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Take Control of PDFpen 7
Feb 25, 2015

Take Control of PDFpen 7

Become a PDF powerhouse with PDFpen 7 from Smile!

PDF serves as a universal document format for all manner of forms, statements, and receipts. And, whether you’ve moved a lot of your documents into the cloud or not, you’ve probably noticed that more and more “paper” is coming your way as PDF files.

But, even as PDFs unstuff our filing cabinets and shrink the piles in our physical inboxes, we need to learn new skills to edit and manage PDFs effectively. Many Mac users have turned to Smile’s affordable PDFpen app to help them sign PDF forms, handle scanned documents, edit PDFs, create PDFs, and even export PDFs to other file formats. With Take Control of PDFpen 7, you’ll learn how to do all these tasks and more on a Mac with PDFpen or PDFpenPro, or on the go with PDFpen for iPad & iPhone.

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.

The book begins with a guide to purchasing options: PDFpen versus PDFpenPro, from Smile versus the Mac App Store, and the advantages of the iOS version. Next, you’ll meet PDFpen with an overview of the PDF format and a tour of the interface.

With those preliminaries out of the way, you’ll learn how to:

  • Add and remove pages, and combine pages from multiple files into one PDF.
  • Mark up a PDF with highlights, comments, professional editing marks, and more.
  • Edit a PDF by fixing typos, adding text, formatting text, and redacting confidential text.
  • Scan a document into a PDF, and make the text editable with OCR.
  • View and work directly with OCRed text in the OCR layer (PDFpenPro only)
  • Add clickable links, page numbers, and images.
  • Make a clickable table of contents (PDFpenPro only).
  • Reduce the file size with a Quartz filter.
  • Password-protect a PDF. And (PDFpenPro only), prevent others from printing or editing a PDF.
  • Turn a PDF into a formatted Microsoft Word document, or (PDFpenPro only) export it in Excel or PowerPoint format.

And, you’ll find directions for working with 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) that can collect data and send it to you via email or the Web.

That’s not all! The book also covers how to:

  • Work with PDFs in PDFpen for iPad & iPhone.
  • Get your PDFs into and out of PDFpen in iOS via iCloud Drive, iTunes, Dropbox, and Open In.
  • 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 useful AppleScripts that ship with PDFpen.

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

What's New

What’s New in This Edition

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.

New and changed features:

  • PDFpen provides an OCR layer that you can view; what’s more, you can Edit the OCR Layer in PDFpenPro.

  • The app has changed how you Navigate with Search Results.

  • A Control-click provides a contextual menu with editing and navigation commands applicable to whatever you’ve clicked; see Understand the Tools.

  • You can now Draw Attention with free-form highlighting.

  • PDFpenPro offers Excel and PowerPoint options when you Export to Microsoft Formats.

  • PDFpenPro gives you the ability to Make an Interactive Signature field in forms, and you can sign such fields with PDFpen (including PDFpen for iPad & iPhone).

Changes in the Apple environment:

  • PDFpen requires OS X 10.10 Yosemite, and its user interface has been redesigned to match Yosemite’s style.

  • When you Get Your Hands on PDFpen directly from Smile, you can access documents stored in iCloud Drive; I provide more details in Head in the iCloud.

  • PDFpen for iPad & iPhone has been completely revised, and it is now a single app that runs on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. See Use PDFpen in 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 in iOS.

Note: My descriptions of the various Mac versions of PDFpen are based upon version 7.0.1. I suggest you update to that version or a later one if you haven’t already done so. This book should work with any subsequent updates to PDFpen, but I suggest that you check the blog for this book occasionally (a link can be found in Ebook Extras); we often provide information about updates there.


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 7.0.1.

What are the system requirements for PDFpen 7?

PDFpen 7 runs in 10.10 Yosemite and 10.11 El Capitan.

Does this book talk about PDFpen/PDFpenPro 6?

No, it does not, but, if you want help with PDFpen/PDFpenPro 6, you should read Take Control of PDFpen 6.

Update Plans

June 16, 2016 – With PDFpen 8 now available from Smile, we don’t plan to update this book again.

Posted by Adam Engst

  1. 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)

  2. 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 Michael Cohen (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.