Posts tagged with "pdf"

Developers Report Serious PDF Bugs in macOS Sierra

After macOS Sierra was released, reports of problems with PDFs created with Fujitsu’s ScanSnap scanner surfaced. Apple resolved those problems with the release of macOS 10.12.1, but it turns out the problems with PDFs on Sierra run deeper.

Adam Engst of TidBITS has a rundown of several issues that plague Preview, Apple’s PDF app, and many third-party PDF apps. The source of the problems seems to be PDFKit, a developer framework for handling PDFs in macOS. According to developers who spoke to Engst, Apple rewrote parts of PDFKit to unify the macOS and iOS PDF code bases. In the process, developers say that Apple introduced a series of significant bugs and deprecated PDFKit features that broke third-party apps that use PDFKit.

Most recently, the macOS 10.12.2 release seems to have introduced a Preview bug that deletes any OCR layer embedded in a PDF that is edited in Preview. Meanwhile, third-party developers have run into new bugs that affect the handling of PDF annotations.

Engst, the co-author of Take Control of Preview, concludes that:

… I have to recommend that Sierra users avoid using Preview to edit PDF documents until Apple fixes these bugs. If editing a PDF in Preview in unavoidable, be sure to work only on a copy of the file and retain the original in case editing introduces corruption of any sort. Smile’s PDFpen [which doesn’t use PDFKit] is the obvious alternative for PDF manipulation of all sorts (and for documentation, we have “Take Control of PDFpen 8” too), although Adobe’s Acrobat DC is also an option, albeit an expensive one.


PDF Viewer Delivers Free PDF Viewing and Editing Tools

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.

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PDF Expert 2 for Mac Adds Powerful PDF Editing Features

PDF Expert launched on the Mac last November, and in my initial review I was pretty effusive, impressed at the level of functionality, polish, and speed for an initial release. At the time I even called it “a better Preview for PDFs”, and had made PDF Expert the default application for viewing PDFs on my Mac. Nine months later, and it all still rings true. Better yet, Readdle is today launching a big version 2 update for PDF Expert which makes it an even better and more powerful app. Now you can now edit text, images, and outlines in PDFs, as well as password-protect your PDFs in PDF Expert 2.

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LiquidText 2.0 Brings Support for Multiple Documents

While I don’t work with a lot of PDFs for what I do at MacStories, I’ve had to annotate documents and collect research material in the past, and I’ve been impressed with LiquidText for iPad.

LiquidText is one of the most innovative iPad apps I’ve seen in recent years. The app lets you read and annotate PDF documents, but it looks nothing like a traditional PDF editor. Text can be highlighted and pulled aside with a delightful tap & hold interaction; multiple excerpts can be grouped together in a cluster of bits of text, and you can also add your own notes to the mix. LiquidText is uniquely spatial in the way it lets you organize notes and annotations visually, moving them around, and linking them together. I like, for instance, how you can tap an excerpt in the side panel to see where it links back in the original document. LiquidText is full of interesting, useful features like that.

Today, LiquidText has launched a major 2.0 update that adds the ability to work with multiple documents and easily import webpages in a single LiquidText file. I’ve been playing with the beta, and it’s solid: multiple documents can be opened simultaneously, and you can pull together annotations from different sources in the same space. You can also add notes that reference multiple documents, as well as search for text across all documents at once. I’ve never seen a PDF app for iPad that made annotating and referencing multiple PDF documents this simple and intuitive.

Given the option to import PDF documents and webpages in a single LiquidText file, I think I’m going to give this a shot as I prepare my research for iOS 10 this summer. LiquidText 2.0 can export every excerpt and note as plain text, which I should be able to import in Ulysses to start writing. I haven’t tried importing Apple’s developer documentation webpages in the app yet, but it should be possible. LiquidText’s annotation engine and option to compare files is perfect for that kind of research spread across multiple topics related to each other.

Finally, the upgrade price. LiquidText has always been free (which is crazy if you ask me), but the Multi-Document Pack is a $8.99 In-App Purchase. If you want to support and enjoy one of the most powerful, original iPad apps I’ve tried in years, it’s a no-brainer.

iOS Tip: Export PDFs from Print Preview with 3D Touch

Printing to PDF with 3D Touch.

Printing to PDF with 3D Touch.

Note: this tip was first shared with Club MacStories members over a month ago in issue 16 of MacStories Weekly. We are sharing it today as a one-off sample. Subscribe now and don’t miss out on more iOS tips and workflows.

A hidden option of iOS’ Print feature I’ve recently discovered is a way to export a PDF file from the Print preview screen using 3D Touch. I haven’t been able to replicate it without 3D Touch on the iPad, which makes the option available exclusively on the latest iPhones.

When viewing a page you want to save as PDF – say, a webpage in Safari or a note in the Notes app – open the share sheet, find the Print extension at the bottom, and tap it. This will open a Printer Options screen with a page preview in the lower half. You can swipe on pages to scroll through them, but what I didn’t know is that you can also press lightly on a page and then pop it open to get a Quick Look preview of the PDF file that’s going to be printed. Because it’s a PDF file, you can share it with other apps and action extensions, saving it elsewhere.

You can also generate PDFs from the Notes app.

You can also generate PDFs from the Notes app.

Thanks to this hidden feature, you’ll be able to share PDF files generated natively by iOS with other apps, including Dropbox and Workflow, without having to save the PDF to iBooks. I wish this could also be done on an iPad.

Scanbot Adds Slack, Wunderlist Integration

I’ve recently accepted the fact that I’m never happy with my paperless setup, and this freed me from the burden of feeling bad whenever I’m trying different apps to scan documents and archive them online. One of the apps I’m trying alongside Evernote Scannable is Scanbot, which has received some interesting updates over the past few months (such as themes and smart naming features). Today, Scanbot was updated with Slack and Wunderlist support, and I’m a fan of these integrations.

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PDF Converter Gets Universal Update

With iOS 8, Readdle updated their PDF Converter app for iPad with an action extension to quickly convert any webpage to PDF. While the same can be done with Workflow now, I like that PDF Converter saves documents automatically into the app, which can store them in iCloud Drive (and thus on all your devices) without even launching the app after a PDF has been generated.

PDF Converter was updated to version 2.2 yesterday with iPhone support – you can now “print” a webpage to PDF directly from Safari with the tap of a button without having to decide where you want to save the file. In the app, you can tap an iCloud Drive button to open the iOS 8 document picker and switch it to other document storage extensions, and you can also convert the contents of your clipboard or files from Dropbox.

If you don’t want to convert webpages or files, PDF Converter’s action extension shows up in the Photos app, which will let you convert images to PDF documents (handy if you, say, want to annotate screenshots with full-featured apps like PDF Expert).

PDF Converter 2.2 is available on the App Store at $2.99.