Posted in App

iAnnotate 4 – Improvements Galore

iAnnotate 4 icon

iAnnotate 4 is an upgraded version of the prior PDF annotation tool and viewer. This app allows you to read, annotate, and share PDFs, Office files and web pages. You can even use the app to highlight documents and insert stamps.

iAnnotate 4 All Devices

The newest version is a universal app so you can work on all of your iOS devices.

The annotation tools allow you to use the pencil, highlighter, underline, create a note, shapes and more to mark up your PDFs. You can even use pop-up comments.

If you use the iPad Pro, you can use the app in multitasking mode, use the keyboard shortcuts with an Apple keyboard and the app has auto Apple Pencil detection. The multitasking mode allows you to do things like listen to music or work with other apps side by side. If you hold down the command button on the Apple keyboard, you can see a list of keyboard shortcuts.

Iannotate screenshot toolbars

There are side toolbars that you can customize for different uses.

Webpages can be annotated by opening a web page in a tab in the app. Then, clip it to PDF and mark it up.

You can share your flattened PDFs via text message, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

The document saves its state when you switch tabs and when you close them out you will have a chance to save the changes you have made.

Cloud support includes OneDrive for business and iCloud support too. To access the extra storage options, click on the red plus sign in the bottom right corner. Then, tap on “Add Storage.” You will be presented with several cloud services you can tap on to add. Once iAnnotate is given permission to talk with the cloud service, you should see the folder structure from that service present.

Once you open a document, you can tap on the magnifying glass icon to search for words in the PDF.

The latest update introduces Offline Access, allowing you to keep files on disk for use while you’re not connected. To use this feature:

1. Select a file or folder in one of your cloud connections
2. Choose Download for Offline Access
3. The app will save a copy that you can open anytime
4. You can close the tab to save back when you get back online.

If you are looking to mark up and read PDFs, you should enjoy using iAnnotate.

Posted in App

Procreate – Big Update Brings New Powers

Procreate Icon 3.0.2

Procreate, a powerful art app for your iOS device allows you to sketch, paint and illustrate app. This app is highly rated on the app store and is an Apple design award winner. There are a massive amount of brushes, layers and the resolution is very nice. The app works very well with the Apple Pencil too.

The updated version fixes various issues.

Procreate User Guide Cover Procreate User Guide

There is a 258 page guide for using Procreate available via the iBooks store. This is the official user guide and it is a great resource to learn more about the app.

If you are looking for a serious app to sketch, draw, paint, etc. check out Procreate.

Posted in App

MindNode Adds Better Integration

MindNode icon

MindNode, a universal mind mapping app has been updated to allow you to integrate with other apps. You can now:

  • send tasks to OmniFocus,
  • import documents from Markdown, MindManager, OPML and TaskPaper; and
  • Export to OPML and TaskPaper.

MindNode Shot Organizing

If you are not familiar with how mind mapping works, imagine outlining in a non-linear, non top down method. You can visualize your project, tasks, ideas, etc. from above without having to flip pages.

mindnode quick entry

One of the nice features of this app is the ability to use the quick entry methods above the keyboard to add nodes, tasks and more.

The app now works better with WatchOS2 so it does not require an iPhone for basic document browsing.

The following has also been enhanced and fixed:

• Deleting a node now selects the closest sibling instead of the parent
• Support importing the new iThoughts file format
• Improves layout during title editing of a main node
• Restores last scroll position between launches of the app even when the document wasn’t updated
• When a main node gets created as part of a cross connection creation, select this new main node
• Improves OPML import and export
• Consistent naming of document inspector across Mac and iOS
• Added shortcuts to copy (Cmd+Shift+Option+C) and duplicate (Cmd+Shift+Option+D) a single node
• Improves image preview
• Adds support for localized 3D-touch shortcuts
• Adds support for localized font traits
• Retains advanced text attributes when editing a document
• Honors the inherit style setting during pasting
• Improves transitions in document picker for deleting document, duplicating documents, renaming documents
• When leaving the app and an empty canvas was visible, ensure to scroll to a visible area when returning to the app
• Allow pasting of images in edit mode
• Don’t show font name in font trait picker
• Show print panel in the sidebar and not as new modal sheet
• Greatly enhances three-finger gestures

• Ensure all images are correctly exported
• Fixes an issue that prevented dragging of main nodes
• Don’t apply branch thickness when using “Apply Styles To Subnodes”
• Don’t animate cross connections when zooming out a large document
• When pasting a single node, don’t include outline formatting
• Improves the layout during text editing, when Smart Layout is turned off
• Correctly import rich text FreeMind documents
• Correctly update the node size when editing the title of an image-only node
• Removes drawing artifacts after folding large subtrees
• Ensure to remove drag shadow when dragging a node onto a folded node
• Retain advanced text attributes when changing font size
• Apply correct stroke width after pasting
• Fixes a bug that caused incorrect layout when changing the layout during text editing
• Fixes a bug that caused the registration of too many undo operations
• Prevent overlapping of main nodes during import.
• Fixes resizing of content using knobs
• Ensure parent task control and child task control have the same size
• Fixes a crash when importing FreeMind documents with connections
• Correctly update document title for new documents in navigation bar
• Ensure new documents appear in the recent list
• Correct layout when document picker is empty
• Don’t auto rename empty documents when the document was manually renamed
• Prevents the canvas menu to overlap the navigation bar
• Improves positioning of the action menu in document picker after rotations and iCloud updates
• Fixes an issue with asian character input
• Fixes a crash in document picker
• Improves document picker image loading
• Allow to close a document that was deleted on a different device
• Ensure the note button is disabled when editing a legacy document
• Fixes a crash that was caused by importing an unsupported older MindNode Pro document
• Show correct document title in navigation bar when the document contains several dots in it’s filename
• Fixes an issue related to a wrong text editor frame of an image-only nodes that have a note
• When showing the Link menu, tap again on the node to hide it
• Ensure “No Documents” hint in document picker is no longer displayed after adding a document

MindNode integrates with iCloud and allows you to work with the Mac version so you can work on the go on your iOS device and at the office on your Mac. Whether you are preparing an argument for court, drafting a document or studying for a test, MindNode will help you create a great outline to capture and organize your thoughts.

Posted in App

Gboard Keyboard – Search Built In

Gboard icon

Google has created Gboard, a keyboard app for your iOS device. The keyboard allows you to type as you would expect as well as use glide typing, a process of simply dragging your finger across the right keys to spell words. Of course, emojis are available as well.

Gboard Glide Type

The most interesting feature is that Google search is built in. You can type words that can be used as search terms on Google. When you hit send with your keyboard, you can search anything from Google without having to leave the keyboard app.

Gboard Screenshot Search

After your search, you can then send the results to the app using the keyboard.

Gboard Send Results

Because of privacy issues, Google states the following about the keyboard sends:

We know the things you type on your phone are personal, so we’ve designed Gboard to keep your private information private.

What Gboard sends to Google:
• Gboard sends your searches to Google’s web servers to give you search results.
• Gboard also sends usage statistics to Google to let us know which features are used most often and to help us understand problems if the app crashes.

What Gboard doesn’t send to Google:
• Other than your searches, Gboard doesn’t send anything you type to Google, whether it’s a password or chat with a friend.
• Gboard will remember words you type to help you with spelling or to predict searches you might be interested, but this data is stored only on your device. This data is not accessible by Google or by any apps other than Gboard.
• If you’ve turned on contacts search in Gboard search settings, this allows Gboard to search the contacts on your device so you can easily share. None of these queries are sent to Google.

When you download the app, you will have to give it access to certain information on your iOS device. This is similar to other keyboard extensions. If you have privacy concerns, this app may not be for you. To learn more about the app, you can visit this Google support page.


Posted in Commentary

Ulysses Wins Apple 2016 Design Award


Ulysses, a powerful writing app that has previously been reviewed here, has won an Apple 2016 design award. The app is available for iOS devices as well as the Mac. The Apple page says the following about the app:

“Ulysses was developed for creative writers, including novelists, students, journalists, and bloggers. A powerful text editor for Mac, iPad, and iPhone, the clean and uncluttered designed is optimized for writing without distraction, while empowering writers with tools to be productive during every phase of the writing process.

Ulysses was picked as an Apple Design Award winner because of its strong execution, and because it allows users to work on their device of choice while providing a consistent and device appropriate experience.

A fully featured app, Ulysses enables Fullscreen Mode, Dark Mode, and Minimal mode, and supports multitasking for Split View and Slide Over, 3D Touch, Sharing Extensions, Spotlight search, Handoff between devices, and iCloud syncing so writers can switch seamlessly between their devices at any time without their writing process being interrupted.”


Posted in App, Review

ScanSnap Cloud – Scan to the Cloud

ScanSnap Cloud icon

A new service offered by ScanSnap allows you to now scan items directly to cloud services without a computer. You will need to have an IX500 or IX100 ScanSnap scanner to use this feature, have your scanner connected to a Wi-Fi network with internet access and set up a ScanSnap Cloud account.

The steps for this new process are found below on this video. You will need to download a separate app for your Mac and update your scanner via USB cable first. A firmware update will be needed to update your scanner. You will need to setup a ScanSnap Cloud account using the app.

Once this service is activated, you will not be able to use Scansnap Manager, the app currently used to save scanned files directly to your computer. However, by turning off the service and reactivating ScanSnap manager, you will be able to scan directly to your computer again.

[Update: Make sure to run the various updaters for ScanSnap manager first as well.]

You can check on the status of your scans via your iOS device using this app.

ScanSnap Cloud Services Screenshot

You can now scan directly to your Evernote, DropBox or Google cloud services. As part of the setup, you can designate where different types of scans will go. The app is supposed to automatically separate photos, receipts, and documents and send them to different cloud services selected by you.

According to the developer, the new service promises to automatically deliver “scans from your iX Series ScanSnap to your favorite cloud services without the need for a computer or mobile device. It intelligently sorts data into documents, receipts, business cards and photos, then sends it to the cloud services of your choice. Scan directly to the Cloud, and access your files anytime, anywhere through partner applications including Dropbox, Evernote, Expensify, Google Drive, Google Photos and OneDrive. This app allows you to easily configure the settings for ScanSnap Cloud and view your scans.”

If you want to skip a step in your normal scan process to speed up the process of getting your scans into the cloud, check out ScanSnap Cloud.