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.

  • Any updates on this topic? (last update more than two years ago...) Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 15:45

4 Answers 4


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.

  • 1
    +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? Commented Nov 17, 2012 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
    Commented Dec 17, 2013 at 15:27
  • @highsciguy, I am just experimenting with ezPDF with an active stylus. It treats my palm as a second pen (if that is what you are asking for).
    – Lukas
    Commented Oct 31, 2015 at 19:56
  • I have been and am still using ezPDF myself, but it does not have the features mentioned and is much less comfortable for writing than a decent notebook app like LectureNotes.
    – highsciguy
    Commented Oct 31, 2015 at 20:55

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

  • Make sure to frequently open the "saved" document with another editor. It is not guaranteed to save properly. Just lost 2h of corrections.
    – Lukas
    Commented Oct 31, 2015 at 19:57

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.


Has anyone tried "Writepad Stylus"?


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

  • 2
    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
    Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 11:39

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