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You can drag and drop to rearrange your pages or select one or more pages to move to a different notebook. Creating a notebook follows a uniform workflow. After you make these choices and give your notebook a name, a new note will open and you can start jotting down your handwritten notes.

GoodNotes treats every single notebook you create as a separate entity, and all customization options are unique to each notebook — down to the individual page. Within a notebook, you can change themes, colors, and layouts on a page-by-page basis. So if you needed to create a graph on page 17 of your notebook, you could change that page to dotted or squared paper with just a few taps and keep all other pages in your notebook themed to your original preferences.

In Notability, all pages inside a note are the same. For GoodNotes users, this level of versatility is a plus, especially because it removes the need for tedious switching between notes as soon as your needs change.

You can also use the search function, which features handwriting recognition in the full version, to locate items. GoodNotes can recognize your handwriting and will recognize it when you search. Tap the search button in the bottom toolbar and get to searching!

Lastly, when it comes to keeping your notes in order, GoodNotes offers a few more options to help you keep everything neat and tidy. With Notability, you can create a subject or a divider.

Dividers house subjects, and subjects house your notes. We tested it to 10 layers of depth, which is probably more than anyone will ever need, and GoodNotes would still let us create new folders with no problems. The GoodNotes workflow makes it pretty clear that notebooks, which are designed for large collections of work, are the preferred way to organize and manage your content.

On the other hand, Notability takes a more simplified approach to organization. If you want to treat your notetaking app like a quick place to jot down important notes and ideas, Notability is probably the winner here. The streamlined, no-frills approach is perfect for people who just want to open the app and get started quickly. The app has a great aesthetic, looks amazing, and comes with a ton of features that feel good to use. The good looks and solidly built workflows are among our favorite features from both apps.

Nested folders in GoodNotes are also a huge plus for productivity geeks and organizational wonks who want to organize their workspace based on their own system or workflow. GoodNotes comes with a lot of options to make your experience feel unique and personal, which is a nice touch in the long term. The other factor to consider is searchability. We feel that this is an essential feature in an app that offers so little by way of organization. Without it, old notes will be more difficult for both avid and infrequent users to find compared with GoodNotes.

With all of that in mind, the question for users is pretty simple: How much time do you plan to spend in the app, and how much customization do you really need to get the job done? Without a doubt, both GoodNotes and Notability provide a robust toolkit for taking notes. Both apps have a lot to love, and both companies have spent a lot of time figuring out what works best for their users.

Each app takes advantage of the digital workspace, allowing you to customize your environment to suit your style and preferences. Both GoodNotes and Notability include each of the following tools for your immediate use:.

Each app also has some unique tools to help them stand out. For GoodNotes, the big highlight is the Elements Tool while Notability has real-time audio recording features that are completely unmatched by anything else on the market. Despite the similarities, both apps offer slightly different configurations for their toolkits — and there are upsides and downsides no matter which app you choose.

You can also adjust the size of the pen tip to a remarkable degree. GoodNotes provides a larger variety of pen sizes and types along with sliders for precise adjustments when choosing your stroke width. This tool is only offered in three sizes: small, medium, and large. Meanwhile, Notability offers the same selection options for its eraser and highlighter that it does for its pen, giving users a wider selection overall.

Notability also provides a favorites bar, where you can add a selection of your personalized tools for quick and easy access. The favorites toolbar is limited to three items on the free plan and 12 on the premium plan. The Starter plan is limited to three tools, while the Premium plan supports But while you will have to reselect your favorites in GoodNotes every time you want to use them frustrating , GoodNotes also allows for unlimited custom colors.

With Notability, custom colors are only available as part of the premium plan, though this feature is permanently unlocked for users on the Classic Plan. Stickers, images, and gifs are another big thing that has taken the digital notetaking space by storm in recent years.

Both GoodNotes and Notability support this multimedia to some degree. In Notability, stickers are built into the app and can be downloaded via the Notability Plus menu subscription required. Afterward, you can save the image as a sticker and reuse it across all your notes. You can also create your own sticker groups. GoodNotes integrates stickers and other media by way of the Elements Tool. Once you create your collection, you can select items from the Elements Tool and add them to your note in seconds.

The best part: This works with any collection of images and makes it ridiculously easy to import third-party sticker packs for your notes. In fact, Notability offers a unique audio recording feature for notetakers. As the recording completes, the rest of the faded text will be filled in. During playback, Notability will highlight the text as it was written during the recording so that you can better understand what prompted you to write something down. For many college students, this audio syncing is a dream come true, especially when prepping for an exam!

This works by allowing you to create cards using your digital notes by writing the question on the top half of the page and the answer on the bottom half. When the flashcard review sequence is initiated, the app will present the front half of the card, and users can tap the screen to see the back half. When you start your flashcard review, GoodNotes will prompt you with the question.

Tap to reveal the answer and tell GoodNotes how you did. Both apps also feature a selection tool lasso to select and move anything on the page. To get clean shapes, Notability offers shape detection, where you draw the desired shape with your Apple Pencil and hold it in place. As soon as the app recognizes the attempted shape, it redraws it using uniform lines and dimensions.

It also distinguishes between upper and lower case letters. Speaking of conversions, both GoodNotes and Notability support handwriting to text conversions. However, in Notability, this feature requires a premium subscription. For Classic Plan users, you can also purchase text conversion from the in-app marketplace only necessary if you purchased the app after Jan 1, Both apps will provide a preview window so that you can verify the conversion. Notability also supports math conversions subscription only.

The app will recognize common mathematical expressions, elements, and rules. This includes Greek symbols, chemical elements, rules, and mathematical notation. GoodNotes can convert basic mathematical functions addition, subtraction, etc. Swipe from the left to bring up the Note Switcher, then decide how you want to display your notes on the screen. Notability also shines when working on multiple documents. While GoodNotes supports document tabs think of tabbed browsing when surfing the web , Notability allows users to open two notes side by side in a split-screen view.

This makes comparing notes much easier. With iPadOS now supporting multiple windows with Split View , you can create similar functionality by opening two instances of GoodNotes at the same time on your iPad. Last but not least, both apps support using the Apple Pencil 2 or a 3rd party stylus for the iPad, so you can use your favorite drawing and sketching tools to create handwritten notes. The built-in palm rejection and left-handed support provided by both apps make using a stylus seamless and easy.

You can even add in a Paperlike screen protector so that the surface of your iPad feels like real paper! In recent years, GoodNotes has added a fair amount of additional flexibility around how the app handles things like page customization, sticker importing, and shape snapping.

While we think that some features in GoodNotes could be better tool favorites, multi-note support, etc. Once an app is tapped and held, PDF Expert shrinks the left sidebar options down to folders available for moving. Like everything else in PDF Expert, moving files around is extremely quick and easy. Side note: Dragging a PDF file on top of another creates a folder, which is shown via the files changing into a folder icon nice touch , but we would love to be able to toggle this action into a merging action.

Dragging one PDF file onto another to merge the two together would be a better use for this action; after all, folders can always be created by tapping the new folder icon.

When you do find yourself tapping the Select button, be prepared to smile if working with PDFs is a large part of your life. As expected, tapping this button allows you to select multiple files to act on. However, it also opens up a new set of options in the sidebar, including:.

Not all of these features are unique to PDF Expert, but it was the only app we tested with all of the features together in one app.

The most elusive to other apps are the tagging, zipping, and merging features. Even at that, many other apps simply did not perform these actions as easily as PDF Expert does. One of our contributors works in an accounting office and constantly uses PDF Expert on the iPad to merge files and create outlines for PDFs — both workflows on the Mac require separate apps, additional in-app purchases, and a surprising amount of computing horsepower to complete.

Though specialized apps do exist for this specific task, we are trying to find a good all-in-one PDF solution. We also tried both merging methods with a page method. In both cases, PDF Expert handled the task quickly and without hiccups. While viewing a document, tap either one from the top-hand toolbar to select that mode. When it comes to annotations, PDF Expert has always had the most feature-rich highlighting engine in our testing.

Offering very opaque coloring and dark colors makes it one of the few apps tested that allow you to easily redact lines of text using a black highlight, but do note that you need to flatten the PDF if you want it to remain redacted when shared.

This is something the NSA should probably look into. Annotations are also done very well when moved from platform to platform. Creation of those annotations is also a simple task. Handwritten annotations using the Apple Pencil are also best in the business. There are options for adjusting tip sensitivity, enabling you to hand-write with variable line thickness, just like with physical pen and paper.

Highlighting, underlining, and strikethrough tools can all be applied easily with the Pencil as well. Another nice trick: When using the Pencil, your fingertip is used for navigation while the Pencil is used for annotation.

The small nature of the note bubble can make for rather tricky placement with a finger. PDF Expert also boasts solid signature support. Our only complaint is the thickest line thickness is still a little thin for many forms. It used to be that you could only stow one signature in PDF Expert. PDF Expert allows you to switch between vertical and horizontal scrolling modes, both of which perform admirably.

You can also view PDFs in two-page mode. This is great for providing an overview of a specific section in a PDF, and is doubly good on the largest The two-page viewing mode gets a little cramped on the inch iPad Pro, but will do the job in a pinch. This is helpful for providing larger text when viewing in two-page mode on an inch iPad Pro, but otherwise eliminates margins where many tend to create annotations.

The voice reads quite slow by default, so make sure to tap on the gear icon and speed up the voice a little. Pushing the speed all the way to the hare end of the spectrum is ridiculously fast — somewhere right in the middle should do for most people. Overall, the reading experience is solid, offering one of the fastest renderings of large PDF files we tested. In other words, no matter what your office uses, you can probably sync your documents in the app. Readdle has also created a secure and fast way to transfer PDFs from your iPad to your Mac and vice versa when both devices are connected to the same local network.

Enter the code into the site on your Mac and watch as your Mac and iPad instantly connect to one another. Opening PDFs on the Mac is lightning quick and can be viewed right in the browser, or can be downloaded locally to your Mac. The app also allows you to enable iOS Data Protection file-encryption system.

These are great options that help keep access to your cloud storage secure but easily accessible to you. Foxit has stormed onto the iPad in recent memory after hitting its stride on Windows.

Foxit has great design taste, a strong set of tools in its free tier, and a reasonable annual subscription for editing, organizing, and filling and signing forms. Commenting tools — which oddly includes highlighting, underlining, comment boxes, and more — are diverse and customizable. Second, signatures are super finicky in Foxit as of the time of writing. You can create and save multiple signatures, however placing and resizing and reshaping signatures is super frustrating.

This could be a bug, or even something related to the iPadOS 15 public beta. But if signatures are fundamental to your PDF work, this may give you pause.

Apple Pencil support is present and totally workable, however some interesting UX choices here have it feeling awkward. The Pencil performs dual usage based on how long you tap. PDF Expert handles this by making all finger-based gestures navigational and all Apple Pencil taps and gestures as annotations. Fillable PDFs work well inside Foxit. All fillable fields are highlighted in blue, just like they are in PDF Expert.

Filling in fields is quick and you can use the included bar above the keyboard to jump between fields with ease. Searching an OCRed PDF is a breeze inside Foxit, as search results show up in a sidebar after you perform your search query and you can tap between the results in the sidebar.

Search was fast, efficient, and spot on, every time. Tapping on any text box on a PDF provides you an editing box which closely matches the font as you change the content in the PDF. Tapping on the four box grid button in the top right brings you to a thumbnail view where you can move pages around and reorganize the PDF. It took us about 15 minutes of tapping around to discover if the feature existed.

PDF Expert simply provides more tools for free and has better stability and performance across the app. This helps PDFpen feel much more native to the iPad than other options we tested.

There is a standard set of items like those found in other apps: comments, text, arrows, boxes, lines, and camera roll.


.The best PDF app for Managing, Reading, and Editing — The Sweet Setup

Like everything else in PDF Expert, moving files around is extremely quick and easy. Once an app is tapped and held, PDF Expert shrinks the left sidebar options down to folders available for moving. Featured articles. Our only complaint is the thickest line thickness is still a little thin for many forms. As a result, our position has shifted. Author: Scott Summers.


PDF Expert: PDF Reader, Editor for iOS. Readdle’s PDF Expert is one of the best options for PDF viewing and editing. You get the basics for free. Which one: PDF Expert, GoodNotes or Notability to doodle,highlight and annotate PDFs? Apple Devices. replace.me › software › compare › Notability-vs-Readdle-PDF-Expert.