As Federico and I discussed on AppStories this week, PDFs are a big part of the work day for many people. There are several solid PDF apps for iOS, but one of my favorites is PDF Viewer by PSPDFKit, the maker of a PDF viewing and editing SDK that many well-known companies use to integrate PDF functionality into their apps.
One of PDF Viewer’s advantages is that it’s free. With version 3, PDF Viewer’s core functionality remains free, but it is introducing a Pro Pack that is a set of advanced features available as part of a $9.99/year or $2.99/3-month subscription.
It’s a savvy move and one that’s been well-executed. By first building a free PDF app with functionality that rivals established paid apps, PDF Viewer has made a name for itself in a crowded market. The broad feature set of the free version of PDF Viewer, which we’ve covered in the past here, here, and here makes it hard for someone to argue that the app is only useful if you pay for the In-App Purchase. That’s just not the case. If you work with PDFs every day, you’ll love the new pro features, but the app’s free version still serves more casual users as well as ever.
Since the release of iOS 11, I haven't seen many apps use the system's new document browser – the built-in Files view that can be embedded in document-based apps as a root view. I covered this feature extensively in my iOS 11 review. Apple's iWork suite of apps has switched to Files' document browser, as did MindNode 5, but I've struggled to find other examples of high-profile third-party apps abandoning their custom file managers in favor of Apple's solution. As I argued in September, my guess is that a combination of bugs and lack of deeper customization for the document browser is preventing more apps from embracing it. Which is too bad, as the Files integration brings substantial benefits in the form of drag and drop, iCloud Drive and third-party locations, recents and tags, and more.
PDF Viewer, the powerful PDF editor for iOS we originally reviewed here and here, is adding support for iOS 11's document browser with version 2.1, launching today on the App Store. After testing a beta of this update for the past week, I'm impressed by how the folks at PSPDFKit have been able to fine-tune the document browser to the app's needs.
Last fall, PSPDFKit introduced PDF Viewer, a powerful, free iOS app for viewing and annotating PDFs that matched or exceeded many of the features found in paid PDF apps. Since then, the team behind PDF Viewer has rolled out a steady series updates, adding new features and refining existing ones. The latest update continues that trend with major additions that round out PDF Viewer's feature set.
PDF Viewer's name belies the power under its hood. This is more than just a viewer app. PDF Viewer includes powerful PDF editing tools on par with, and in some cases more extensive than, some of the best PDF apps I’ve tried. That's not to say that there aren't a few rough edges and limitations, but for a free app, PDF Viewer should suit the PDF viewing and editing needs of most people.
Evernote for iOS has been updated today to version 5.2. I have been testing the update for the past weeks, and I believe it brings a number of very welcome improvements, especially for iPad owners.
In my original review of Evernote 5, I noted how the new app's interface felt clunky to navigate in notebooks with a large number of notes, causing related slowdowns when scrolling a note list and, worse, crashes. Version 5.2 brings an all-new snippet view for iPad, which speeds up navigation considerably and works better than the old thumbnail-based navigation when dealing with multiple notes.
Dropbox 2.1 With New PDF Viewer
Dropbox has released an update to its iOS app that brings three new features for iPhone and iPad users: a redesigned PDF viewer, notifications for folders shared with you, and a new “sort by modified date” option.
The new PDF viewer is based on PSPDFKit and it now allows you to access the table of contents and page thumbnails for every PDF document in your Dropbox. A button in the top right corner of the title bar lets you switch from single page view to thumbnails, while a search icon in the bottom bar allows you to search for any word inside a document (with match highlighting). On the iPad, these buttons are available as floating controls (pictured above). As with the previous versions of the app, you can open a PDF in other apps and copy its Dropbox link to the clipboard.
Dropbox is now capable of sending push notifications when someone shares a folder with you – a feature that the company has slowly been bringing to its desktop and mobile applications. In my tests, however, I haven't been able to receive any notification yet. The new “Newest - Oldest” sorting option is available at the top of any folder next to the search. The design is in line with Dropbox 2.0, released in December.
Dropbox 2.1 is available on the App Store.
Readdle released a major update to PDF Expert today. Version 6 incorporates powerful PDF editing tools, in-place cloud-based editing and annotation, document-level assignment of passwords, and more. PDF Expert was already one of the premier PDF apps on iOS, but free alternatives have given it a run for its money recently. The new features in PDF Expert 6 should help maintain its status as a favorite for many PDF power users.
Released today on the App Store, PDF Expert 5 is Readdle’s new version of the popular PDF Expert for iPad, a feature-rich PDF manager and reader that I’ve been using on my iPad for years. PDF Expert 5, a separate app sold at $9.99 on the App Store, brings a cleaner design for iOS 7 and, more importantly, new functionalities such as better document management, an improved sidebar and document viewer, Review mode, and more. Read more
PDF Expert 4.4 With PDF Converter Integration
PDF Expert by Readdle is my preferred PDF reader app for iPad. It comes with a polished UI, various annotation tools, and, more importantly, Dropbox sync. The latest update to PDF Expert for iPad, version 4.4, features integration with Readdle's other PDF app, PDF Converter. As Readdle describes it:
Anyone who has already installed Readdle's PDF Converter on the iPad can easily convert any files into PDFs from within PDF Expert. Once you send a document to convert in PDF (action button -> convert to PDF), it instantly converts to PDF and is saved back in PDF Expert for annotation. So far, users that have .doc, .pages, .ppt now can convert these file in PDFs and annotate them in PDF Expert.
I have tried the feature with .rtf files (which I often receive), and it works as advertised. Essentially, it works with a URL scheme that from PDF Expert can forward a document to PDF Converter (if installed); this is done through a "Convert to PDF" menu available in the upper toolbar of the document viewer. Once pressed, PDF Expert will send the document to PDF Converter, which will convert it and automatically send it back. I have asked Readdle whether this kind of integration was achieved using x-callback-url, but they told me they're using their own implementation called RDIntegration.
I personally run my own remote PDF converter through Dropbox, but the option in PDF Expert works nicely and it's entirely automated, so check it out if you've been looking for something like this on iOS and Readdle's apps.