Marking Up a Manuscript on the iPad

My critique partner, Ruthie Knox, and I struggled for a long time to find a solution to the following problem: How do you read someone else’s manuscript on an e-reader, then export your highlights and notes in a way that’s easy for your critique partner to read? Previously, both Ruthie and I read on our Kindles, then transcribed notes and highlights by hand into Word, because Amazon has made it nearly impossible to export highlights and notes from personal documents on the Kindle.

Ruthie’s husband came up with this elegant solution. It doesn’t fix the problem for Kindles, but it does make it possible to do what we wanted on the iPad.

PDF Expert App Store ss1) Purchase PDF Expert for iPad from the App Store for $9.99.

2) Open the manuscript in Word and format it to fit an iPad screen.

  • 6.5″ x 8.5″ page size
  • .75 margins all around
  • No unprintable area
  • Justified
  • Helvetica neue (other fonts work, too)
  • 12 pt

3) Print, save, or export the document as a PDF.

4) Email it to yourself. Receive the document on your iPad and long press the attachment–you’ll be given the option to open the document in PDF Expert.

5) Read and mark up in PDF Expert. You can highlight, make notes, strikethrough, underline, etc.

PDFExpress screenshot6) Using the emailer built into PDF Expert (in the upper right-hand corner of iPad screen, tap the little box with the arrow jumping out of it), email the marked up document to your critique partner. Once you select “Send by E-mail” from the drop down list, you have options that include send the document, send a read-only copy, and send the document with a summary of annotations (very helpful!).

If you try this, please let me know how it goes for you! And if you have other solutions for exporting marked up documents from any e-reader, please share!