There may not be many of us who do not need to handle PDFs, either to create them or simply read many of them. We've already covered how the humble, implied preview program included with the Mac is capable of delivering PDF files very well. But the more often you use PDF files and the more work you have to do with them, the more you need a dedicated app like PDFpen 1
This new update is important, but it does not fundamentally change how the apps work. Instead, the improvements are all about how to handle PDF files by making it easier to see what you are doing.
Accordingly, the title of this release is Split View. Just as you can in, for example, Microsoft Word, you can have two views on the same document. Whether next to or under the main view, you get this window in the second window of the document.
As with Word, it is useful because it means you can make some nice edits to page 9 in a PDF while referring to page 99 at the same time.
It is one of the features that is now here, you are surprised that it was not before – and surprised that you did not cling to it.
PDFpen 11 supports adding photos and scans via Continuity Camera. Notice the actual PDF file – it displays the current page plus others in the new Split View
PDFpen and PDFpenPro are about making these fine adjustments. If you can go back to the original document that PDF was made of, you should always. But when you can't or when you know you just want to make small corrections, PDFpen is a lifesaver.
All PDF programs like PDF Expert allow you to change the text of a PDF, but the PDFpen is among the clearest. You must know to select some text first, but once you have, Correct Text button is irresistible.
It is now also optionally associated with several controls. You can choose to display a font field that provides the same type of text formatting you want to get in the word processor. Select text, and then you can change the font, size, reason, and so on.
You have been able to make these changes in previous versions. And in practice there is a limit to how useful it can be because of how these apps have to perform minor operations to get the changes done.
If you have changed too much text on a PDF page, or if you have added too much text, the writing will not be neatly split on the next pages. It stays on what you are editing, so in practice you only have a tendency to change the odd word or maybe change the font to a short headline.
You can edit form clients send you. Notice the Font field, just above the PDF. It gives you quick access to word processor style controls
When you just make these small and occasional changes, it doesn't seem too big a benefit to get a font bar. Still, it is common to find that if you make a particular type of change to a PDF, do the same on others, so anything that gives faster editing is an advantage.
So, the controls have been shown clearly. Unless you do a lot of PDF editing in a given app, you'll struggle to remember which controls are. Having a renowned Font Bar in the same place helps all the time.
More at a time
PDFpen comes with a library opportunity that means you can post, tell your company logo and have it available to you in all future documents. Add that logo to one document, select it and you can add it to this library.
However, you can now select multiple items and add them all to your library at the same time. They enter as a single set, so if you select two or ten elements of a page, they are added to the library as one piece. In the library's thumbnail you can even see that the items are all placed as they were in the document.
And you have to paste them all into a future document at once. But when they're all on the page, you can delete, move and resize these library items as needed.
Likewise, you can now select more than one item in a PDF form and make adjustments to them all at once.
Also new in both PDFpen 11 and PDFpen Pro 11 is the ability to add page numbers to a PDF document and place them accurately. You can specify their actual position on a given page, but you can also specify which pages should or should not have numbers.
This is really right on the border between when to rotate with a PDF editor and when to return to the original Page or Word document. But once you've done everything else in your PDF file and just realized you forgot the page numbers, it's a quick and convenient bean.
It is also very useful if you actually make a PDF from scratch in PDFpen or PDFpenPro.
PDFpen 11 now gives you precision controls over where to place page numbers.
When you do, you also get the advantage that PDFpen supports macOS Mojaves Continuity Camera. From this Mac app you can choose to take a photo or make a scan on the iPhone or iPad. Take the picture, scan, and the image is sent directly into the PDF document.
The new features of this update are the same in both standard PDFpen 11 and PDFpenPro 11. Pro version has several options for creating forms and other documents, as well as containing OCR.
After scanning a document, you also get the PDFpen's ability to OCR text. OCR sometimes feels that it is still a dark art, but in the test, the PDFpen was accurate and it felt faster than previous versions as well.
Then the PDFpenPro 11 lets you create interactive forms that you can send to recipients. They can then click on buttons or enter details, and there is a way for you to gather all that information in one place, even if we didn't test it.
More useful to some users, the Pro version can add bookmarks to the PDF file and also create a table of contents.
It's really trying to make this PDF app as full-fledged as a word processor, just one that has to deal with the strict limitations of the PDF format.
What is available
PDFpen 11 and PDFpenPro 11 are Mac apps, but there are two companion iOS devices. It's still a confusing family because the iOSs aren't any iPhone equivalent to the standard and Pro apps.
Instead, the two are separate ones where one is a PDF editor and the other is a scan app.
It would be much clearer if they were combined, but for now the PDFpen 4 – PDF Editor is $ 19.99 on the App Store. And PDFpen Scan + with OCR, PDF text export is $ 6.99.
The PDFpen 11 for Mac costs $ 74.95 directly from the developer or from the Mac App Store.
The PDFpenPro 11 for Mac is $ 124.95 from the manufacturers or from the Mac App Store. There is a free trial on the same site.