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