Adobe Ac­ro­bat now has a se­ri­ous ri­val that’s also cheaper

Mac|Life - - Reviews - Car­rie mar­shall

$74.95 From Smile Soft­ware, smile­soft­ware.com Needs OS X 10.7 or later While ev­ery Mac can make sim­ple PDFs, edit­ing and in­ter­act­ing with com­plex PDF doc­u­ments can be an ex­pen­sive ex­er­cise: Adobe’s Ac­ro­bat Pro CC is $14.99 a month. If you’re work­ing in an en­vi­ron­ment that al­ready sub­scribes to Adobe’s Cre­ative Cloud you’ll have the Ac­ro­bat app al­ready, but if not you should try the trial of PDF­pen first.

At $74.95 it’s packed with pow­er­ful edit­ing fea­tures. It can ex­tract and edit text, dig­i­tally sign doc­u­ments, ad­just im­ages, scan and OCR doc­u­ments, and redact sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion. There’s also a Pro ver­sion at $124.95 that adds form cre­ation, web­site con­ver­sion, Port­fo­lio doc­u­ment cre­ation, and the abil­ity to cor­rect ty­pos in the OCR text layer. PDF­pen Pro can also OCR hor­i­zon­tal Chi­nese, Ja­panese, and Korean doc­u­ments.

And the lat­est ver­sion brings some wel­come im­prove­ments.

Split View en­ables you to work with mul­ti­ple bits of the same doc­u­ment at the same time. It works re­ally well, with real– time up­dates and ef­fec­tive nav­i­ga­tion: click in the thumb­nail or ta­ble of con­tents to nav­i­gate in the main panel, and op­tion-click to do the same in the sec­ond panel.

The new Font Bar makes it easy to see and edit the fonts in a doc­u­ment, and you can now edit form el­e­ment prop­er­ties for mul­ti­ple fields at the same time. Page num­ber­ing has been im­proved with new cus­tomiza­tion op­tions, you can now add mul­ti­ple items to your li­brary at once, and the side­bar has been given a freshen up.

PDF­pen now sup­ports iOS 12’s Con­ti­nu­ity Cam­era, which en­ables you to use your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad cam­era (run­ning iOS 12 or later) as a doc­u­ment scan­ner. Un­for­tu­nately, Con­ti­nu­ity Cam­era is flaky and sim­ply wouldn’t work for us.

It also now has dic­tio­nar­ies for general English, le­gal and med­i­cal ap­pli­ca­tions, and recog­ni­tion is fast and ac­cu­rate.

There’s a lot here to like, but we have a few nig­gles: the in­ter­face is a lit­tle drab, there’s a bit of a learn­ing curve, and you’ll need to cus­tomize the tool­bars to get rid of the wasted free space. But we have moans about Ac­ro­bat too. PDF­pen is a wor­thy and more af­ford­able al­ter­na­tive.

the bot­tom liNe. A pow­er­ful, af­ford­able al­ter­na­tive to Ac­ro­bat Pro for PDF edit­ing and doc­u­ment scan­ning.

PDF­Pen en­ables you to edit text, and re­size and re­po­si­tion im­ages in PDFs.

The new Font Bar makes it easy to see and edit font prop­er­ties in a doc­u­ment.

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