I’m looking for a PDF reader with stronger features than preview

Hi there!

I’m a vet and I have a considerable library of textbooks where most of them have > 100 pages with the occasional small article or scan that I made with my scanner app.

Access across all my devices is essential (iOS, iPadOS, and macOS) because when I’m on the run or away from my Mac, I want to access information inside my textbooks or other documents. Another requirement is the ability to OCR everything so that I can find information easily, even on scanned documents.

I have used Devonthink but found it to be overkill for my needs, I don’t think I’ll pay for the next upgrade, as I just use it to read PDFs and never create any kind of document there.

For my Note-taking needs I use craft, that’s why I just need a great PDF manager and reader that lets me store them on the cloud when I’m not using them. Occasionally, I had to spend like half an hour troubleshooting Devonthink to go with the main app on my Mac to sync everything, and that’s not something I really want.

To scan stuff I use Scanner Pro, and I have been considering getting PDF Expert by the same company; however, I don’t know how reliably it Can store and handle big files like textbooks.

I will be exporting to pdf the handmade annotations I make in Nebo and the polished final note created in craft.

Any suggestions for just a specialized PDF manager and reader? The normal preview is too basic for my needs. I’m moving towards the camp of specialized tools instead of tools that do a lot of things.

Thanks in advance.

For large PDFs, I have found that only Adobe works reliably. PDF Expert, PDF Pen, Nitro all failed me when working with large files, e.g., adding pages, rearranging pages, and redacting.

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Of all the apps whose names begin with “PDF” this one has risen to the top for me. Available in all the app stores.

PDF Viewer - Annotation Expert by PSPDFKit - Complete PDF SDK


Anything for managing them? I wish for example PDF expert let me sort them in folders, but I guess the only way is to have them on my cloud and then look at them with PDF editors.

Thanks! Those have features like PDF Experts and Adobe, however none of them let me actually “import” them and sort them in folders. I guess the only way is to organize them in my mac and then just edit them or view them using those apps.

Folders in iCloud Drive not good enough? Sorry, I don’t remember any of the everything-bucket apps that sync across all the devices claiming that they have outstanding PDF abilities.

As far as I understand, the vast majority of PDF-Apps on the Appstore were based on the same PDFKit, that also Preview is using. So there are no big differences in Handling PDF´s between them, if it comes to handle large PDF´s.
Acrobat seems to have his own base for their PDF-App, which explains the better handling of large PDF with them.

For storing the PDF, I would just use folders within iCloudDrive, or any other Cloudservice you would like to use.

If you have trouble with Devonthink, there is a large Devonthink community where you could get help with that.

Yep not enough. I’m fiddling with Documents by readdle but that app also has a PDF editor, so PDF Expert now it’s unnecesary. Do you know of any other folder managers to sort everything? Keep it has also the function to write notes and other things I really don’t need.

I will see with what the app Documents can help me organize my stuff or maybe just settle with folders in iCloudDrive.

Just curious. Does PDF Viewer use its own PDF toolkit based as I infer rather than using the macOS PDF toolkit? I ask in that sense because …

… most certainly Adobe uses their own toolkit. As I understand, actions that I can carry out even in Acrobat Reader seem often to be well beyond doing in Preview or even the higher level PDF-XXX apps (e.g. PDFExpert) for this reason.


Looks like it. They sell a software development kit at PSPDFKit - Complete PDF SDK and that is what PDF Viewer is based on. Lots of information at that link.

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