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There is already a similar question, which is about the Xoom and note taking. But I'd like to ask this in a more general way:

Given a tablet (and a pen), how can I write - not just adding notes and comments, more like one would write on paper - in a PDF?

The additional writing should be saved within the same PDF file and readable/showable by the most common PDF readers. Essentially I am looking for an Xournal alternative for Android.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 9 down vote accepted

So far the closest that I found to Xournal in Android is RepliGo Reader or ezPDF Reader. They both

  • Allow drawing of lines, curves, freehand, etc.
  • Save the annotations/drawings within the PDF file

But in my opinion both Apps do not use the full potential of what's possible with the Thinkpad Tablet and/or xournal. It may be subjective, but my colleguas who have Thinkpad tablet PC's running Linux with Xournal seem to have a better experience "writing into PDFs". I hope that there is more to come on Android.

Alternatives, suggestions are always welcome. :-)

Edit: I am going with ezPDF Reader. It's the best PDF reader for Android IMHO.

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+1 for exPDF Reader. Love this app, use it for all of my books in my classes to take notes directly in the book. Who needs notebooks? –  jlehenbauer Nov 17 '12 at 19:18
I wonder if any of these is suitable for annotations with an active stylus, i.e. supports palm rejection, pressure sensitivity, smoothing etc. LectureNotes has such features, but it seems to import PDF as images ... –  highsciguy Dec 17 '13 at 15:27

At this time, there does not appear to be a Xournal port or alternative for Android that both utilizes pressure sensitivity of a pen (e.g., in the case of a Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet) and allows for free form vector-based annotation of PDFs in their native format that is quick and doesn't involve clunky interface problems. Nearly every "note-taking" pdf program that features annotation that I have found only uses fixed-width lines that make it look like you're writing with a crayon on the page (very thick even with the thinnest lines), making them virtually unusable for put notes on a document with normal 12 pt font that might include any significant statement beyond "bad", "good", strike-through or circling something.

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Has anyone tried "Writepad Stylus"?


It looks great (I'm waiting for my stylus to arrive to try it out. Argh, the waiting!!)

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Well, it doesn't seem to have a annotation to PDF functionality. And when it comes down to just take notes on a tablet with a stylus, Quill is the way to go (it's even free). –  Flow Dec 22 '11 at 11:39

I downloaded the newest version of Adobe Reader. That works, as you can write or print text and save it.

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