PDF Annotator in practice

I used PDF Annotator in a lecture for the first time today. Mostly it worked fine. I had a bit of trouble with the circle tool due to lack of practice, and I also found it tricky to recognize the pen colours from their small icons without my reading glasses. But the main issue I have so far is that the hand tool pointer is rather small for on-screen pointing. When not recording it is probably better to point at the data projector screen (by some means), but of course this doesn’t work when recording lectures.
The PDF file produced is rather large: however it will probably be smaller once I “melt” the annotations permanently.
I asked some of the class after the lecture, and they couldn’t really distinguish Journal from Annotator (yet). But someone did suggest pointing physically at the big screen if I didn’t like using the software’s hand tool pointer.

11 responses to “PDF Annotator in practice

  1. – In fact the large file size probably came from my changing the quality settings in
    Extras->Settings->(SAVE > Quality)
    I had increased the setting here from 150 dpi to 300 dpi, but I am now changing this back.
    – Rather than the hand (pan tool) for pointing, you can use the current default windows pointer (by choosing the “select” tool). Here there is some choice over the pointer you get: for now I have gone for the
    Windows Standard (extra large) (system scheme).
    This option is available from the Mouse control panel, under
    I am going to see if I can find or download something even better.


    • Of the Windows standard schemes, I now think that Magnified may be the most visible.
      I then looked on google and obtained a bright green magnified pointer from http://www.bltt.org/accessibility/winxp/mouse_visibility.htm
      (provided free by senit.org)
      I shall try this one for a while.
      I expect there are even bigger ones available.
      That page also suggests the possibility of going for “pointer trails”, but I don’t like those very much.


    • I use PenAttention:


      Not a pointer, it highlights the mouse position with a configurable coloured disc.


      • Hi,
        This looks very interesting. I visited the page


        First I tried to download “Cursor Attention”, but I got a virus warning when I clicked on that link.

        The page you’ve been trying to access was blocked to prevent access to malicious web content which may attack your computer or to comply with University policy.

        Reason: Virus Detected! The page or file you requested is infected with the following virus: Backdoor.Win32.Hupigon.lesy.

        So I dare not download that. But I didn’t get any error from “pen attention”, so I will try it.

        Does anyone know whether the Cursor Attention page is genuinely infected?

        [From correspondence with Kenrick Mock, it looks as if this was probably a “False Positive”.]



      • I quite like the option in Pen Attention to use e.g. a long thin (horizontal) rectangle instead of a disc. But I would quite like to display this only when I am NOT writing. I am happy to switch to the hand for pointing, and if the hand could be reinforced by “red underlining” in this way I think it could be ideal.
        Alternatively, if there was a simple keystroke to toggle the highlighting on and off , that would be very helpful for me.


  2. Somehow the software I really want just doesn’t seem to be out there?
    All I want is some software that gives a very large arrow that follows the mouse pointer around, and which you can toggle on or off easily with one keystroke.
    bigmouse.exe comes close, but doesn’t toggle on and off in the way I want. It also tends to leave “debris” behind (at least on my computer).
    Pen Attention is again awkward to activate and deactivate, and does not have the option I want to make it visible only when I am NOT writing with the pen.
    I am currently trying Cursor FX out. This at least can be deactivated using a keystroke combination, so if I can program that into a tablet button this may be an option. Of,course I would need to buy Cursor FX plus to get the big pointers. Are there any free alternatives to this?


    • The toggle button is customizable here, so it can easily be programmed into a tablet button. Now if only there was a free equivalent!
      If someone can provide a version of EnorMouse with a toggle, that would be fine too.


  3. I’m not in Windows so have no idea if what I’m about to propose would do the trick, but the program called Enormouse at http://www.fxc.btinternet.co.uk/assistive.htm might be worth a try too. There might later be some way to hack it to toggle from a single key. Though if their picture is to be believed the cursor might even be too large for what you want.


  4. Pingback: High visibility pointers for teaching and screencasts | Explaining mathematics

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