Note: This book is mostly up to date. Smile sold PDFpen to a company called Nitro, which in turn is apparently about to be acquired by yet another company. So the app has changed names and branding (currently it’s Nitro PDF), and that may change again. Whether, when, or in what form we’ll see the next major revision in features will depend on what the new owners decide to do. Ideally, we’ll update the book when the next major revision hits, whenever that may be and whatever it may be called…assuming we have the support of the app’s new owners. (Read more about updates).)
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 13 and PDFpenPro 13. 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/iPadOS 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/iPadOS device.
- View and work with OCRed text in the OCR layer (PDFpenPro only)
- Add clickable links, headers, footers, page numbers, and images.
- Annotate a document with lines, shapes, text, and callouts.
- 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.
- Reduce the size of your PDFs.
- Create blank PDFs with stationery.
- Add a digital signature with DocuSign (PDFpenPro only).
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.
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