Long time DocumentSnap readers will know that I am a big GoodReader user. It has been the file system for my iPad for years, and the new iOS 7 update is quite nice. However, recently I have moved to PDF Expert 5 as my PDF application of choice on the iPad.
Readdle’s apps are getting more and more polished, and PDF Expert 5 is no exception. Since I am using it more and more, I thought I’d do a bit of a runthrough.
Getting PDFs Into PDF Expert
Like any other iOS app, you can “Open In” a PDF from an email or other application and select PDF Expert.
This works well, but the real power is in PDF Expert’s integration with a number of cloud services. You can access documents from Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive, Windows SMB shares, Box, and a whole host of other sources.
You can either open documents from these services, or you can sync entire folders. If you do that, changes that you make to a document on one side are automatically reflected on other devices.
It would be nice if PDF Expert supported AFP shares like GoodReader, but it’s not the end of the world.
If you use PDF Expert for iPhone, you can store your documents in iCloud and they will automatically appear on all your iOS devices in the PDF Expert apps.
PDF organization is one of my favorite features of PDF Expert 5. The way they have done it really takes advantage of the touch interface.
If you want to move a document, you can tap and hold on the PDF. You can then drag it to a folder, or you can drag it to the sidebar and send it to one of your cloud services.
If you drag one PDF on top of another one, it will create a brand new folder. Nice touch.
If you hit the Edit button up at the top, you can select one or more documents and do a number of actions such as Copy, Move, Rename, Delete, Merge, Zip, Email, Upload, and Open In.
Many of these you can also do by dragging PDFs around, but this gives you a way to apply an action to multiple PDFs at once.
You’ll also see that you can star and tag documents, but don’t get too excited. These don’t translate over to Mavericks tags. Maybe someday.
Until I bought an iPad, I was one of those people that needed to print out documents to read them.
I have found that tablets have changed all that, and I actually prefer to read PDFs on my iPad now.
Reading in PDF Expert 5 is great. You can either swipe or tap between pages horizontally (my preference), or you can do vertical scrolling if that floats your boat.
A great touch for us old people is you can set the PDF to Night or Sepia mode to make reading a bit easier on the eyes, especially in the dark.
One of the more incredible features to me is the Text to Speech support. Just tap the reading button and turn on the Text to speech switch, and the app will read the text to you, highlighting each word as it goes. It works very well.
You can do the normal annotations on the PDF. You can add text, highlight text, draw shapes, strike out text, and there is a nice signature feature.
You define your signature in PDF Expert, and then you can drop it in a PDF. You can also add an image as a stamp and use that.
You can view a summary of all the markup you’ve made in the document, and you can send a “flattened” copy of the document which protects the annotations and ensures they are viewable on any device.
Edit and Manipulate PDFs
As mentioned earlier, you can merge multiple documents, and this works very well.
When you are viewing an individual PDF, you can work with the pages. When you tap the thumbnail button, you can delete pages, add a new page, and even copy and paste pages from another PDF.
If you want to split up a PDF into multiple documents, you can highlight and extract the pages you want as well.
When you think about it, it is remarkable that you can edit a PDF to this level on a tablet.
PDF Expert 5
As you can imagine, I have many, many PDF apps on my devices. When I want to read, mark up, and manipulate documents, more often than not I find myself using PDF Expert 5 by Readdle. It’s $9.99 on the app store, and if you work with a lot of PDF documents on your iPad, it may be worth it to you too.