Prefer PDF Expert but Using PDFPen Pro-Amended

After going through @MacSparky’s Paperless Field Guide, I decided to give PDFPen Pro a second chance after abandoning it several years ago in favor of PDF Expert. I still prefer PDF Expert’s GUI but the automatic OCR of an email attachment when I open it makes PDFPen Pro worth the GUI deficiencies.

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Doesn’t PDF Expert also have OCR capabilities? Or is that all handled by Scanner Pro (also by Readdle) – my favorite scanner, btw.

No, but there may be hope for the future.

A lot (if not most) OCR utilities on the Mac are in fact a shell around the open-source Tesseract. As far as I know only ABBYY has it’s own engine. Which makes sense, as doing OCR is not a simple task to accomplish.
And if it’s Tesseract anyway, why not use… Tesseract!? :wink: For example in the excellent ocrmypdf tool.

On a sidenote, for reading and annotating pdf’s I prefer Skim over PDFExpert as it opens considerably faster: almost instantly compared to several seconds.


Wow, I did not know that. That’s a great tip!

Wow those webpages you link to look quite 1998ish, haha.

Neither has the hackery I want…

… I may be some time… :slight_smile:

There is a new version of PDF Expert for Mac with OCR, which is $50 a year (on top of the iOS subscription!). When I saw the price I uninstalled for Mac and iOS; $100 a year for a PDF viewer is insane. I know I can stay with version 2 but that won’t be updated forever.

Here’s the interface:

At this price I’d rather go with Adobe.

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That’s a ridiculous price, no way I’m paying that on top of the other cost. I guess I’ll stay with PDFPen and hope they don’t follow the pricing model of PDF Expert. And, I agree with @SuperTachyon, for that price I’d consider Adobe.

I understand the business case for subscriptions but they are starting to get out of hand.


Well, Adobe’s version that does OCR (Acrobat PRO) is $180/year.

PDFPen is part of Setapp.

Is that just for Adobe or the entire suite?

I think you can get the entire suit if you are eligible for education discount.

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Adobe has numerous “Creative Cloud” plans that bundle different Adobe applications. The plan I quoted above is solely Adobe Acrobat Pro for individuals. Click the link I provided in the post you reacted to for the information on this.


Well, that is a “no go.” I’m not spending that kind of money for a PDF app. :slight_smile:

I’ve been searching for an answer to this but can’t find it; can LiquidText OCR files?


Thanks. Looks like I’ll just stick with PDFPen Pro. Not my favorite app—but does the job I need done for a fair price.


If you’re just looking for OCR software, Prizmo is worth a consideration. It’s less known as it’s marketed as a scanner app.

Thanks, I’ll check it out. I can OCR documents with my ScanSnap and with DEVONthink if needed. What I’m wanting ideally is an iOS/iPad OS PDF app that will OCR a document that is not really readable to save the step of importing into DT or rescanning. PDFPen Pro on the Mac will do this so it works. It would be nice to have an iPad app that will OCR documents, e.g, when receiving them by email as images.

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I’m using Prizmo on my iPad to do OCR. It works for both images and scanned PDFs. I’ve used it embed OCR text layer into hundreds of pages of old textbooks in PDF. It took hours but worked as expected. It’s the only app I know that could embed OCR into PDFs.

If you just want to grab the text data out of images, instead of embedding into a PDFs. I think there’s a Prizmo Go dedicated to doing exactly that. But other scanners could probably do this as well.

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