Edit and enhance your PDFs easily with PDFpen 11!

Take Control of

Michael E. Cohen
Jeff Carlson

Polish your PDFs with Smile’s PDFpen, for a fraction of what Adobe Acrobat costs! Michael E. Cohen explains how you can create, combine, edit, annotate, and protect PDFs. Also learn how to perform and edit OCR, fill out forms, sign forms digitally, make interactive forms, and much more. Covers Mac and iOS versions!

All Take Control books are delivered in three ebook formats—PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket (Kindle)—and can be read on nearly any device.


These days, an ever-increasing amount of “paper”—contracts, tax forms, bills, reports, and more—comes into our lives as PDF files. We generate this virtual paper too, since it’s so much easier to save a document as a PDF and send it to a colleague via email than it is to print and send via fax or email. To read, edit, and manipulate all these PDFs, you need the appropriate tools and skills.

Given the high price of Adobe Acrobat DC Pro, many Mac users have turned to Smile’s affordable PDFpen apps to help them sign PDF forms, handle scanned documents, make changes in existing PDFs, create new PDFs from a variety of sources, and to export PDFs to other file formats (including Word and Excel). With Take Control of PDFpen, you’ll learn how to do all these tasks and more on your Mac with PDFpen or PDFpenPro or on the go with PDFpen for iPad & iPhone.

If you haven’t used PDFpen before, this free book is an excellent way to find out what it has to offer.

TidBITS members can save 20% on all Smile products purchased through the Smile cart, including PDFpen 11 and PDFpenPro 11. 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.

Take Control of PDFpen 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 the basics out of the way, highlights of what you’ll learn to do include:

  • Add and remove pages, and combine pages from multiple files into one PDF.
  • Mark up a PDF with highlights, comments, editing marks, and more.
  • Compare two different parts of a PDF with the Split View.
  • 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—with single or multiple documents.
  • Add photos or scans to a PDF quickly with Continuity Camera and an iOS device.
  • View and work with OCRed text in the OCR layer (PDFpenPro only)
  • Add clickable links, headers, footers, page numbers, and images.
  • Make a clickable table of contents (PDFpenPro only).
  • Add a watermark to each page of a PDF.
  • 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 PDF forms:

  • Fill out forms with ease.
  • Add a handwritten signature.
  • Apply a digital signing certificate.
  • Print just form entries on a pre-printed form.
  • Create an interactive PDF form (PDFpenPro only) that can collect data and send it to you via email or the web. You can add an interactive signature field, which makes it easy for the form to be signed online.

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.

Michael Cohen

About Michael E. Cohen

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 authored several books, including Take Control of PDFpen, Take Control of Pages, Take Control of iBooks Author, and Take Control of TextExpander.

This book is a continuation of a series of titles that began with Take Control of PDFpen 5 and ran through Take Control of PDFpen 10; it’s effectively a new edition of the latter, but we’ve removed the PDFpen version number from the title so that we can revise it each year without having to change the title. (In other words, assuming we update the book again in 2020 to cover PDFpen 12, that’ll be Take Control of PDFpen, Second Edition.)

This book covers version 11 of Smile’s PDFpen and PDFpenPro and version 4 of PDFpen for iPad & iPhone. The changes in this book from Take Control of PDFpen 10 cover the new and revised features in those apps, and include the following changes:

  • With PDFpen 11, you can split the view so you can refer to one part of a PDF as you edit another.
  • Formatting text in a PDF has become even easier with the addition of the font bar.
  • You can now add multiple items at once to the Library; in PDFpenPro, when you make a text field in a form, you can add that field to the Library.
  • You can turn off PDFpen’s automatic alignment guides should you find them distracting; see "Use Guides."
  • PDFpen gives you more control over margin positioning when you add headers, footers, and page numbers.
  • Changes to the descriptions of how to use PDFpen in iOS include an addition to the iOS Settings that controls document scrolling and a Watermark command on the iOS edit menu, as well as other minor changes and enhancements.

What are the system requirements for PDFpen 11?

PDFpen 11 runs in macOS 10.12 Sierra or later, just as PDFpen 10 did.

Does this book talk about PDFpen/PDFpen Pro 10?

No, it does not, but if you want help with PDFpen/PDFpen Pro 10, you should read Take Control of PDFpen 10<.


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