PDFpenPro or PDFexpert

As much as I love Smile software products, I just am not getting along well with the new version of PDFpenPro (trial version).

It’s mostly on my side, in that I have changed job, and really need a simpler tool.

Before I purchase PDFPP 10, wondering if anyone has thoughts on either PDFE, or another pdf program.

I need a simple pdf tool (compile pdfs into one, edit changes, file reduction)…

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I switched from PDFPen Pro to PDF Expert. I did so because I need to annotate PDF’s on my iPad and PDFPen’s approach in iOS is inefficient and clunky. I also think their MacOS interface is clunky. PDF Expert is much better but lacks OCR. That is fine with me because I can I OCR PDF’s in DEVONthink.


Vote #2 for PDF Expert. I need to be able to read and organize multiple journal articles weekly that (luckily) all come pre-formatted and OCR-ready. Reading them on an iPad Pro with a pencil for annotation abilities is a dream, and I can get through many docs quickly, while I let Dropbox and iCloud handle the backups and keeping everything synced. PDF Expert is a bit expensive, but you definitely know where your money is going with them.


And another for PDF Expert. Works like a dream on ipad pro with Apple pencil and and sync with imac is seamless. I use it on ios to work with documents in Devon think.


And again, PDF Expert is my choice. Powerful, yet intuitive, it’s a great addition to the toolkit.

PDF expert all the way. The only thing I like about PDF pen is the ocr

I’ve recently played with ‘PDF viewer’. It’s free and integrates seamlessly with the document provider (‘Files’) interface in iOS. I’m enjoying it. I also have both PDFP and PDFE.

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The killer feature in PDF Expert that PDF Pen Pro does not have is the tabs feature. Being able to easily switch between PDFs is critical for me in my research (I’m a university professor). I own both apps and use Pen or DEVONThink for OCR. If Pen had tabs I’d be happy with it alone, I imagine. Not sure. I know Smile is a MPU sponsor and that it has features lawyers like. For a lot of us, though, it is definitely NOT yet the app of choice.


I use PDF Expert day to day. Once in a while I need to edit a PDF form, so I have PDFPen Pro too.

n+1 for PDFExpert. I read and annotate a lot, and it’s a great tool. If I had to sum it up in a sentence, I would say, “it does what I need it to do, and it’s not annoying.” When I first started using it, I thought, “Finally!” It just works the way you think it should.
Their support people are always receptive to suggestions too.


Oh boy they are both great. PDF Pen Pro does have some more advanced PDF-editing features PDF Expert does not have:

  1. Cropping PDF pages (PDF Expert can!)
  2. OCR
  3. More granular control over quality and compression
  4. Automatic form creation
  5. AppleScript and a nice built-in library of scripts (my favourite is combining two files with alternating pages!)
    If any of these are important to you, then PDF Pen is your tool.

Overall I think the reading experience, the shuffling of pages within a file, and the appending/moving around of a small number of pages is far superior in PDF Expert, and PDF Expert is my daily driver. But PDF Pen sure shines when you need it.

So think about those 5 bullets above (and I’m certain I missed a few too!) and if any of those are dealbreakers, then you’ve got your answer.

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Whoa…I appreciate all that advice…looks like a strong push to expert …

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PDFExpert crops pages.
Also, to create forms in PDFPen, it looks like you’ll need the $125 version.

+1 PDF Expert on iOS. I still use PDFPenPro 10 on my MacBookPro, but I spend much more time in PDF Expert on my iPad Pro. The interface is substantially better, the tools work better. I like PDF Expert for all the reasons people have previously identified. The tabbed interface is especially helpful, and even useful as a quick-and-dirty presentation tool if you are just walking through documents with a group. As a trial lawyer, I spend a lot of time in PDF Expert.

PDFPenPro’s batch OCR tool is very important to me; same with a few other features. I particularly like the ease of combining and breaking apart PDFs (which you can do in Expert) and the bookmarking features (which you also have with Expert). I do not use or have PDFPen on my iOS devices. Can’t stand the interface.

I use PDFPenPro on the Mac and PDF Expert on my iPad. I don’t tend to use PDFPenPro all that much - I prefer the interface on PDF Expert for reviewing and marking up, particularly using the Apple Pencil.

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I use PDF Expert to crop pages almost every day. It has a crop button appear when you make a selection.

I tried PDF Pen and PDF Expert side-by-side and found the interface of PDF Pen awful. Really unintuitive and amateur looking. The scrolling was also terrible, when you compare them together PDF Expert has much faster and smoother scrolling, Pen was slow and jerky (this was on a 2017 MacBook Pro).

I use DEVONthink for OCR and scanning, or Scanner Pro on my iPad (which also has OCR)

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Well I’ll be damned it does! For some reason I just never used that particular selection tool in PDF Expert to see the Crop button!


I was looking at PDFPen Pro but after reading this I am really thinking about the PDF Expert, which I use on iPad and love it. In fact I love all of Reedle’s app, with a few exceptions. I don’t like the interface on Calendars.
One thing I really needed was form creation which PDF Expert doesn’t have, but that isn’t a deal-breaker. I am wondering if anyone knows a work around. I think I could create the form on PenPen on iOs then work with it from there. I will look into that…
Thank you

Another vote for PDF Expert. I’ve owned PDFPen Pro for years, and am impressed by its broad functionality, but I always find the user experience to be a bit too frictiony and unintuitive. I always find myself mildly annoyed whenever I try to do anything complex. PDF Expert isn’t quite the powerhouse, but it’s intuitive and snappy for all of my needs.

How is exporting annotations from PDF Pen? PDF Expert on iOS treats it as an afterthought, with no format options and no way to export except via email (!).