How to Mark Up PDFs on Your iPad

Last Updated Nov 30, 2010 1:13 PM EST

The PDF is a business mainstay, a way to preserve and share documents while keeping them pristine and secure. Of course, there are times when you want to be able to mark them up, to add notes, highlights, drawings, and the like.

Most desktop PDF readers will let you do that, but until recently, most iPad readers wouldn't. Now there's a smattering of elegant, powerful apps that let you mark up PDFs on your iPad. Here are three worth checking out:

GoodReader The bargain of the bunch at $1.99 (and currently sale priced at just 99 cents), GoodReader has long been one of the iPad's most popular document viewers. A recent update added PDF annotating, highlighting, and markup capabilities.

iAnnotate PDF Stocked with more features than just about any other PDF reader, iAnnotate PDF (below) offers perks like tabbed viewing (for quickly switching between multiple open documents), VGA output (for connecting your iPad to an external display), and a boatload of drawing, stamping, and other markup tools. Price: $9.99.

PDF Expert Recently updated and much improved, PDF Expert (pictured) now allows you to fill in scanned forms and sign documents with a "stamp" signature. It's another pretty killer deal at just $1.99.

I haven't tried all of these readers myself, so I'll withhold judgment as to which one is best. (If you have any opinions on the subject, please share.) I will say that any one of them will add a lot more business value to your iPad, and for a price that's hard to beat.

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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.