PDFpen 5

Today Smile announced the release of PDFpen, version 5. I’ve been running the beta for a few months and am impressed with the update.

  • It’s 64 bit and runs circles around my aging copy of Adobe Acrobat Professional 8. I don’t think there is anything better on the Mac for handling large PDFs.
  • Multi-core OCR, speedy text recognition.
  • Search, Replace, and Redact: Find your secret data and erase it.
  • Deskew. Fix botched scan jobs.

PDFpen is a great value at a fraction of Adobe Acrobat’s cost and the features us mortals need the most.

10 Comments PDFpen 5

  1. Editor@InklingBooks.com

    Those interested in buying might check out Smile's web page comparing this application with Adobe's Acrobat Pro costing about five times as much. That'll show what a good deal PDFpen is. The pro version of PDFpen does almost everything Adobe's does and a few things it doesn't. And those who are upgrading from the regular version might want to spend a mere $15 to more upgrade to the Pro version like I did. I've also found their support much better than Adobe's. With Adobe I sometimes get someone in India who insists on going by the book without deviation.

    I do have a few gripes with the UI. De-skewing is done by eyeing the text and adjusting a slider. The technique Graphic Converter uses, drawing a line across a page just under the text and making that horizontal is quicker and far more precise. Also, when a user scans a new image into a document, the application leaves the previous page selected rather than selecting the new one like I would expect.

    And while it creates PDFs with two layers: the scanned image and the OCRed text underneath, I've yet to find a way to redisplay the image once I have viewed the underlying text. Maybe I'm just stupid, but it seems there should be an obvious way to alternate between the two.

    It'd also be good if users could display both layers on screen at the same time to compare the scan with the OCR. That's the only real way to proof. Even better would be a text-to-speech option that would display the underlyng OCRed text in a scrolling window as it's read aloud and the user looks at the scanned image. Corrections could then be entered in that window.

    Scanning a book page at 150 dpi, I got a some errors. Scanning at 300 dpi, the page was perfect, which is quite impressive. For Intel Macs, Smile has licensed the mature technology of OmniPage and it seems to work quite well. But I use an older version of OmniPage and have yet to discover in PDFpen the export options that OmniPage offers, including exporting to a text file with line breaks removed but paragraph breaks included. Without that, it's not a full-featured OCR program, just one for creating OCRed PDFs from scanned texts–the sort of thing lawyers do.

    And that's a good way to look at PDFpen. It does almost everything people in law and business want to do with PDFs and does it well and inexpensively. But for those wanting to turn long printed documents into digital text for reformatting, it's not a replacement for a dedicated OCR program.

    Reply
  2. Editor@InklingBooks.com

    Those interested in buying might check out Smile's web page comparing this application with Adobe's Acrobat Pro costing about five times as much. That'll show what a good deal PDFpen is. The pro version of PDFpen does almost everything Adobe's does and a few things it doesn't. And those who are upgrading from the regular version might want to spend a mere $15 to more upgrade to the Pro version like I did. I've also found their support much better than Adobe's. With Adobe I sometimes get someone in India who insists on going by the book without deviation.

    I do have a few gripes with the UI. De-skewing is done by eyeing the text and adjusting a slider. The technique Graphic Converter uses, drawing a line across a page just under the text and making that horizontal is quicker and far more precise. Also, when a user scans a new image into a document, the application leaves the previous page selected rather than selecting the new one like I would expect.

    And while it creates PDFs with two layers: the scanned image and the OCRed text underneath, I've yet to find a way to redisplay the image once I have viewed the underlying text. Maybe I'm just stupid, but it seems there should be an obvious way to alternate between the two.

    It'd also be good if users could display both layers on screen at the same time to compare the scan with the OCR. That's the only real way to proof. Even better would be a text-to-speech option that would display the underlyng OCRed text in a scrolling window as it's read aloud and the user looks at the scanned image. Corrections could then be entered in that window.

    Scanning a book page at 150 dpi, I got a some errors. Scanning at 300 dpi, the page was perfect, which is quite impressive. For Intel Macs, Smile has licensed the mature technology of OmniPage and it seems to work quite well. But I use an older version of OmniPage and have yet to discover in PDFpen the export options that OmniPage offers, including exporting to a text file with line breaks removed but paragraph breaks included. Without that, it's not a full-featured OCR program, just one for creating OCRed PDFs from scanned texts–the sort of thing lawyers do.

    And that's a good way to look at PDFpen. It does almost everything people in law and business want to do with PDFs and does it well and inexpensively. But for those wanting to turn long printed documents into digital text for reformatting, it's not a replacement for a dedicated OCR program.

    Reply
  3. Editor@InklingBooks.com

    Those interested in buying might check out Smile's web page comparing this application with Adobe's Acrobat Pro costing about five times as much. That'll show what a good deal PDFpen is. The pro version of PDFpen does almost everything Adobe's does and a few things it doesn't. And those who are upgrading from the regular version might want to spend a mere $15 to more upgrade to the Pro version like I did. I've also found their support much better than Adobe's. With Adobe I sometimes get someone in India who insists on going by the book without deviation.

    I do have a few gripes with the UI. De-skewing is done by eyeing the text and adjusting a slider. The technique Graphic Converter uses, drawing a line across a page just under the text and making that horizontal is quicker and far more precise. Also, when a user scans a new image into a document, the application leaves the previous page selected rather than selecting the new one like I would expect.

    And while it creates PDFs with two layers: the scanned image and the OCRed text underneath, I've yet to find a way to redisplay the image once I have viewed the underlying text. Maybe I'm just stupid, but it seems there should be an obvious way to alternate between the two.

    It'd also be good if users could display both layers on screen at the same time to compare the scan with the OCR. That's the only real way to proof. Even better would be a text-to-speech option that would display the underlyng OCRed text in a scrolling window as it's read aloud and the user looks at the scanned image. Corrections could then be entered in that window.

    Scanning a book page at 150 dpi, I got a some errors. Scanning at 300 dpi, the page was perfect, which is quite impressive. For Intel Macs, Smile has licensed the mature technology of OmniPage and it seems to work quite well. But I use an older version of OmniPage and have yet to discover in PDFpen the export options that OmniPage offers, including exporting to a text file with line breaks removed but paragraph breaks included. Without that, it's not a full-featured OCR program, just one for creating OCRed PDFs from scanned texts–the sort of thing lawyers do.

    And that's a good way to look at PDFpen. It does almost everything people in law and business want to do with PDFs and does it well and inexpensively. But for those wanting to turn long printed documents into digital text for reformatting, it's not a replacement for a dedicated OCR program.

    Reply
  4. Editor@InklingBooks.com

    Those interested in buying might check out Smile's web page comparing this application with Adobe's Acrobat Pro costing about five times as much. That'll show what a good deal PDFpen is. The pro version of PDFpen does almost everything Adobe's does and a few things it doesn't. And those who are upgrading from the regular version might want to spend a mere $15 to more upgrade to the Pro version like I did. I've also found their support much better than Adobe's. With Adobe I sometimes get someone in India who insists on going by the book without deviation.

    I do have a few gripes with the UI. De-skewing is done by eyeing the text and adjusting a slider. The technique Graphic Converter uses, drawing a line across a page just under the text and making that horizontal is quicker and far more precise. Also, when a user scans a new image into a document, the application leaves the previous page selected rather than selecting the new one like I would expect.

    And while it creates PDFs with two layers: the scanned image and the OCRed text underneath, I've yet to find a way to redisplay the image once I have viewed the underlying text. Maybe I'm just stupid, but it seems there should be an obvious way to alternate between the two.

    It'd also be good if users could display both layers on screen at the same time to compare the scan with the OCR. That's the only real way to proof. Even better would be a text-to-speech option that would display the underlyng OCRed text in a scrolling window as it's read aloud and the user looks at the scanned image. Corrections could then be entered in that window.

    Scanning a book page at 150 dpi, I got a some errors. Scanning at 300 dpi, the page was perfect, which is quite impressive. For Intel Macs, Smile has licensed the mature technology of OmniPage and it seems to work quite well. But I use an older version of OmniPage and have yet to discover in PDFpen the export options that OmniPage offers, including exporting to a text file with line breaks removed but paragraph breaks included. Without that, it's not a full-featured OCR program, just one for creating OCRed PDFs from scanned texts–the sort of thing lawyers do.

    And that's a good way to look at PDFpen. It does almost everything people in law and business want to do with PDFs and does it well and inexpensively. But for those wanting to turn long printed documents into digital text for reformatting, it's not a replacement for a dedicated OCR program.

    Reply
  5. Editor@InklingBooks.com

    Those interested in buying might check out Smile's web page comparing this application with Adobe's Acrobat Pro costing about five times as much. That'll show what a good deal PDFpen is. The pro version of PDFpen does almost everything Adobe's does and a few things it doesn't. And those who are upgrading from the regular version might want to spend a mere $15 to more upgrade to the Pro version like I did. I've also found their support much better than Adobe's. With Adobe I sometimes get someone in India who insists on going by the book without deviation.

    I do have a few gripes with the UI. De-skewing is done by eyeing the text and adjusting a slider. The technique Graphic Converter uses, drawing a line across a page just under the text and making that horizontal is quicker and far more precise. Also, when a user scans a new image into a document, the application leaves the previous page selected rather than selecting the new one like I would expect.

    And while it creates PDFs with two layers: the scanned image and the OCRed text underneath, I've yet to find a way to redisplay the image once I have viewed the underlying text. Maybe I'm just stupid, but it seems there should be an obvious way to alternate between the two.

    It'd also be good if users could display both layers on screen at the same time to compare the scan with the OCR. That's the only real way to proof. Even better would be a text-to-speech option that would display the underlyng OCRed text in a scrolling window as it's read aloud and the user looks at the scanned image. Corrections could then be entered in that window.

    Scanning a book page at 150 dpi, I got a some errors. Scanning at 300 dpi, the page was perfect, which is quite impressive. For Intel Macs, Smile has licensed the mature technology of OmniPage and it seems to work quite well. But I use an older version of OmniPage and have yet to discover in PDFpen the export options that OmniPage offers, including exporting to a text file with line breaks removed but paragraph breaks included. Without that, it's not a full-featured OCR program, just one for creating OCRed PDFs from scanned texts–the sort of thing lawyers do.

    And that's a good way to look at PDFpen. It does almost everything people in law and business want to do with PDFs and does it well and inexpensively. But for those wanting to turn long printed documents into digital text for reformatting, it's not a replacement for a dedicated OCR program.

    Reply

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