GoodReader tools make working with files a snap

Paul Strobeck takes a close look at a few handy features of the GoodReader app. Find out why GoodReader is one of his go-to tools when working with enterprise files on the iPad.

In a previous post, I provided an introductory view of the GoodReader app for the iPad and promised to follow up with a piece about some of the specific features and ways that we're using GoodReader to work with files in our enterprise environment.

The annotating capabilities of the GoodReader app are very rich. After you open a document, just tap the center of the screen to bring up the annotate toolbar and the main menu toolbar (Figure A). Figure A

GoodReader app toolbars.

The annotate toolbar appears on the right side of the screen, and you can pin it to the edge by tapping the pin icon. It contains the following tools: Add Bookmark, Typewriter, Popup Note, Highlight, Underline, Squiggly, Strikeout, Line, Arrow, Rectangle, Oval, and Freehand. The main menu toolbar appears on the bottom of the screen, and it has several additional tools to work with your file, which I'll discuss later in this post.

First, let's take a closer look at a few of the GoodReader annotate tools.

Add Bookmark

To add a bookmark, you can either select the bookmark icon from the annotate toolbar or the main menu toolbar. When you create a new bookmark, a box will open and display the keyboard so that you can give the bookmark a name (Figure B). Figure B

Give your bookmark a name.
To view or go to a specific bookmark, tap the bookmark icon from the main menu toolbar. To edit a bookmark, tap the right-facing arrow next to its name (Figure C). Figure C

Edit a bookmark by tapping the right-facing arrow next to its name.
If you want to delete a bookmark, swipe its name, and the right-facing arrow will change to delete (Figure D). Figure D

Delete a bookmark.
Almost all of the annotate tools have similar sub-menus. The first time that you use an annotate tool to modify a file, you'll be prompted with a message (Figure E). You must make a choice to create a copy or save your changes to the existing document. I usually create an annotated copy, as I always like to have access to the original file. Figure E

Save changes or create a copy.


Another tool I frequently use is the highlighter, and it's as simple as dragging your finger or stylus across the text. The first time you use this tool, you'll be prompted with the following message (Figure F). Simply tap OK. Figure F

Using the highlight tool.
To keep the highlight area, tap Save. If you make a mistake, you can tap Undo. You can also completely back out of the highlight tool by tapping Cancel (Figure G). Figure G

The highlight options.
I've included a screenshot of the message that explains how to delete a highlight (Figure H). Figure H

You can also delete a highlight.
To modify the highlighted area, just tap on the highlighted text (Figure I). You can bring up the annotate toolbar by selecting Main Menu, change the color of your highlight, copy the text to the clipboard for use in another application, open to add a note onto the highlighted text for future reference, or delete the highlighted text completely. The delete option requires an additional step, just to make sure that you really want to delete the highlight, which is a nice safety feature. Figure I

The highlight sub-menu options.


The final annotate tool I want to discuss and is the freehand tool. I frequently want to markup a PDF file using my stylus as I'm reading through a document. I like the flexibility of this freehand tool, because I can draw a line, circle, box, or any shape I want to annotate the document. In the example below, I used the freehand tool to draw a circle around one of the three boxes I wanted to flag for future review.

Similar to all of the other annotate tools, when you select the freehand tool to draw, a sub menu will appear (Figure J). This particular sub menu allows you to change the color, opacity, line point size, plus Cancel, Undo, and Save. Figure J

Freehand options.
To edit a freehand annotation, just tap on the object (Figure K). From the resulting edit menu, you can bring up the annotate toolbar by selecting Main Menu, select all of the text on the current page (this bypasses the drawn freehand object and brings up an additional annotate sub menu), open to add a note to the object, move the object to another position, delete the object, plus change the object's opacity, color, and point size. Figure K

Freehand sub-menu options.

Main menu toolbar

As I previously mentioned, when viewing or annotating a document in GoodReader, the main menu toolbar on the bottom of the screen (Figure A) has some additional features and tools for working with files, including:
  • Day/Night mode to adjust the brightness of the screen
  • Go Back button to return to the previous page
  • PDF Reflow (Extract Pure Text) feature that extracts pure text from a PDF page to comfortably read it without left/right scrolling and with the font size of your choice
  • Rotate a file
  • A configurable Double-Page Layout button
  • Crop margins button to get rid of unnecessary page margins that occupy precious screen space
  • Locations feature to access your named bookmarks etc.
  • GoTo Page button
  • The find text, search button
  • Lock page
  • Horizontal Scroll Lock button
  • The Actions button
  • The lock screen temporarily button

The bottom menu will change, depending on the type of file you're viewing in GoodReader. I highly recommend utilizing the help feature of the app to gain better knowledge and understanding of what the app is capable of doing with your files.

I hope I've piqued your interest in the GoodReader app. Its power and flexibility makes working with different types of files a pleasure on a tablet. I only covered some of the tools and focused specifically on annotating a PDF file. There's a lot of "good" in this app, and it's become one of my go-to tools when working with enterprise files on the iPad, because it's powerful, inexpensive, and simple to use.