If you have ever had to edit a PDF, you know what a pain that can be. Even with Adobe’s own Acrobat Pro or DC application, changing a font or editing an image in a PDF file isn’t very easy or simple. Much to my surprise when I downloaded PDF Expert from Readdle, this app seemed to offer a far more user-friendly interface than Acrobat when it comes to PDF editing. I soon found out it’s powerful too.
With PDF Expert, you can fill out PDF forms. It won’t just open your PDF, but also detect and highlight fields to fill. A second power feature that I like is that you can effortlessly add pages from one PDF to another and merge them together without even opening them. That sounds like something you could do easily with Acrobat too, but with my last Acrobat X Pro version, it wasn’t as easy as with PDF Expert. The latter just let me select multiple PDFs from the File > Merge Files menu and after a few seconds the complete, merged PDF opened.
If you want to merge a file with one that is already open, PDF Expert has an icon that lets you display pages in a PDF on a grid. Now, if you want to add another PDF file, you can simply click the Append File icon and select your file. Then, when the file has loaded at the end of the grid, you can relocate the pages — either individually, groups or the lot — to other positions on the grid. The numbering will automatically change to reflect your insertion.
I don’t believe you can auto-insert a complete PDF at a specific location. As far as I could figure out, a file always gets added at the end of the file you’re processing. That’s not the case with adding pages. There are two ways you can add individual pages to your PDF with PDF Expert. The first is to click the icon, which will add an empty page. The second is by copying a page from another PDF file and pasting the file in your active PDF. The pasted page will automatically appear after the one you selected.
In short, adding and merging PDFs is a joy with PDF Expert, rather than a chore. To me, however, the real litmus test was how flexible and user-friendly PDF Expert would turn out to be when editing content — text, images, links. Well, it’s very user-friendly, that much I can say.
PDF Expert lets you edit text, images, links and outlines. Text is a no-brainer as it supports all fonts installed on your system, including the ones managed by Suitcase or any other font manager. PDF Expert text selections happen without any lag at all and you can instantly recognise every individual text container — PDFs are internally organised in “chunks” of content — by just hovering over different parts of the page. Editing images comes with drag/drop support, support for cropping, etc.
You can select every content container on the page and resize it, move it, etc. You can create links in PDF Expert to pages within the PDF and to the Web, and it’s all so much easier and faster than with Adobe’s own products. In fact, all the while testing PDF Expert I couldn’t help thinking of an application I tested many years ago. It was a PDF editor for printing companies developed by a Belgian developer of printing workflow systems. It cost several thousands of dollars, was available as a stand-alone app for a brief time, and has since been integrated in their enterprise-scale system.
That app went even further, but its additional functionality was specifically aimed at printers trying to correct graphical designers’ errors.
PDF Expert on the other hand is aimed at end-users like you and I. For example, its Redact feature allows you to black out or erase sensitive information, right from within the app. There’s even an outline feature and of course you can annotate files. The annotation tool set is as complete as Adobe’s original app, but it comes with the ability to share your PDFs and associated comments via Dropbox or any other cloud service you may be using.
Of course, PDF Expert isn’t perfect. For example, it only supports Acro forms and static XFA forms, not dynamic XFA forms. If you absolutely need those to be supported, then PDF Expert isn’t for you. For the rest of us, it’s a godsend.
PDF Expert doesn’t break the bank. It costs only €59.99!