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Take Control of PDFpen 6
May 14, 2013

Take Control of PDFpen 6

Learn to create, edit, and manipulate PDFs with Smile’s PDFpen 6!

Have you ever needed to give feedback on a PDF, but stumbled around trying to insert comments and proofreading marks? Or spent way too long trying to refresh the date on a PDF-based flyer? Maybe you wanted to fill out and sign a PDF-based form without printing it and faxing it back? What about making your own PDF-based form with fill-in fields that could be submitted over the Internet? Or have you wished you could OCR scanned text so you could revise it right in the PDF? All these tasks—and much more—can be done with PDFpen from Smile.

Even better, there’s an in-depth guide for all these tasks. Written by Michael E. Cohen with clarity and humor, Take Control of PDFpen 6 turns you into a PDF productivity powerhouse while you work at your Mac with PDFpen or PDFpenPro, or on the go with your iPad or iPhone.

Mac compatibility? PDFpen 6 requires 10.7 Lion, 10.8 Mountain Lion, or 10.9 Mavericks. For help with PDFpen 7 in 10.10 Yosemite or 10.11 El Capitan, read Take Control of PDFpen 7. Or be even more modern with Take Control of PDFpen 8.

More Info

Save 20% Members of Take Control’s sister publication, TidBITS, can save 20% on all Smile products purchased through the Smile cart. To learn more, visit the Membership Benefits page. To access the coupon code, make sure you’ve logged in and click through from the Your Member Benefits page.

Michael begins with a rundown of your purchasing options: PDFpen versus PDFpenPro, from Smile versus the Mac App Store, and the advantages of an iPhone or iPad version.

This ebook was created in collaboration with Smile, with PDFpen’s developers tech editing the manuscript.

Next, you’ll meet PDFpen, starting with a general overview of the PDF format, followed by a tour of PDFpen’s user interface—including the new Editing bar. Then Michael jumps into the many ways you can modify a PDF:

  • Add and remove pages, and combine pages from multiple files into one PDF.
  • Directly edit the text, plus add comments and professional editing marks.
  • Redact confidential text.
  • Add clickable page and URL links, add page numbers, and add images.
  • Make a clickable table of contents (PDFpenPro only).
  • Change the look with a Quartz filter (for example, make it black-and-white).
  • Reduce the file size with a Quartz filter.
  • Password-protect it.
  • Turn it into a formatted Microsoft Word document.
  • Prevent other users taking certain actions, such as printing or editing (PDFpenPro only).

You’ll learn how PDFpen is your friend when it comes to forms:

  • Fill out forms with ease.
  • Add a handwritten signature—in the iOS versions, you can write with a stylus!
  • Print just form entries on a pre-printed form!
  • Create an interactive PDF form for both Mac and Windows (PDFpenPro only). You can even make your interactive PDF form collect data and send it to you via email or the Web.

And, that’s not all! You’ll also learn how to:

  • Move PDFs in and out of PDFpen in iOS, so that you can fluidly share them between your Apple devices—Michael describes several approaches, including iCloud, iTunes, Dropbox, and Open In.
  • Get the most out of Apple’s AutoSave and Versions features—or turn them off for PDFpen if you find them troublesome.
  • Scan a document to PDF, and make the text editable with OCR.
  • Print a PDF with its annotations appearing at the end.
  • Store frequently used items (like a logo or signature) in the PDFpen Library.
  • Turn a Web site into a multi-page PDF (PDFpenPro only).

An appendix describes the many useful AppleScripts that ship with PDFpen.

If you want to try before you buy, you can download a free trial version of PDFpen or of PDFpen Pro. The trial versions put a Smile watermark on your documents.

What's New

What’s New in Take Control of PDFpen 6

There are two kinds of newness involved in this new edition: what is new in the software itself, and what is new in the environment in which PDFpen runs.

Additional features: 

  • PDFpen provides a different way to access its tools with its new Editing Bar; I explain how it works in Understand the Tools
  • PDFpen can now Export to Microsoft Word.
  • PDFpenPro lets you Protect Your PDFs by granting specific permissions to users.

Changes in the Apple environment:

  • The latest versions of Mac OS X change how you can Save or Export Your PDFs
  • The advent of the Mac App Store changes how you might buy PDFpen as well as what it can do; see Get Your Hands on PDFpen for an overview. 
  • The introduction of Apple’s iCloud service brings new ways to share PDFs among devices, which I explain in Head in the iCloud
  • The availability of PDFpen for iPhone and for iPad means there are new platforms on which you can edit PDFs; see Use PDFpen on iOS to learn mobile editing techniques and find the tools you need, and for advice on how to Get PDFs in and out of PDFpen on iOS.

What version of PDFpen/PDFpenPro on the Mac does this book cover?

The descriptions of the Mac versions of PDFpen/PDFpenPro in this book are based upon version 6.0.2. Because prior versions of PDFpen/PDFpenPro 6 had some differences from version 6.0.2, you should update to (at least) version 6.0.2 in order to best benefit from this book.

What are the system requirements for PDFpen 6?

PDFpen 6 runs in 10.7 Lion, 10.8 Mountain Lion, and 10.9 Mavericks.

What about later versions of PDFpen?

For your PDF-juggling ease, we’ve now published Take Control of PDFpen 7 and Take Control of PDFpen 8. PDFpen 8 requires at least 10.10 Yosemite.

Does this book talk about PDFpen/PDFpenPro 5?

With respect to the Mac version of PDFpen/PDFpenPro, this book focuses on PDFpen 6. In areas where PDFpen 6 is a lot like PDFpen 5, the book does describe PDFpen 5, sort of. But, if you want help with PDFpen 5, you should read Take Control of PDFpen 5. PDFpen 5 and PDFpenPro 5 work with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, 10.7 Lion, and 10.8 Mountain Lion.

Update Plans

June 15, 2016 – We won’t be updating this book again, because it is fine as is. However, for your PDF-juggling ease, we’ve also now published Take Control of PDFpen 7 and Take Control of PDFpen 8. PDFpen 8 requires at least 10.10 Yosemite.

Posted by Adam Engst

  1. I Discuss PDFpen 7 on MacVoices

    One of the best parts of finishing a book is talking it up in an interview on MacVoices with Chuck Joiner. In this chat we talk about new features in PDFpen, the various ways you can buy it and how that affects PDFpen’s feature set, and why Smile chose to make PDFpen 7 and PDFpenPro 7 require OS X 10.10 Yosemite.

    Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

  2. PDFpen 6.3.2 Is Ready for Yosemite

    Smile has just announced the release of PDFpen 6.3.2 and PDFpenPro 6.3.2, which contain updates that make the apps ready for OS X 10.10 Yosemite when it is released later this fall. The updates (free to registered users) are available from Smile’s site for those who purchased the software directly; the versions sold via the Mac App Store are currently being reviewed and should be released shortly. The detailed release notes are here.

    Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

  3. Read Me a PDF — PDFpen 6.3 Adds Text-to Speech Support

    Smile has released versions 6.3 of PDFpen and PDFpenPro, adding Text-to-Speech support, so that you can now select text in a PDF and choose Edit > Speech > Start Speaking to have your Mac read it aloud. The new release also improves PDFpen’s support for VoiceOver and Accessibility, and a host of other improvements. Read the release notes for more. The update is free to all registered purchasers of PDFpen 6.

    Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

  4. PDFpen and PDFpenPro Updated to Version 6.2.1

    Smile has released version 6.2.1 of PDFpen and PDFpenPro. The TidBITS Watchlist article provides the details.

    Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

  5. PDFpen 1.7 for iPad and PDFpen 1.7 for iPhone Require iOS 7

    Smile has released new versions of PDFpen for iPad and PDFpen for iPhone. Version 1.7 of both apps, available as free upgrades from the App Store, now require iOS 7. The new versions feature enhanced performance, a new page indicator when paging, and the ability to tie Dropbox sync folders to multiple accounts. If you haven’t updated to iOS 7, you can still obtain PDFpen for iPad 1.6.2 and PDFpen for iPhone 1.4.2.

    Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

  6. PDFpen 6.1.3 Update Brings Redaction Buttons

    PDFpen and PDFpenPro have been updated to version 6.1.3. In addition to bug fixes, this version provides toolbar buttons for Redaction. You can install the buttons by choosing View > Customize Toolbar. The update also provides support for making phone numbers into clickable links. You can find the release notes on Smile’s Help site. To get the update, choose  > Software Update if you purchased PDFpen or PDFpenPro via the Mac App Store; if you purchased your copy from Smile, choose PDFpen (or PDFpenPro) > Check for Updates.

    Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

  7. PDFpen Scan+ iOS App Makes PDFs on the Go

    Smile has released a new iOS app, PDFpen Scan+, that can make PDFs right on your iOS device, using either your iOS device’s camera or images stored in its Photos library. The scanning app features automatic edge detection, image brightness and contrast controls, and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) in 16 languages. The app provides easy sharing of PDFs with PDFpen for iPhone and PDFpen for iPad so you can quickly mark up and annotate your new PDF. See the TidBITS review for more about this app.

    Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

  8. Scanning Change in PDFpen and PDFpenPro 6.0.4

    In the sidebar “Scan setting side-effects” (pg. 51 in the PDF), the following note appears:

    Because of Apple’s sandboxing rules, changing the destination of your scans from the Pictures folder with the Scan To pop-up menu is only temporary—the next time you launch PDFpen, the destination is set back to the Pictures folder.

    In version 6.0.4, PDFpen and PDFpenPro no longer present a Scan To pop-up menu. In fact, PDFpen and PDFpenPro no longer save scans to a separate location when they add scans to a PDF with the Import from Scanner command. Instead, scans are only added to the active PDF; when the PDF is saved, the scan is included. This change was made because Apple’s Image Capture framework, used for scanning, has a bug that allows you to choose locations where you cannot, in fact, save a scan. Smile has eliminated the Scan To option because of this bug.

    Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

  9. PDF (Pretty Darn Fine) Discussion on MacVoices

    All singing, all dancing, a cavalcade of wit and charm! Or maybe just an interesting interview with Chuck Joiner and Michael E. Cohen about PDFs and Take Control of PDFpen 6. Watch or listen on MacVoices.

    Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

The Author

Michael E. Cohen has taught English composition, worked as a programmer for NASA’s Deep Space Network, helped develop the first commercial ebooks at the Voyager Company, and co-founded a major university’s Humanities computing center. He has written several books, including Take Control of PDFpen, Take Control of Pages, and Take Control of TextExpander.