One of the most well known anatomy textbooks is Gray’s Anatomy. This textbook was first published in 1858 and has remained one of the best anatomy reference texts since.

Elsevier have released three versions of this venerable text in app format, Grays Atlas of Anatomy, Grays Anatomy for Students and Grays Anatomy Head and Neck.

When we reviewed our top anatomy apps for the iPad, we recognised that these apps had great potential but we had been unable to review them ourselves, until now.

This review will focus on Grays Anatomy for Students which is based on the textbook. Rather than focus on the content, this review will examine how effectively this venerable text has made the transition from print to digital. The first thing to notice when launching the app is the layout which is clear. Navigation is simple and straightforward and it is relatively easy to find information.

Once a section has been selected, the text is displayed with pictures appearing as inline links. I was impressed by the quality of the conversion with the text being a good size and with a responsive interface. Clicking on a picture brings up a large high resolution version which look good on the iPad’s screen. Each image can be enlarged using pinch-to-zoom while swiping to the left and right brings the next image in the series. Labels can be switched on and off allowing users to test themselves on their anatomical knowledge.


Another useful feature is the search function which had options for text and images. This was particularly useful when you wanted to quickly find an image but didn’t want to go through lots of text.

One major drawback is the lack of a landscape orientation. The text and images are all designed to be read with the iPad in portrait orientation; however, there were numerous times where I felt images could be better displayed if the iPad was in landscape.

Another frustration is the inability to copy text, although there is a robust note annotation solution included. It is simple to add a note which is then linked to that section and available to view from the contents page. It is not possible to annotate the images directly.

The other (minor) annoyance is the fact that if you click on an image reference in the text then it will display the image; however, when you go back from the image, it will return you to where the actual image is in the text rather than the location where you were reading.


  • $79.99


  • High resolution images with option to remove labels
  • Good user interface making it easy to read the text


  • No landscape mode
  • No ability to highlight text


  • This is the only up to date electronic version of this impressive resource. This app is an excellent example of how to transfer print to digital.
  • One or two minor issues do not detract from what is an impressive app. I would not hesitate to recommend this to my colleagues who wanted an electronic version of this textbook
iTunes Link