Transcripts can come in many formats such as ASCII text, a PDF file or the E-Transcript format. If I am working with transcripts on my iPad, I prefer to work with a transcript in a text format that I can send to the fantastic TranscriptPad app or in a readable PDF format that I view and annotate in GoodReader. But sometimes you receive a file in the E-Transcript format, a file with ".ptx" as the extension. The E-Transcript format was originally created by RealLegal, which was acquired by LiveNote and is now owned by Thompson West. A long time ago it was possible to view a .ptx file on a Mac, but in recent years you have only been able to view a .ptx file using the E-Transcript Viewer software on a PC or other PC-only software. This changed a few weeks ago when West released Westlaw Case Notebook Portable E-Transcript, a free app that lets you view and even annotate .ptx files on an iPhone or iPad.
When you receive an email with a .ptx file attached, simply tap the attachment and choose Open in E-Transcript.
The transcript will then open in the E-Transcript app, and you can read the deposition on your iPhone or iPad. As you can see from these images, the app is not yet updated for the longer screen on the iPhone 5. Flick your finger to scroll through the document. Tap the information icon to get metadata regarding the transcript such as the name of the witness, the date, etc. If you want to search for a term, tap the magnifying glass. This brings up a screen where you can type a term, or you can scroll through a list of every term in the document along with the number of hits.
You can turn your iPhone to landscape mode to make the text larger.
You can use the app to annotate a transcript. Simply select some text and then you can copy, add a note, or highlight the text in yellow.
If you choose to add a note, the text is highlighted and a small green box appears next to the text for which there is a note. If you tap the bookmark icon at the bottom, you will see a list of all text that you have either highlighted or added a note to, with the note text indicated.
If you tap the Pg. icon at the bottom left, you can jump directly to another page by number. If you tap the button at the top left, you go back to the main screen of the app with a list of all depositions that you have stored in the app.
Unfortunately, the export options are very limited and you only have two choices. If you select Share with Notes, the app will create an email with a .xml file attached, and I believe that you need the Westlaw Case Notebook software on your computer to access the file. If you select Share without Notes, the app will create an email with the original .ptx file attached. There is no way to export the entire transcript as a text file or a PDF file, nor is there a way to export a version of the transcript with your annotations if you are not using Westlaw Case Notebook.
The above images are taken from an iPhone 5, but the app also works great on an iPad. The text is (obviously) larger and easier to read on an iPad, and windows pop-up on top of the transcript.
If you already use Westlaw Case Notebook to manage your litigation files, then I imagine that this app would be very useful. If you don't use that product, then I doubt that you will want to use this app to highlight a transcript because you have no easy way to export the file with your annotations. Even so, this is an app that every litigator should keep on their iPhone and iPad just in case they receive a .ptx file from a court reporter or another attorney. With this app installed, at least you can look at the transcript immediately without having to go to a PC or ask to have the file sent to you again in another format such as pure text or PDF.