This weekend, I was visiting friends in Maine and one of them was struggling with a PDF. This friend is a graduate student and most of her research (articles, chapters, etc.) is in PDF. Her research process has always involved printing each article and marking it up with a pen. As the research increases, so has her budget for printer ink until she has finally decided to explore paperless options. This is where I come in to the picture. She already uses Google Drive and Docs for much of her work, so it seemed logical to find a tool that fit in to that universe. We settled on Notable PDF, a Google Drive App. And it is awesome.
We tested out the basic (free) version and didn’t find the need for any advanced features. She was able to highlight, comment, and add text directly on top of the file. She could use her color-coding system for highlighting, which would have been a deal-breaker for her. The really nice part was that when she downloaded or printed, her comments were all there and only the pages with comments were made narrow (think track changes in Microsoft Word). The full document remained legible, her comments were easy to see, she could re-open the file at any time AND could make a PDF of her annotated PDF.
She didn’t have any need for the sharing features, but those were very exciting to me. I am so excited to be back at the office so I can share this tool with my colleagues. They need it. (Okay, really I am the one who needs because then I could stop having stacks of paper on my desk with my mark-ups all over them. The GIF below is how I feel when I have to print PDFs.)
So, I continue on my quest to be fully paperless and would love to hear what tools have made this easier for you. Comment, tweet, or email – I would love to hear from you.