Highlights for iPhone and iPad: An Excellent Companion for Researchers

Airo AV Claims – Highlights for iPhone and iPad: An Wonderful Companion for Researchers

I want I had Highlights for iOS and iPadOS once I was a lawyer. Again then, it wasn’t uncommon for me to overview PDFs of authorized paperwork that had been a whole bunch of pages lengthy. Sadly, the digital instruments I had for annotating these paperwork had been primitive. So as a substitute, I usually fell again on marking up exhausting copies with highlighters and including notes within the margins.

Highlights is a PDF annotation app that’s been out there on the Mac for a very long time however is model new on iOS and iPadOS. The app interprets the analog means of marking up a PDF to the digital world very nicely by offering instruments that exhibit an understanding of the wants of scholars, researchers, and anybody who spends plenty of time with PDFs.

I don’t have the identical PDF wants I as soon as did, however as I’ve used Highlights the previous couple of weeks, I’ve appreciated its flexibility and energy, and I count on that anybody who works with numerous PDFs will too.

At its coronary heart, Highlights is a PDF viewer with an emphasis on annotation. The app makes use of the iOS and iPadOS doc browser to handle PDFs. As soon as opened, annotations and navigation are dealt with by a toolbar on the high of the display, web page thumbnails on the backside, and an Annotation Bar that may be anchored to the left or proper facet of the display.

On the iPad, the toolbar is split neatly into three sections. The toolbar is extra cramped on an iPhone, the place some instruments are hidden behind an ellipsis button, however the app performs equally nicely on an iPhone and iPad. Nonetheless, Highlights is the form of app that works significantly better on the larger display of the iPad and with an Apple Pencil at any time when attainable.

The iPad’s larger display permits all three of Highlights’ PDF view modes: the PDF by itself, the Notes part – which collects the contents of the PDF that you simply’ve annotated – by itself, or the 2 views side-by-side. On the iPhone, you may solely view a PDF by itself or your collected annotations by themselves, until you’re viewing them on a large-model iPhone in panorama mode, which continues to be too cramped to make use of frequently.

The PDF-only view is what you’d count on and shares options which might be frequent to most PDF apps. I’ll get to the markup instruments in a second, however you may zoom out and in of a PDF utilizing a pinch gesture, single-tap to cover the toolbar and thumbnails, double-tap to zoom, and double-tap once more to suit the PDF to the display. Mixed with the web page thumbnails on the backside of the display, Highlights makes it straightforward to maneuver round a doc.

The Notes view requires slightly extra clarification. Highlights enables you to annotate parts of a PDF utilizing strikethrough, underlining, highlighting, textual content feedback, and picture seize. As you mark up a PDF, the annotated components of the doc are mechanically added to the Notes part of the app. You possibly can view the Notes part by itself, which is a properly compacted model of simply what you suppose is necessary from a doc, or view the annotations side-by-side with the PDF.

Every annotation will be color-coded in considered one of eight colours, and default colours will be set for every kind of annotation. Highlighting a PDF’s textual content along with your finger shows a popover for selecting the kind of annotation. Nevertheless, if you do the identical with an Apple Pencil, the colour palette can also be proven, making it a extra versatile method to annotate paperwork, which I favor. Displaying the Annotation Bar, which will be anchored to the left or proper facet of the display, is one more method to change between annotation instruments and colours.

Marking up a PDF by placing by passages, underlining them, or including highlighting works as you’d count on. Feedback added to a PDF are depicted by a small color-coded doc icon added to the PDF, which expands when tapped to help you add textual content and make different edits. Lastly, the picture annotation device lets you choose a picture or passage of textual content that’s copied as a picture within the Notes view of the app.

All 5 kinds of annotations can have feedback related to them. Merely faucet the annotation to pick out it, and a popover permits you to change the annotation’s shade, add a remark, copy it, and even change the kind of annotation. The title of the annotation’s creator and the time it was created are additionally recorded with the annotation.

Strikethrough, underlining, and highlighting additionally help you lookup a quotation for the annotated passage, a useful device for lecturers. The identical possibility isn’t out there for notes, which don’t must be tied to a specific passage of textual content in a doc. Picture annotations embrace the added choice to be saved as a plain picture, an OCR’d picture, or a Markdown desk extracted from the picture.

By default, your annotations are saved within the Notes part of Highlights and arranged by web page quantity. Tapping on a web page quantity takes you to the corresponding web page the place the annotation seems within the PDF, although the function will be turned off. Alternatively, you may manage notes by annotation shade, by which case you lose the useful navigation function of the default view. Notes can be separated from one another with a line, and the annotation colours will be renamed and rearranged to fit your wants.

The Notes part is an especially helpful method to view a condensed model of an important components of a PDF. The hyperlinks again to the pages the place the annotations seem add context to the annotation, which is efficacious when navigating lengthy paperwork.

Nevertheless, I used to be shocked to find that saved annotations are text-only and that the app’s search performance solely returns outcomes discovered within the PDF view. Any embedded hyperlinks are misplaced, which is problematic for analysis functions. The copy function related to every annotation within the PDF view strips hyperlinks too. Together with the shortage of integration with the search performance, the utility of the annotations you accumulate within the Notes part of Highlights is extra restricted than I’d hoped and one thing that needs to be addressed in a subsequent replace.

Once you’re completed annotating a PDF, Highlights contains a number of export choices. You possibly can share annotated PDFs through the share sheet as a flattened PDF that doesn’t embrace a separate listing of annotations. Annotations will be shared individually as HTML, a TextBundle file, Markdown, or a PDF. Lastly, every part within the Notes part will be despatched to Evernote, DEVONthink, Ulysses, Bear, and Preserve It.

Highlights adopts many, although not all, of the most recent iOS and iPadOS options. Multiwindowing, Cut up View, Slide Over, and darkish mode are all supported. The app additionally contains an intensive listing of keyboard shortcuts for performing each main operate, and Handoff between the iOS/iPadOS model of the app and its Mac counterpart is supported.

Drag and drop is restricted to textual content in PDFs and pictures within the Notes part. Textual content within the Notes part is static and can’t be dragged to a vacation spot app. Nor does Highlights assist Shortcuts, which is a disgrace, although the beta notes check with a URL scheme, for which I’ve not been capable of finding documentation but.

Maybe the factor I miss most when utilizing Highlights in comparison with the way in which I used to annotate PDFs within the analog world is the power to take handwritten notes. Highlights originated on the Mac, the place fewer apps assist pen enter, however on the iPad, limiting note-taking to text-based notes appears like a missed alternative. Even when handwriting recognition wasn’t out there, I’d like the choice to take margin notes on a PDF and have them seem as photographs within the Notes part of the app. Hopefully, that’s a function the developer will contemplate sooner or later.

Nonetheless, I’ve been impressed by Highlights. The instruments work nicely in a UI that retains the PDF you’re viewing entrance and middle alongside along with your notes, which makes for a wonderful studying expertise. I don’t spend lengthy hours pouring over PDFs like I as soon as did, however they continue to be the muse of plenty of academia and different professions. The mixture of the distinctive and versatile method Highlights permits customers to view and annotate a PDF, together with the numerous ways in which info will be exported through the share sheet or on to sure apps, makes this an app that college students, lecturers, and anybody who does substantial quantities of PDF-based analysis ought to strive.

Highlights is accessible on the App Retailer as a free obtain with sure options restricted to a Professional model subscription that prices $2.99 per 30 days or $24.99 per 12 months, which incorporates entry to the Mac app too.

Jonathan Cartu

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