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I'm having some trouble finding a simple platform for commenting, highlighting, and drawing sketches over academic papers.

Some (soft) feature needs:

  • Support for touch/stylus on Windows
  • Some way of keeping track of PDFs and groups of papers

I've looked at One-Note, which is fantastic for taking direct notes! But not so much for editing pre-existing PDFs and exporting them without some issues. I've also looked at some chrome extensions for PDFs but they always seem to be pretty finicky.

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I strongly suggest taking a look at Evernote which is primarily aimed at the academic world, it features depending on the selected plan:

  • Note taking with stylus support & audio notes
  • PDF storage, organisation & searching
  • PDF Markup
  • Office Support
  • Web Clipping
  • Sharing within groups, etc.
  • Collaboration
  • Cross Platform Support including Mobile
  • Web Interface & Applications
  • A lot more

There 3 plans:

  1. Basic (Free)
  2. Premium (Currently £4.99/month)
  3. Business (Currently 10.99/user/month)

But there are Free Trials, Student Discounts and I am reasonably sure that there may be some room for negotiation for Academic Institutions & Charities, etc.

Note: I am only associated with Evernote as a user of their services & software.

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Consider checking out Drawboard PDF. It has tabs for multiple documents open at once, excellent stylus support for annotations, and a great set of other markup tools you'd want when marking up academic papers by hand (comments, text and freeform highlighting, several underline styles, etc.) I use it for active reading scientific papers myself, and it feels like I can do everything I would do if I had printed out the paper and marked it up by hand. And more!

There's a free trial, though the full version is also well worth the $10 USD I paid for it.

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