, text boxes, underlines, arrows, and stamps to draw attention to specific document parts.

Some tools allow you to scan paper documents and turn them into PDFs. Uniquely, a useful feature of iAnnotate 4 is that it synchronizes changes across devices.

If you edit a document on your iPhone, it will show up as edited when you open it again on your iPad or Macbook Air.

13. PDF Expert

PDF Expert is an all-in-one document reader, editor, and annotation tool that can help you read and annotate PDFs on your iPad.

With this app, you can take notes in the margins of your documents and highlight text to make it easier to find later on.

In addition to that, you use a variety of drawing tools to illustrate key points or annotations. In short, this is another popular tool that allows you to highlight text and draw shapes on documents with a pen or finger.

Equally important to note, you can import other files from your computer or iCloud Drive into the app so you can work on them as well.

PDF Expert has a handy search function that lets you quickly find keywords in your file and a built-in dictionary and translator.

This app also has OCR capability, so even if you cannot read what’s written on the screen, it will do it for you! These qualities qualify it as one of the best iPad apps for annotating PDFs!

14. Smallpdf: PDF Scanner & Editor

Looking for the best apps for annotating PDFs? Chill out; we are here for you! Smallpdf is the perfect app for annotating and editing PDFs on your iPad.

The app scans and converts any document into a digital version that can be edited, annotated, and exported back to an editable format. 

Plus, Smallpdf has an intuitive interface with simple navigation of scanned documents so you can focus on what matters most: the content.

When you open up a file, it’s ready for annotation. You have three tools at your disposal: a pen, a highlighter, and an eraser. 

If certain words or sentences in the text need more emphasis than others, use one tool to highlight them. You can highlight in yellow (pen), purple (highlighter), or white (eraser). It’s super easy!

15. GoodReader PDF Editor & Viewer

PDF files are everywhere. Some people use them to store documents like tax returns, resumes, and recipes.

Others may annotate them with a pen or stylus while they read them on their tablet or phone. Above all, you can use the GoodReader PDF Editor & Viewer app to do both of these things.

This is one of the most popular annotation tools; this app allows you to mark up documents with drawings and text. Not only that, but you can also create and share your hand-drawn documents.

Additionally, the app supports many different file formats, including Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat files. 

This is one of the best iPad apps for annotating pdfs because it allows you to create annotations and highlights using a pen or stylus.

It also has a high-security level, meaning you can sign your documents electronically. Consequently, no one will be able to tamper with any information without your permission.

16. Apple Markup

There are a number of different and best iPad apps for annotating PDFs on the go. Apple Markup is a very great option.

Apple Markup is a simple and straightforward app with many great features to make it easy to share or annotate documents with others. 

It’s perfect if you’re just looking for something simple to get the job done. The best part about this “apple markup” is that it doesn’t require wifi to do its magic.

All you have to do is download the pdf file, which can be found by using the Safari browser on an iPad, then open it in Apple Markup. 

From there, you’ll be able to highlight text and write notes wherever you want. Also, you have the option of adding attachments from other apps like email, photos, or even YouTube videos to your document. Thus, they’ll always be available as needed.


PDFs are extremely convenient, but they become less useful when you want to add annotations or make changes.

Fortunately, there are plenty of the best iPad apps for annotating PDFs and editing them quickly and easily as well. Well explained above is how to choose the best iPad apps for annotating PDFs!

Although, it is known that reading and annotating PDFs on your iPad can be frustrating at times. However, we have affirmed that there are apps that make this process much easier.

Our article noted the best iPad apps for annotating PDFs, with features like annotations, highlighting, and more. We are sure it helped!

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