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Thread: Use PDF Revu to take notes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default Use PDF Revu to take notes

    Iím a physics and mathematics student in Germany and use PDF Revu together with a Fujitsu tablet PC.

    PDF Revu is my most used program, I use it to take notes, view PDF files, annotate them and also edit them. Sometimes I also use it to collect informations (snapshot tool), create drafts or measure some things.

    When I first got my tablet PC and started to study I tried to use the common note taking tools like Microsoft Windows Journal and Microsoft Office OneNote. Both have their pros and cons, however, none of them satisfied me. Sharing my notes with friends who donít own a tablet PC was a hassle because of the used proprietary format, printing my notes and learning with them really cumbersome and annotating scripts, books and other stuff published in PDF format is more than cumbersome with those programs. I also missed a lot of tools which made taking notes really difficult sometimes and finally the bugs, especially of ON which destroyed the notes sometimes, crashed too often, Ö drove me crazy.
    Because I searched a tool to read books, annotate them and edit them I investigated a lot of time in testing different PDF annotating tools. Acrobat is almost useless on a tablet PC with pen input. So I tried Grahl PDF Annotator which also didnít satisfy me because it uses a proprietary method to store the annotations and at all, the performance and available features are sub-optimal. Finally I tried PDF Revu. Soon I noticed how powerful it is, how many features and tools it offers. And I also noticed what I miss in the other above named note taking applications. Finally I tried to use PDF Revu not only as a PDF viewer/editor but also to replace OneNote with PDF Revu. It wasnít easy and it didnít work out at the beginning. PDF Revu had and still has difficulties with huge markup lists, it had a lot of annoying bugs and I also missed some useful features here and there. However, I found ways to by-pass the issues (like flatten markups), Bluebeam fixed a lot of those bugs and integrated a lot of further features which made it more and more perfect for me, and I constantly learned how to use PDF Revu more effectively.

    So here it is how I use PDF Revu to take my notes with it now:

    First of all I need a blank PDF file on which I can take my notes. Because I also like to have a pattern on which I can write I created a template PDF file which contains 60 blank pages with a grid in a separate layer. 60 pages, because more and the PDF file gets too huge and saving the file and processing it with PDF Revu too CPU consuming. The page size is a custom size and smaller than the standard ISO-A4 format, which is common in Europe. I selected a custom size which allows me to take my notes at a 100% zoom level on my tablet PC, while using correct DPI settings in PDF Revu, and which also allows me to do other tricks, later
    Now I take my notes on this template with PDF Revu. In my tool chest I have several different pens with different color and size, different tools like arrows, lines, or other stuff. For large headlines I add a textbox and enter the text with the Tablet Input panel, else I just write down my notes with my pen. I use the bookmarks to mark on which day I took the notes and also to add a table of contents.

    If the 60 pages are full, I just create a second PDF file and continue.
    So at the end of the semester I have about 4 or 5 PDF files containing my notes I took in the lecture for a single lecture. I merge all of them and create a large single PDF file.
    Whenever I want to share my notes with friends I either just send them my PDF file, which I first print with a PDF Printer to drastically reduce the PDF file size, or I do a little post processing on special files (lecture notes):
    I print the pages with a PDF printer on an ISO-A4 page. Because my initial pages are smaller, I have a large border around my notes. I use the crop function in PDF Revu to reduce the margin, with different settings for odd and even pages. Then I use the headers and footers function to add page numbers, with different setting for even and odd pages again. Sadly using this method I lose all the bookmarks. To circumvent this, in my last step I open the original PDF document containing my bookmarks and replace the PDF pages with them from my post-processed document, while keeping the bookmarks. Thatís the final file, ready to get shared with others.

    At the end of the semester I finally create the final book of my lecture notes. To do this, I export the bookmarks with a custom written script in Adobe Acrobat, import them in Excel, post process them and create a nice looking table of contents. Print it as a PDF and add it to my notes.
    The final document is ready to get printed both-sided on paper and bound to a book, which makes learning with it a joy.

    You may ask why I bother with printing my notes to paper. Well, having the notes digital is nice and great but not always useful. Working together at a table with friends is just awkward with a tablet PC. And having the lecture notes printed on paper is easier for the eyes, less heavy than a tablet PC, and I have more space available than on a single 12Ē display on which I have to fit my lecture notes, other notes, other sheets, Ö

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    Hey Frank,

    That's awesome! I'm sure there are many other tablet users who'd love to learn Revu to it's fullest potential.

    Thanks for the write up!