TrialPad is an app for your iPad that allows you to “present” PDFs on screens. What is unique about this program is that you can, in real time, annotate the documents for the jury, class or audience. Annotations can consist of highlighting with yellow boxes, writing in a red felt tip marker or redacting with white boxes. Also, you can smoothly zoom in and out of relevant portions of documents to emphasize the information or idea.

It took me a while to really try out and review this program. When it first came out, there were some issues that I thought needed to be addressed before I really gave it a review. The developer addressed those issues. Now, I have had an opportunity to use TrialPad in Court and in class to teach students. I will walk through some of the basics of organizing client or project folders, importing the documents and how to annotate them in “real time” on the projector.

You can learn more by watching some how to videos posted by the company.

My quick opinion…TrialPad is a professional and hi-tech way to present and focus information for an audience in real time. However, with ANY [trial] presentation software, you must practice with the projector on in real time before any actual presentation.

Don’t forget, you will need the Apple VGA Adapter dongle to connect your iPad to the projector. (I am writing this on the eve of the availability of the iPad 2 and would caution the user to determine if a different adapter will be needed and work with TrialPad on the new iPad 2)

(You can click on any of the images below to make them larger. For the sake of saving space, a small image is shown within the review.)

Open Cases or Project Folders

You are presented with an intro folder to allow you to become familiar with working with Trial Pad. Open this folder to read the user guide.

To create a new folder, tap + new case. Then, you can edit and type in a short case name and enter additional information in the space below. Tap done to finish creating your first folder.
It is helpful to organize your cases or projects by folders. On the outside of the folder, you can name it and add additional information in the lower box.

The above is an example of the kind of information you may want to enter about a folder.

User Interface Clean and Simple
You will quickly see that the way you hold the iPad will determine whether the additional column of information about the other documents you have available will be visible. In portrait mode, only the document and some tools will be available to you. In landscape mode, the document list will appear on the left and the document preview to your right. If you have a multipage PDF, you can scroll through the PDF with the drag bar on the right to get to the page you want to see within the PDF.

Along the top, you will see the annotation tools available.

The first one on the left allows you to rotate the document.
The next tool (pen with line) is a highlighter. This highlighter tool allows you to tap to draw a rectangular yellow highlighter box.
The next tool is a pen. This tool lets you draw a red felt marker anywhere on the pdf.

The next tool is a redaction tool. It works like the highlighter box but is white. This allows you to obscure information from the document.

The last tool is the flame or hot doc tool that allows you to save the edited image for quick reference. The Hot Doc document you have drawn on and selected becomes available in the project folder for future easy reference. Basically, a picture is taken of the document with the annotations made at that time.

At the bottom of the page are some additional tools.

Undo, located at the far bottom right allows you to undo the last annotation. Clear wipes away all annotations made to that page.
You can turn the image to the projection on and off by selecting the on/off output option. The gear has a couple of other settings.

Importing Documents – Dropbox Integration
Easy Dropbox integration exists to import PDFs into TrialPad. You need a free Dropbox account.

Once you have set up your Dropbox account, drag the PDFs you want to import into TrialPad into the appropriate Dropbox folder on your computer. Let the sync work.
In TrialPad, tap on the Dropbox icon on the home screen. It is located at the bottom. Select the folder where the PDFs you want to import are located.
Next, tap “Select Files or Folder” and tap on the circles to select the materials you want to import into TrialPad. Tap “Import Selected Files and Folders” and TrialPad will import those items. You can then select which case or project folder you want the documents to be placed into. Tap done. Now, tap the case or project folder to see the imported PDFs. (make sure you are in landscape mode to see the document list on the left)

You are now ready to connect the output dongle to the projector and present.

Play around with pinching and zooming the area of the document that you want your audience to focus on. The movement is smooth and clean.

Again, as with any software you use to present to an audience, you must practice using the tools and become comfortable using them. DO NOT try this or any other presentation program live for the first time without any practice.

If you present to groups of any kind, this tool is a unique addition to your arsenal. It has instant benefits. In real time, you can annotate and highlight important information on materials you are showing to your audience. Additionally, the annotations made in real time can be saved to the hot docs area for quick reference later.
RIght now, you do not have the ability to choose different color markers or thicknesses. I would think those would be in future versions. Also, it is not apparent that the program works with documents that are not PDFs. (JPEG, PNG, etc.)

If you are in the market for a tool to make real time presentations on documents, look no further. I recommend you check it out.