PDF Expert for Mac: Any good?

Traverse

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Mar 11, 2013
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A big part of my work right now is working with PDFs, usually very large PDFs and multiple at one time. For years I've been fine with Preview, but since Apple broke it in El Captain* and has neglected to fix it, I've been looking for a replacement app. I've used PDF Expert on iOS for years and currently use it every day, so naturally I was curious about their Mac application, but it hasn't had stellar reviews.

Before I waste $20 on a so-so application I wanted to get feedback from current users. How has PDF expert for OS X worked for you compared to Preview? One nic thing is that sometimes annotations wouldn't render perfectly between PDF Expert and Preview (resized text boxes, etc.) so 100% compatibility would be nice.

EDIT: the current version has good reviews, but up until now it has been 3/3.5 stars.

Thank you for the feedback.

*Blurry rendering, 4+ GB of RAM usage, crashes, etc.
 

GerritV

macrumors 65816
May 11, 2012
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You can download the app, there's a trial period.
I do most of my pdf handling on my iPad with PDF Expert iOS, but I really liked the Mac version.
Great toolset, document tabs, clean looks. Coming from the iOS version, you'll feel right at home.
 
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SaxPlayer

macrumors 6502a
Jan 9, 2007
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Dorset, England
On a similar note, does anyone have opinions on this software as an Acrobat replacement? I've been gradually replacing all of my Adobe software over the last couple of years (I prefer to buy rather than rent software) and Acrobat is one that's still hanging about on my Mac. I don't need to do all that much with it, to be honest, but like @Traverse I'd be interested to hear what people think of PDF Export (or any other PDF software out there).

Thanks!
 

boston04and07

macrumors 68000
May 13, 2008
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505
Personally I really like it. I too had used it on my iPad before they released the Mac version, and it's very nice having full feature parity between my iPad and my Mac when I'm dealing with PDFs. I used to use Acrobat years ago, but once they made it so that their iOS app required their lame and expensive cloud service to work, I was out, since I usually go back and forth between my iPad and Mac pretty frequently when reading and editing PDFs and needed something that worked everywhere easily. I definitely like this combination much better than the Preview on OS X / PDF Expert on iOS combination I was using before they released their Mac app - no more "wait, where is this again" when switching between the two. The Mac app definitely feels very polished and I've never had an issue with it.
 
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SaxPlayer

macrumors 6502a
Jan 9, 2007
609
450
Dorset, England
Personally I really like it. I too had used it on my iPad before they released the Mac version, and it's very nice having full feature parity between my iPad and my Mac when I'm dealing with PDFs. I used to use Acrobat years ago, but once they made it so that their iOS app required their lame and expensive cloud service to work, I was out, since I usually go back and forth between my iPad and Mac pretty frequently when reading and editing PDFs and needed something that worked everywhere easily. I definitely like this combination much better than the Preview on OS X / PDF Expert on iOS combination I was using before they released their Mac app - no more "wait, where is this again" when switching between the two. The Mac app definitely feels very polished and I've never had an issue with it.
Also look at PdfPenPro, I prefer it to Expert, find it easier and more intuitive.
And much more expensive. :rolleyes:
Wow, yes. PdfPenPro is more than 6 times the price of PDF Expert. I'm perfectly happy to spend more on software if I think it's worth the price, however 6+ times the price is pretty significant! The software would have to do everything that both PDF Expert and Acrobat are capable of plus come over and wash my car, mow the lawn and cook me dinner every night for a month.

Thanks for the feedback. I'm thinking of taking a punt on PDF Expert. At 15 quid it's not much to spend and provided I can remove extraneous colour, replace pages, amend some text and remove/replace the odd picture I'll be happy.
 

AlliePallie

macrumors newbie
Feb 27, 2015
26
18
A big part of my work right now is working with PDFs, usually very large PDFs and multiple at one time. For years I've been fine with Preview, but since Apple broke it in El Captain* and has neglected to fix it, I've been looking for a replacement app. I've used PDF Expert on iOS for years and currently use it every day, so naturally I was curious about their Mac application, but it hasn't had stellar reviews.

Before I waste $20 on a so-so application I wanted to get feedback from current users. How has PDF expert for OS X worked for you compared to Preview? One nic thing is that sometimes annotations wouldn't render perfectly between PDF Expert and Preview (resized text boxes, etc.) so 100% compatibility would be nice.

EDIT: the current version has good reviews, but up until now it has been 3/3.5 stars.

Thank you for the feedback.

*Blurry rendering, 4+ GB of RAM usage, crashes, etc.
Skim also works very well and is free.
 

Traverse

macrumors 604
Original poster
Mar 11, 2013
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I had it crash a few times recently when i had a lot of files open. Other than that, its been pretty good. Uses way less RAM than preview.
I have 16GB of RAM, so even Preview's ridiculous 4GB of usage isn't detrimental to me under most situations, but Preview has also been freezing and crashing a lot lately.

I've decided to give it a shot this weekend when I'm working on my next project.
 

zunairryk

macrumors regular
Mar 8, 2009
215
3
Vancouver, BC
I have 16GB of RAM, so even Preview's ridiculous 4GB of usage isn't detrimental to me under most situations, but Preview has also been freezing and crashing a lot lately.

I've decided to give it a shot this weekend when I'm working on my next project.
For me, there are 3 reasons to use it over preview. 1) Way less RAM usage 2) Smoother scrolling (only PDF app i found that is smoother than preview. Preview used to be fine before Yosemite. But like you mentioned Apple broke it) 3) Tabbed browsing.

They also have a bunch of other features that i don't use.

Edit: Wait you actually haven't tried it out yet? If not, why don't you go to their website and download a trial.
 

Traverse

macrumors 604
Original poster
Mar 11, 2013
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I took the plunge and must admit that I really like the app.

There's only one major issue for me and I've left feedback on it, I hate the tabbed feature. I mean, it's fine as an option, but if I open 3 documents, it's because I need to see three documents and there does not appear to be an option to change this behavior in the current version. You can drag tabs away like in Safari, but that's extra work.
 

Abazigal

macrumors G5
Jul 18, 2011
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Singapore
I took the plunge and must admit that I really like the app.

There's only one major issue for me and I've left feedback on it, I hate the tabbed feature. I mean, it's fine as an option, but if I open 3 documents, it's because I need to see three documents and there does not appear to be an option to change this behavior in the current version. You can drag tabs away like in Safari, but that's extra work.
I get where you are coming from, but I do also like the tabbed feature because it lets me open multiple pdf files and switch between them without cluttering up my desktop. My workflow involves referencing multiple pdf documents to craft email and word documents, so that feature is a godsend.

At the end of the day, I find PDF expert polished enough to justify the money.
 

Traverse

macrumors 604
Original poster
Mar 11, 2013
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I get where you are coming from, but I do also like the tabbed feature because it lets me open multiple pdf files and switch between them without cluttering up my desktop. My workflow involves referencing multiple pdf documents to craft email and word documents, so that feature is a godsend.

At the end of the day, I find PDF expert polished enough to justify the money.
I agree that tabbed usage is handy for certain situations, but that large of a difference in workflow warrants a check box in Preferences, but it's not a deal break.

All and all I'm very pleased with it after 5 years of Preview, plus it only makes sense to use the same app on iOS and OS X to ensure full compatibly of annotations.
 
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pedregosa

macrumors regular
Mar 31, 2010
175
146
I've been using PDF Expert on my Mac for the past few days, and generally like it. A clean, fast, and stable app. But will it replace Acrobat Pro? Sadly not. At least, not until there's a major upgrade. The latter has features I need in my workflow that PDF Expert doesn't -- such as OCR, Bates stamping, redaction, and file-size reduction. But as a daily driver in my PDF-intensive life, I prefer PDF Expert to both the Adobe product and Preview. So I'm glad I got it. To get the best out of it if you are also an iPad user, you'll want to store the files in iCloud -- I've been more of a Google Drive person for PDF cloud work hitherto, but iCloud is working fine for me thus far.
 

virtualbartek

macrumors newbie
Feb 24, 2014
4
0
I've been using PDF Expert on my Mac for the past few days, and generally like it. A clean, fast, and stable app. But will it replace Acrobat Pro? Sadly not. At least, not until there's a major upgrade. The latter has features I need in my workflow that PDF Expert doesn't -- such as OCR, Bates stamping, redaction, and file-size reduction. But as a daily driver in my PDF-intensive life, I prefer PDF Expert to both the Adobe product and Preview. So I'm glad I got it. To get the best out of it if you are also an iPad user, you'll want to store the files in iCloud -- I've been more of a Google Drive person for PDF cloud work hitherto, but iCloud is working fine for me thus far.

Just thought I'd mention that you can drag a tab out into its own window, same as in any web browser. :)

I came here to read about what people think of PDF Expert compared to PDFPen Pro, which I already own. PDF Expert (my trial) is very fast and enjoyable to use, unlike PDFPen.

My main problem with PDFPen is that it has a very glitchy interface--selection boxes changes when clicking on menus, etc. It's been doing that for over a year and their support won't acknowledge it's a thing. I've been through updates upon updates of app and OS, and have since done a fresh install of the OS and installed it on a fresh user account with no other apps. Nothing helps, especially not their support.

All that said, PDF Expert doesn't seem to be able to delete elements on a page unless they are recognizable text or I am cropping--or using white boxes, which are annoying as they are added elements on the page that can be selected accidentally. I need a traditional TRIM style tool, which PDFpen does have (redact works on text and graphics--on anything within the selection box). Also, PDFExpert doesn't do OCR, which I don't need, but is worth mentioning as a comparison point.
 
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