Do you know how freakin’ big the PDF industry is these days? What hath Adobe wrought? For years I worked in a company which used Adobe Acrobat, so we had access to just about every PDF manipulation tool on earth.
Later, while working at a smaller company with a much smaller IT budget we had to use non-Adobe PDF apps. There’s a whole cottage industry of PDF tools living below Adobe’s monthly subscription fee to use Acrobat. Hit the Mac App Store and put ‘PDF’ into the search bar and you’ll be treated to dozens and dozens of PDF readers and editors. Stop by the iPhone App Store and enter ‘PDF’ into the search bar and there are hundreds of similar PDF tools.
Here’s the problem. If you can’t afford Adobe Acrobat then you’re forced to use any one of dozens to hundreds of PDF readers and editors. Which one is the best? See the problem? For iPhone and iPad, the iTunes App Store does a poor job sorting PDF tools by popularity or rating, more or less forcing you into a one-by-one search. Oh. The. Pain.
Here are a few PDF tools I like. First, the Mac.
PDFGenius – There’s a lot going on in PDFGenius. The app has ben around awhile and has improved over time (hence the split personality in ratings). It merges, splits, converts, compresses, extracts, inserts, deletes, manages passwords, and lets you shuffle and reorder pages. Oh, and it does annotations, too.
The app uses the standard complicated toolbar with similar complexity in the menubar selections. Remember, there’s a lot going on with editing PDF files so the good ones tend to have features and functions stacked one upon the other.
PDF Reader – If all you need is a good reader with some editing tools, then PDF Reader is a good choice. It’s very popular among Mac users, better at organizing and managing PDFs than most, and syncs up with iCloud.
PDF Reader has versions for Mac, iPhone, and iPad but watch out for the recurring price tag for the Kdan Cloud subscription.
LiquidText – iPhone and iPad users have even more PDF choices, and many are easy to try thanks to the built-in In App Purchase option. One of my favorites in LiquidText which does PDF different and was voted as Most Innovative App last year. Why?
LiquidText redefines the PDF workspace making it easier to view pages, collapse pages and sections, create and organize notes and PDF excerpts, and it handles all the standard annotation tools. Really, it’s more of a mashup of PDF reader, editor, and organizer. It’s just too bad there’s not a Mac version to sync files through iCloud.
I thought the current batch of mini-word processors and minimalist distraction free writing tools had become all the rage until I had to try out a few PDF editors and readers. Settle down. Take your time. There are plenty from which to choose. Look for good reviews and make sure the app has a download try-before-you-buy option, otherwise, all too many of these editors are merely variations on a theme.