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Neil

Write Directly on PDF

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I just got a Wacom tablet and does anyone know of a good app that allows me to annotate directly on a PDFs? I have Acrobat Pro but writing on that is slow and tends to not pick up the curves correctly.

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Adobe Illustrator and the pencil tool is the closet thing to what I want, but going a page at a time is really bad. I just wish Preview had a pencil tool.

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Unless I missed it, I don't see any "pencil" or "pen" tool that allows me to write freely, within Skim. I don't really want to use predefined boxes and squares. I just want to circle something myself and just jot down a quick note.

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Nm, I never used the note features of Skim and i just saw the thing that looks like a pencil and assumed that would do it, guess that just makes a text box though.

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yeah, I know what you mean about the slowness of Acrobat Pro. Disappointing that they didn't fix that or ramp it up in CS3.

 

Have you tried Skitch? Or Desktastic? I haven't tried Acorn or ImageWell, but have heard nice things about those too. You'll need an invite for Skitch. If I get a chance I'll see if I can get some more or find out who does have more.

 

I'm just more comfortable doing that sort of thing in Pshop when it really comes down to it or if I want more control, but I do hate launching it unless I have to since I've been spoiled by more lightweight apps lately. I kinda wish they made a Pshop lite sometimes. Yes, there is also Gimp from PlaticBugs, but you have to run X11, yawn...makes me tired thinking about how long it takes to get up to speed.

 

Try out Skitch if you can manage to get an invite from somone. It makes really neato sounds! (inner 3rd grader peeking out)

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If you want Gimp without needing X11 then get Seashore, its based on Gimp but with a native Aqua interface. I dont have a link handy but you could find it on macupdate or versiontracker

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PDF Pen is another amazing PDF tool. I'm not sure if you can write directly on one, but it seems that it can do just about everytying so that's probably included. Sorry, no time to find links a simple Google search should do the trick, though.

 

-Tom

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I already have Skitch and love it. However, it doesn't do multi-page PDFs. Other than that it is great for single page documents (sorta). I haven't used Gimp is a long time, but I doubt it does multi-page PDFs. I need to take a multi-page PDF, go through the pages without doing some wacky, "save a page at a time" (which is what illustrator does).

 

PDFPen is pretty close to what I want. It has a "pencil" tool to freely scribble and white on it. However, it seems that it selects each line that you make, and then you have to go back to the menu to get the pen tool (kinda annoying). However, this is the closet thing to what I want, but is still clunky (and costs 50 bucks).

 

Anyone else have any ideas? Or anyway to improve Acrobat to improve it when writing on it?

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Neil, this sounds like an interesting dilemma you have and I hope you find the answer and share it when you do. What exactly are you needing to do with your PDFs? Are you trying to add comments and then share them with someone else to do edits to a document with several pages in it? Hmmmm, I can see what you mean about the other solutions just not being quite what you're after or costing a lot if they are.

 

This may be totally out there, but what if you used something like Desktasktic where you could draw on the PDF where you want then take a screen shot of it again. I know that is not what you want to do because you'd have to screen shot each page and then recompile the PDFs again. But what if you used the terminal command that tells your screen shots to be something other than PNG, like make them automatically create a PDF and automatically save them into a Screen Shots folder in your home folder and then use some type of automator script or even PDFLab to recompile the PDF screen shots back into one PDF doc with multiple pages?

 

Well, I guess when you think about it that way, it might be just better to eek along with the slowness of the way Adobe Acrobat Pro handles the pencil commenting tool. At least you get to use your pen and you don't have to exit the app and can leave the doc in one piece. You're right, it should just be something that Adobe improves. Until then, we're stuck with it. :(

 

I have found that once you get used to using the wacom pen and the pencil tool, if you write very very neatly in cursive where the letters connect more than with printing and kind of plan your handwriting for when you have to cross Ts or dot Is, you can get a little more used to it. I think it's really just a matter of finesse. When you have to release the pen and write with space, that's where it can get clunky. If you write in cursive and try to connect your letters as much as you can, it is a little more fluid. The only other thing is to use the pencil tool for drawing simple shapes and lines and then use the post it note commenting tool to type comments instead of trying to write them out in pen. Not as much fun, but just might work better in the grand scheme unless you're trying to edit copy and you're drawing typesetting marks, then the post it comment won't help you.

 

Good luck with this and let us know if you find something cool.

 

Mom

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Using Desktastic and stitching PNGs together isn't very practical.

 

I really just need to get a document, write circles and comment it, like "bigger" "remove this" "more spacing" etc.

 

For Word documents, Office 2004's Notebook view's Pen tool actually works fairly well. You can't write on PDFs, but I think I will just have my files come in as this. It is fairly responsive and not sluggish (even under Rosetta).It isn't perfect, but it is so far the best solution so far (I think). I hope that Office 2008 improves, because Office 2007 has some really nice annotation features.

 

This doesn't really solve all of my problems as most of my files can't be exported as .doc files.

 

The only problem with writing in all cursive (which I agree is the best solution for anything) is that most people can't read cursive or at least not mine (I know it is bad, because I usually can't read my own cursive).

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iWork's Pages has commenting features that support those needs. Have you checked that out? It's also a lot less $$$ than MS Office's Worse (oops, I mean Word)

 

I was tinkering around with it the other day and you can color code changes and change prefs for how certain changes are shown and you have the ability to accept and deny changes. Then you and export it as a doc to Worm. Oops, I mean Word.

 

Are you an editor? This portion of Pages looks ideal for that scenario. I guess it depends on what type of document you are trying to comment on. Is it mostly text or is it mostly graphic oriented. Or both? Who are you collaborating with back and forth and what is the end result? Who is on the receiving end?

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I have Pages and love it. I also know what you are talking about, the commenting and track changes features. those things (which are also in word, but not as fast to use) work really well for text. however, in order to make an arrow to say move this graphic to this spot is extremly hard to do with just text. I suppose I could use Pages' shape tools...

 

Still, I cant believe that no one really makes a decent tool to write directly on PDFs. i suppose I will have to stick with printing it out and whipping out the sharpies.

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suppose I will have to stick with printing it out and whipping out the sharpies.

 

Think of it this way, the sharpies smell better anyhow. Plus they make really neato metallic ones and ones with superfine tips. You should go out and buy yourself a really nice one in your favorite color to reward yourself for all your hard work in researching this topic.

 

Mom

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