PDFpen for iPad is Powerful and Simple to Use, Review


Smile software makes some of the mainstay apps I use on my Mac. Their PDFpenPro is an amazing application for working with PDFs and I’m honestly not sure what I would do without their TextExpander application. It lets me create shortcuts for terms, phrases and especially HTML code that I use all the time. Now, for example, if I want to put in the site’s URL instead of typing out the entire thing I simply type “ggd”. TextExpander sees it and replaces it with the address. There honestly isn’t a post or an email I writer where TE doesn’t jump in at least once or twice. And their TextExpander touch brings the same time-saving goodness to iOS!

That’s why I was pretty stoked to see the company release PDFpen for iPad. I bought a copy and thought we might take a look together.


From Smile:

READY TO HIT THE ROAD: WORLD-CLASS PDF EDITING: PDFpen for iPad, the mobile version of our award-winning PDFpen, lets you take control of your PDFs even when you’re not at the office.

COMPLETE SOLUTION FOR FULL-FEATURED PDF EDITING ON iPAD AND MAC: Together with PDFpen for Mac, you have an unbeatable combination. Store your PDFs in iCloud and you can edit them on your Mac!

FILL OUT AN APPLICATION, ADD YOUR SIGNATURE AND EMAIL IT BACK!: You don’t need to get back to your Mac to take care of important PDFs. Great for leases and job applications, whenever quick turnaround is a priority.

MAKE CORRECTIONS, FIX TYPOS, AND RESIZE OR DELETE IMAGES: If you need to change the price in a catalog or correct the spelling of your client’s name, you can do it even when you’re on the road.

STORE YOUR PDFS IN iCLOUD FOR SEAMLESS EDITING BETWEEN MAC AND iPAD: You can also retrieve and save your PDFs with Dropbox, Evernote and Google Docs. Wherever you go, your PDFs can go with you!

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The app offers all the power and flexibility you need to access and use PDFs on your iPad while not overwhelming you with buttons, tools and settings. Everything you need IS there but it doesn’t smack you in the face.

PDFs open in Page view. Swiping left or right advances the page and tapping in the middle will flip into full screen mode. It is simple, easy and actually kind of fun to use. With one tap you can pull up an overlay that lets you see, and jump to, all of the pages in the document.

Tapping the “Thumbnail” button shows you all the pages at once and, once you tap “Edit”, you can rearrange the pages as you like. Personally I never expected we would see this kind of powerful PDF manipulation on an iPad.

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You can also add images to your PDF with ease.

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The mark up tools are also simple and powerful.

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Highlighting, underlining, crossing out and even boxing text or images is more intuitive with PDFPen for iPad than any other PDF annotation app I have tried. For example, select underline and swipe over the words you want to choose and they are underlined. The thing is, you can swipe anywhere on those words and the underlining will be precise. It is a neat trick.

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The app also includes commonly-used proofing symbols to makes this faster and easier!

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You can also select a pen and sign your PDFs.

Finally, the best thing about this app (besides everything else that is awesome) is the integration with iCloud.


Yes, PDFpen for iPad lets you grab documents from a variety of sources such as DropBox and Evernote but then lets you keep them in iCloud if you like. For me that is over the top great since iCloud is increasingly the Cloud storage solution I prefer. You can get it here in the iTunes App Store.

MSRP: $9.99

What I Like: Easy to use; Powerful; Makes manipulating PDFs on the iPad simple; iCloud support

What Needs Improvement: Nothing, this is my PDF app of choice now.

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.