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I have an iPad and I'd lovely to be able to use it for brainstorming and proper, detailed annotation of PDFs, but I find my attempts look like a child's fingerpainting:

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(The word I attempted to write was 'interesting')

Is there any cure? Or am I doomed to be kept using the printer and the pen?

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I have tried a few apps myself. I really liked UPad. They have a free version of the app which has nearly all the features. What I like about it is the zoom function. You have a nice palm rest where you can write in a zoomed in portion of the page. It makes writing even with a cheap stylus easy. You can also zoom on the whole page, which is nice for drawing.

The app also allows you to import PDF and write on them. I have been using it to annotate all of my classes slides this semester.

In brief, the palm rest with the zoomed in window makes it easy to write normally. Try the free version, you'll see.

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    Upad is now my favourite, by far, iPad app. Perfect. – Joe Jun 21 '14 at 12:45
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Yes, I believe so!

The solution that works best for me is to place something under your hand so you can anchor it against the iPad's display without that interacting with the touch screen while writing.

To accomplish this, I'd use a large Zeiss Microfiber cleaning cloth folded a couple times to layer it so that it insulates the hand from the touch screen. You can find these at any WalMart Vision Center inside Walmart for a few bucks. However, any soft layered cloth should do the trick without damaging your display.

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