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Best ANDROID markup software:
XODO (FREE) – 9/10Based on 450,000+ reviews
Free, and therefore right up there with favourability, XODO is a good alternative to ezPDF. It’s not as easy to use, and that’s why it gets a worse score, but there is one advantage XODO has over ezPDF; it can be used across devices. All you need to do is set up an account and you can use the android app or go online (through your computer, iPad, phone or any internet-enabled device (including your smart TV)) and you can pick up where you left off. Great for those who want multiple devices.
Pattern Keeper ($10.50) – 9/10Based on 100,000+ reviews
This app is still in beta, however has still been downloaded and reviewed over 10,000 times. It works with any pdf and has a great list of tools. It tracks stitched and unstitched threads, you can track the use of the parking method (the only app to do so), count how many threads are left, and it combines pages of patterns into one large pattern for you. I cannot recommend this app enough. It initially looks like a free app, but be aware, the trial ends after 2 weeks, and it costs just over $10.
Markup R-XP ($9) – 9/10Based on 136 reviews
Whilst Markup R-XP is a relatively new player, they have quickly shot up as a great app. They operate much like other mark-up apps, however unlike others, they offer a suite of tools that are perfect additions. Our personal favorite is the pattern scanner; simply take a photo of your pattern and it automatically identifies the pattern and converts it to a pattern you can mark up! PatternKeeper appears to be much more favoured by cross stitchers, but R-XP has a great set of tools which most prefer if they give it a try.
Foxit (FREE) – 8/10Based on 179,000 reviews
Foxit is a great app for editing pdfs on the go, however, it’s built with that purpose, and therefore doesn’t easily control cross stitch markups. It still works, its free, and its great at opening any PDF, however, the app is considerably larger than the alternatives, and it’s just not as good on our tests.
ezPDF ($4) – 4/10Based on 25,800 reviews
Frankly, ezPDF has everything you want from a markup app. It’s lightweight (doesn’t take up too much space on your tablet/phone), can open any pdf with ease, and its mark up tools appear to be designed especially for cross stitch. You can undo incorrect markups, even if they were from weeks previous, and the app saves as you go, meaning no mistake app closing losing your work. However with more and more bugs being reported, with no customer service, and a VERY questionable set of permissions required to use, it’s no longer as good as it once was.
Best iOS markup software:
iBooks (FREE) – 10/10Based on 1091 reviews
iBooks probably wasn’t what you were thinking when you read this list, but as a built in-app, it does everything you need a cross stitch mark up app to do. Not only is it built-in, therefore free, but it is lightweight, has an easy to use format, and saves as you go. It’s not fantastic at loading times but will open anything you throw at it.
Markup R-XP ($9) – 9/10Based on 89 reviews
Specifically made to be the best mark up app for cross stitchers, most agree that this truly hits the brief, however the only downside is a yearly subscription model, which many prefer not to have.
Cross Stitch Markup (FREE) – 9/10Based on 78 reviews
The new app from Ursa software (the makers of WinStitch and MacStitch) is a dream to us and is the ONLY app on this list specifically made for the purpose. It’s frankly, brilliant. But there is one big issue, and that’s its dependency on .chart files, a file format specifically made for the app. One day I’m sure they’ll be everywhere, but at the moment, finding a .chart is actually kinda hard.
Goodnotes ($12) – 8/10Based on 27 reviews
Goodnotes is a brilliant app, it’s on its 4th generation, its been made to do pretty much anything you can think of to a pdf with ease, and its a dream to use. But its also the most expensive app on the list. If you’re aching for a great app that’ll be supported for decades to come, Goodnotes is it, but with many free alternatives, I wouldn’t go with it for my first choice.
GoodReader ($8) – 7/10Based on 18 reviews
GoodReader is pretty much a carbon copy of Goodnotes, so the same applies from a review perspective, but with the lower cost comes less innovation. They’re always playing second fiddle to Goodnotes.
ezPDF ($2) – 2/10Based on 312 reviews
ezPDF reviewed with our android users as the best app by far, but with the iOS app, everything is different. Hard to install, barely works, late updates, large install file, and not as easy to use as the android version. I’m afraid ezPDF just lets the side down on iOS.
Best WINDOWS/Mac markup software:
WinStitch ($52 ($40 with discount)) – 10/10
Based on 1834 reviews
Use discount code LLWINWHG to save yourself $12/£10 when you buy!
WinStitch is expensive for a markup app, but its not a markup app. In fact, its a fantastic bit of software for making your own cross stitch patterns, it even reviewed as the best windows cross stitch pattern software. What makes it helpful however, is its also able to mark up cross stitch patterns. Unlike its iOS app brother, it can do it on all pdfs too. The issue; they should be made from within WinStitch to start.
XODO (FREE) – 9/10Based on 185 reviews
XODO is a great app, it’s a great online platform, and therefore, it’s great on PC or Mac. You see, so long as you have a login, you can access your patterns on any computer and pull up its great markup software. It’s easy to use, free, and fast.
Updated Jan 2023
This Post Has 18 Comments
is there a free trail period with Markup R-XP.
Yes, but its only 2 weeks long.
I’m in love with Knit Companion for iOS! It works with any PDF, and I’ve fallen in love with searching for symbols with one color “marker” and marking all completed stitches with another. It also has an automatic timer and let’s you view the chart legend at the same time as the chart. There is a version for Android, but it doesn’t have the same capabilities and isn’t as helpful for cross stitch.
Thanks for the heads up, we’ll check it out!
Will Pattern Keeper be available on iOS devices? It seems to have been in the planning for a long time now
There are a lot of hurdles to get over when making an iOS app, so it’s more complicated than Android.
I believe the plan is still to have an iOS version, but I think they might be trying to optimize the Android version first.
I love to cross stitch, but I am a novice with a computer. I would like a program that I can scan in my pattern and be able to highlight all symbols for the color I am working on. How do these programs handle multiple page patterns? Can someone recommend an uncomplicated program?
It sounds like you have paper patterns?
Can I ask what your phone is?
If you have an android phone, I think Markup R-XP is perfect for you.
I would love to get a mark up software, where you can search for symbols, so you don’t miss some of them while stitching.
I remember once upon a time I had a software that worked great for that. I assume it could have been GoodReader, but I’m not sure, as my Ipad is gone nearly a decade now.
Xodo doesn’t seem to be able to copy symbols and highligt them in the displayed page and I don’t have a clue what Ibooks could do.
Was hoping the reviews would give a clearer view, but I don’t know how to access them.
Could you help me out with that?
Thanks a lot!
All of the apps will do a search and highlight function, so you can use any, however, if that’s something you like, I would suggest patternkeeper.
It’s the only one that works specifically for cross stitch and works best for that kind of thing. It’s only on Android at the moment, but they’re working on an iOS version.
Thank you! I found out that you can use Patternmaker on Windows with Bluestacks. It works great, even if I had to get used to such simplified controls. You can highlight a color with search. If you imported the complete PDF-Chart it also tells you the floss number you need for that symbol, whats awesome if you have a lot of colors in your chart.
You have to switch to marking mode (or move mode, if you want to scroll a bit farther), but your chosen symbols stay highlighted and you can mark them comfortably and never have to worry about misclicks as you can’t mark accidentally different symbols. Only the highlighted one is markable.
You can also mark where you parked threads (even in which corner!).
After struggling with PDF annotations for so long, I’m in love. 🙂