PDFpen for iOS Tutorial Videos

I recently did a series of seven tutorial videos on how to use PDFpen for iPad and iPhone. They're now available to watch at the PDFpen website and I think they're pretty good. Looking back, it's remarkable just how much my document review workflows have changed with the arrival of the iPad Pro. The combination of that big piece of glass with the Apple Pencil make it easy for me to review and annotate documents digitally. This is superior to my old method of printing it out and using a red pen and highlighter. Now I have way more annotation tools available and because the product is digital, it is easy to save, copy, and share. Another benefit I've noticed over time is how much easier it is to hold on to these digital annotations. I recently represented a client on a contract dispute and being able to look at my original annotations when the contract was signed last year was helpful.

Anyway, if you haven't looked into digital document annotation lately, watch these PDFpen videos. I've embedded one of them below.

PDFpen Version 9

Smile just released a new version of PDFpen for Mac. The new version adds several features including better annotations, linked files, better export options, a new "search and highlight" feature, line numbering, a new hand tool, better table of contents editing, and Asian OCR.

There’s a lot more. Indeed, so much more that I made a video for Smile.

PDFpen 7.1, Now with 100% More Deskew

PDFpen 7.1 got a nice update with some bug fixes and new features, including formatting options for page numbering and custom stamps. For me, the big new feature is the ability to auto-deskew when performing optical character recognition. Sadly, some of the people I work with aren't anal-retentive nerds and they often send me scanned documents that are more skewed than a cable news program. 

With version 7.1, PDFpen will now perform the OCR and then straighten the page using the OCR'd text as a baseline. That means when you go to highlight later, everything lines up, just right. This made me so happy that I made a video.

PDFpen Version 7 and Videos

Today Smile released version 7 of PDFpen for the Mac. I've been using the beta and particularly like some of the new features:

Signatures Tool

You can now add a signature field and then later sign a document using your track pad.

OCR Layer Support

I've always known of the mythical OCR layer in PDF files. Now PDFpen can display it. With PDFpenPro, you can even proofread and make changes to the underlying text layer. Boom.

Context Sensitive Editing Tools

Select some text, right click, apply.

Retaining Object Properties

I like my circles orange and my boxes red. Now PDFpen remembers that.

Export to Excel, PowerPoint, PDF/A

PDFpenPro added the ability to export to Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF/A. This is in addition to the export to Word feature that already exists.

I liked the beta so much that I agreed to make some videos for Smile that you can find right here. Below is my "What's New" video.

Transporter and PDFpen like Chocolate and Peanut Butter

I've heard from a lot of lawyers that want to use iPads for reviewing PDFs but are freaked out by the idea of storing client documents "in the cloud". Yesterday Smile and Transporter announced support in the PDFpen applications for Transporter storage. The result is that now you can store PDFs in your own private Transporter cloud and still access them on the go using PDFpen. Clever.


New From Smile: PDFpen Scan+


It's always fun unloading nerdy secrets and this one has been weighing on me. I've made no secret of the fact that I like to use optical character recognition in my PDFs and I've never been entirely happy with the options for pulling this off with my iPhone or iPad. Not anymore. 

Today Smile released PDFpen Scan+, an app designed to capture documents and images and turn them into OCR'd PDF images. I've been using it in the day job for a month and it works great.

The workflow is pretty simple:

1. Shoot a picture of a document, or look at an existing picture. 

2. Set borders and save to PDF. 

3. Apply OCR and watch the magic happen.  The application supports 16 languages.

The app will send the completed PDF with OCR to PDFpen or any other PDF-friendly app. You can also send it away via email or up to your cloud storage. PDFpen Scan+ is another outstanding app by an outstanding group of people. There is an introductory price of $4.99 but it is going to go up so get it now.

Also, here's a small video I made. 


PDFpen Sale

As promised, for the next two days you can get PDFpen 6 for $29.99 and PDFpenPro 6 for $39.99. I recommend getting it from the App Store for the iCloud support. I just purchased my copy of PDFpenPro. Because I know the developers, I could probably have asked them for a free promo code but I didn't. I plan on using the heck out of this software and in these days of $1 apps, I want to make sure that companies willing to put more effort into their products can stay in business. Anyway, that's enough of the soap box. It's a great app and now is your chance to get it at a great price. If you missed it before, here is a link to my PDFpen 6 screencast.

Buy PDFpen in the Mac App Store

Buy PDFpenPro in the Mac App Store

PDFpen Version 6

This weekend's Mac Power Users episode announced the pending release of PDFpen for Mac, version 6. I've been in the beta test and I really like this update. PDFpen has always been a great PDF solution on the Mac and this upgrade really improves upon it.

User Interface

The new tool bar and edit bar make performing quick edits much easier. Everything is accessible with one mouse click. The new icons are also all retina friendly and look great on my fancy MacBook Pro.

Screen Shot 2013-03-17 at 10.06.18 AM.png

Export to Word

I'm trying to figure out if I'm an edge case but I really love this new feature. Shady attorneys send me PDFs (when they should be Word or Pages documents) for review on a weekly basis. Now I can easily take the PDF, convert it to Word, and send it back to them with change tracking. I've already been doing this and they think I am some sort of dark wizard. This new feature does a really terrific job, capturing things like columns, graphics, and even some typography. This feature is worth the upgrade price alone.

Form Creation

Here is another great feature I didn't know I needed but now love. If you scan a form, you no longer have to manually add the form fill in boxes. PDFpen does it for you, with one button. (This is a Pro version only feature.)


Because the App Store doesn't provide for upgrade pricing, Smile is going to put the apps half off for the first 48 hours they are available in the App Store. That's $30 for PDFpen and $40 for PDFpen Pro. Buy it then. I'd get the Pro version because some of those features are really useful and at $40 it is a steal. You can do the traditional upgrade route through Smile but if you want iCloud support (I do), you'll need to buy it from the Mac App Store. (Both the version they sale directly on their web site and the Mac App Store version support Dropbox syncing.) Exactly when this sale starts is unclear. Last I heard, they are waiting for the green light from Apple. As soon as it does go on sale, however, I'll post and tweet about it. You're going to want to get in on this sale.

I love it when a software company delights me. This new version of PDFpen does just that. It takes a product that I already loved and makes it better (without screwing up the things I loved about it to begin with). Here is a video I made showing off some of my favorite new features.

PDFpen for iPhone Tutorial

A friend asked me why on earth I'd need a PDF app on my phone. Rather than explain briefly, I made a 40 minute video. Here is my soup to nuts explanation of how I use PDFpen for iPhone.

If you haven't bought the app yet, you should right now. Smile just dropped the price (for a limited time) on PDFpen for iPhone* to $2. (PDFpen for iPad* is also on sale for just $7.) Watch the video, buy the apps, tell your friends. You can't go wrong. 

* Affiliate link lining my pockets one nickel at a time.