One of the more vexing problems of the iPad is document management, both in terms of moving / transferring documents and reading / utilizing documents. .pdf Readers then become an essential app for the iPad. But there are so many. How to choose?

I had downloaded maybe four or five of them via my Foundation grant last year, and had used most frequently Good Reader, which seems to be at least the most visible of the readers, and iAnnotate PDF. I found them both, however, very cumbersome for different reasons. Good Reader’s file interface, which is present when you open it, is overwhelming, with any number of different choices. I suspect that this would be a handy feature if I wanted to take the time to figure it out. I’ll be honest. I don’t. iAnnotate PDF is ovewhelming in terms of its annotation features. It comes with a hideable info box at the top of the screen (tips, help, etc.), a page window at the left for swift browsing, and a tool menu at right. Furthermore, the tool menu has about thirty different tools that can be cycled through as needed. It is a multi-featured reader but it is perhaps too multi-featured, or would only be useful for a very frequent and advanced .pdf user. Not I.

I’m hoping to do a worksheet with the class on Monday, and would like to do it paper-free through a .pdf reader, so I’ve been revisiting them as part of preparing for this. And I think I found a happy medium. It was a reader that I hadn’t really utilized since I downloaded it, but it was there and I checked it out: .pdf-notes. A free version (with ads), an iBooks-like interface (shelf for documents, similar editing-/organizing-of-documents functionality, and what appears to be the right number of tools to maximize flexibility while minimizing visual clutter. The interface is smooth and clear (tool bar at top; navigational tools at bottom) and includes everything you need. And, what seems to be a deciding factor for me these days, it links to Dropbox. It doesn’t open anything but .pdfs, but to have that capability is a huge draw.

So check back in a few days. Hopefully I’ll have good news about the worksheet-on-iPad activity.