PDFpen and PDFpenPro 13


There’s a new update to PDF editing app PDFpen and PDFpenPro. The new version has a new interface and toolbar. You can still add text, images, signatures, highlights, and comments to your PDFs, and make changes, fix typos, fill out forms, and redact sensitive information, but Smile has put out an intuitive new interface, which improves navigating and editing PDFs, with convenient access to essential tools directly from the Toolbar. They’ve also redesigned and improved highlighting, so now you can select and edit custom highlight colors directly from the Toolbar.

One thing that I like about this update is the new MRC compression settings. We get more flexibility in controlling file sizes because we can choose between compression or quality settings and what file size is right for us.

If you have PDFpenPro, Smile has improved the ability to replace Table of Contents entries. With this update, you can re-assign existing entries that have changed, which saves you time and makes documents more professional and navigable. When wearing my lawyer hat, I add table of contents entries for anything that lands in front of a guy wearing a black robe, and that process is easier with this update.

PDFpen 11

Recently, Smile Software released the most recent version of PDFpen (now 11) for Mac. PDFpen has been a long time sponsor of the Mac Power Users so you can take this how you will, but I also use PDFpen every day in my law practice. I love how it can take a basic PDF document and apply optical character recognition and, even in a pinch, convert it to a workable Word document. It’s a tool I use almost daily. With the new version we got some nice new features:

– Split-view mode for editing

– New Font Bar for expressive font control

– Import scans from Continuity Camera

– Customize page-number locations

– Add multiple items to the Library at once

– Adds option to turn off guides

– Adds Medical/Legal dictionaries for OCR (English language)

You can learn more over at Smile Software.

PDFpen Version 10


PDFpen for Mac continues to improve. Today Smile released version 10 with several new features:

  • Adds watermarks
  • Insert Headers & Footers
  • OCR multiple documents in batch (PDFpenPro only)
  • New Precision Edit tool selects, moves, resizes and deletes line art and text
  • Improves move & resize of images
  • Enhances page number styling
  • Adds larger Library item view
  • Prettier drawing colors
  • Adds context menu options
  • Various improvements and fixes

My favorite new feature is the watermark function. I am kind of particular about the typography in my watermarks (surprised, right?) and now I can import and create my Futura based all-caps watermarks to my heart’s content. 

The app also got attractive new icons. Learn more about PDFpen 10 from Smile.

Finally, there’s a screencast from yours truly.

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