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Tip: Control Object Layering in Preview

When you add text boxes and shapes to an image, they’re added in layers corresponding to the order in which you created them. For example, a rectangle created after a text box will obscure the text if you position it over the text, which may not be desirable. Other graphics apps tend to have Bring Forward and Send Backward commands to rearrange objects, but Preview lacks any such controls. Here’s the workaround: Option-drag the bottom shape to create a duplicate, which is newer and thus will appear on top of any other object. After making and positioning the duplicate, you can delete the original object.

Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

PDFpen 2.5 for iPad & iPhone Adds Support for Digital Signatures and Audio Notes

The recent update of PDFpen for iPad & iPhone to version 2.5 adds support for validating digital signing certificates, as well as the ability to play and record audio annotations and to view PDF file attachments, all features that were introduced with PDFpen and PDFpenPro 8 on the Mac. In addition, the updated iOS app now supports the Apple Pencil.

The 34.5 MB update is available for download from the App Store on your iOS device.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

Confused About Digital Signing? You Won’t Be After This MacVoices Interview!

In my interview with Chuck Joiner about the latest edition of my PDFpen book on MacVoices, we discussed in detail one of PDFpen 8’s new features: support for digital signing certificates, which allow you to guarantee the authenticity of a document. But we didn’t just talk about certificates: PDF portfolios, file attachments, and audio annotations are all newly supported PDF features in PDFpen 8, and we talked about all of them. So, if you have 42 minutes to spare, tune in and learn what else PDFs can do in addition to presenting print-ready documents on screen.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

Maintaining Your Mac Erratum

The “RAM Usage Meanings” sidebar on p. 103 of Maintaining Your Mac needs updating, because OS X no longer labels RAM as “Active” or “Inactive.” I’ll address this, along with a number of other minor changes, in version 1.1 of this book, which I plan to release as a free update in mid-2016.

Posted by Joe Kissell (Permalink)

Glenn Cuts Us All Some Slack on MacVoices

It’s rare when an author shows up with two books to discuss on MacVoices, but Glenn (who can sometimes talk twice as fast as normal humans) was up to the task, helping to lead Chuck Joiner through both the basics of Slack and some of its administrative features in his discussion of his latest duology, Take Control of Slack Basics and Take Control of Slack Admin.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

Should You Upgrade to PDFpen 8?

I’m happy to see Smile continuing to improve PDFpen. Here’s a look at what’s new:

  • PDFpen catches up with Acrobat to give you the ability to preview and extract file attachments, which are files that are attached to a PDF through an annotation. In PDFpen Pro, you can also now add these attachments. (Apple’s Preview does not support this feature.)

  • Instead of being a note or comment, or a graphic, annotations can now be recorded audio.

  • You can export a PDF to Microsoft Word format locally (in PDFpen 7, it is converted online), and in PDFpen Pro 8 the same is true when you export a PDF to Microsoft Excel format.

  • There are a few new features for working with forms. You can now create and use a certificate for a trusted digital signature, a topic that looks like it will need to be teased out considerably in the next edition of this book to describe usefully. Plus PDFpen Pro has more widget styles for certain form elements and a new sidebar for setting the tab order in a form.

  • Finally, there’s a tool for measuring precise distances on a PDF and there’s the ability to combine multiple PDF documents into a single portfolio.

If any of the above features makes you smile, because it’s exactly what you need, then upgrade away! Or, if you want to support Smile in their efforts to keep PDFpen a modern and useful app that goes the extra mile to support people with specific professional needs, then go ahead and upgrade. PDFpen 8 works with 10.10 Yosemite and later.

For more about what’s new in version 8, and upgrade directions, see the PDFpen & PDFpen Pro version 8 blog post on Smile’s site.

Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

Joe Unflips Bits with Chuck Joiner on MacVoices

Joe sits down with Chuck Joiner of MacVoices to explain some of the common misconceptions that people have about technology, why this Take Control book doesn’t have “Take Control” in the title, and how the book came to be written. The discussion includes visual aids, reveals the astonishing fact that there isn’t a hamster in your Mac, demonstrates what you can do with two thumbs, and treats us to Joe’s performance of a famous line from “Hamlet.”

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

Changes to Plex Authentication on Apple TV

When we published “Take Control of Apple TV, Second Edition,” the Plex app still required you to enter your username and password to sign in to your Plex account. Thankfully, Plex has now been updated to use browser authentication instead, so you don’t have to type or dictate your credentials with the Siri Remote. When prompted, visit http://plex.tv/link and enter the code on your TV screen.

Posted by Josh Centers (Permalink)

Using Apple Pencil with Keynote for iOS

In case you were wondering, the Apple Pencil, which is compatible with the iPad Pro (both 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch models), works with Keynote on iOS. When you construct slides, however, the Pencil merely works much as your finger would if your finger had a precise point — because Keynote offers no freeform drawing option, you can’t sketch items on slides. Nonetheless you can use the Pencil, as you would your finger, to manipulate objects.

Where the Pencil does comes in handy is when you use your iPad to present slides: with the Pencil you can use the markup tools to draw on a slide that is being presented. To reveal and choose the markup tools when you give a Keynote presentation from your iPad, press and hold briefly on the current slide.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

Charles Talks OS X Server 5 with Chuck Joiner

Yes, Server 5 is alive, and so is Charles’ book about it, which means it is time for Charles to explain to Chuck Joiner of MacVoices what has changed, what hasn’t, and the pros and cons of running your own server. This far-ranging conversation has much to offer your inner sysop.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)