Good Reader on the iPad has two forms of annotating PDFs:

  1. You can press and hold a location, and press Note to create a note icon with an annotation.
  2. You can select text, and then press highlight. You can then tap the highlighted text and press open to add a text annotation to this highlighted text.

I sent an annotated PDF to my mac via email. Preview handles the first annotations very well by displaying an editable note. The problem is with the second form of annotations. While Preview does show the highlighted text, there doesn't seem to be a way to easily modify, view, or copy the annotation that goes along with that text.

If I hover over the text, I can see the annotation text that goes along with the preview. What I would ideally like to do is one or more of the following:

  • Identify which highlights have text or don't have text. Currently it is very difficult to know if a highlight has text or not. The only method I know of is to hover over the text and see if it contains a tooltip or not. Ideally I want the annotations list on the right panel to show me which highlights have text annotations.
  • Copy the text from the annotations. It's currently located in a tooltip which cannot be selected.
  • Modify the text in the annotations, e.g. using the same interface that normal text annotations can be modified.
  • Convert these highlighted text annotations to the standard text annotations that Preview handles well.

1 Answer 1


Probably this is not possible with Preview, but there is another (free) PDF reader that allows you to do this (at least your first three points, don't know about converting into another annotation kind): Skim.

After you've opened your PDF in Skim, you can choose Convert Notes... in the File menu. Then you have all your notes from Goodreader in the drawer panel on the right.

  • +1 for Skim... it doesn't give me exactly what I was looking for, but it does have more options than Preview.
    – Senseful
    Commented Feb 15, 2011 at 8:18

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