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Posts tagged with "pdf"

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.

PDF Expert 5 Brings Updated Design, More PDF Editing Features to iPad

PDF Expert

PDF Expert

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 Adds New Annotation Features

Readdle's PDF Expert has been my favorite PDF reader for iPad for a long time now. With Dropbox integration and a clean UI full of powerful options, PDF Expert is the app I rely upon when it comes to reading and editing PDF documents. The 4.6 version, released today on the App Store, adds a series of new features that make adding annotations and managing them inside a document even easier.

Annotations can now be copied and pasted inside a document and across different documents in PDF Expert: to do so, you can use a new selection tool available in the top toolbar. This new tool will let you select a single annotation/shape and use iOS' familiar copy & paste menu -- but you can also select multiple annotations at once to move them, copy them, delete them, or change their properties. PDF Expert's selection is also smart: if you select two shapes, the popup menu will show options for shape thickness and color (also new in version 4.6); if you drag the selection on top of text annotation, the app will show properties for font, colors, and font sizes.

In this update, Readdle also included a new custom date/time keyboard (which reminded me of a similar keyboard from another Readdle app, Calendars+) that makes it easier to fill date fields in PDF forms.

While I prefer Skitch for "quick" annotations that involve shapes and callouts, PDF Expert remains my choice for text annotations and reading long documents. PDF Expert is available at $9.99 on the App Store.

Skitch 2.5 Adds PDF Annotations



Skitch, the image annotation and sharing tool that Evernote acquired in the summer of 2011, has today been updated on iOS to include support for PDF annotations. I have been testing the new feature for the past few months, and, while not as full-featured as a dedicated PDF annotation app, I believe it is a solid addition to Skitch. Read more

Chrome For iOS and “Save To PDF”

Chrome for iOS was updated yesterday with a couple of new features, and considering it’s become my daily browser on all my devices, I thought I should try them out.

The most notable addition is full-screen viewing for the iPhone version. As you scroll down a page, the Omnibox gets hidden; to view it again, simply swipe down anywhere on a webpage. I like the implementation, and I think Google is doing full-screen browsing better than Apple on iOS. More importantly, the status bar remains visible even with full-screen activated (I wish Rdio would do the same). I hope this initial iPhone-only full-screen mode will evolve into Google finally enabling a bookmarks bar on the iPad.

The other addition of version 26.0.1410.50 (I know, don’t ask) is printing. From the Print menu, you can now print webpages using AirPrint or Google Cloud Print. The changelog also mentions the possibility to save PDFs to Google Drive, and I find it curious that this functionality is hidden inside Google Cloud Print’s menu. MacStories readers know about my preference for PDFs and workflows to archive PDFs of webpages. Unfortunately, Chrome’s Drive integration leaves much to be desired: it kept timing out on my devices, and when it worked, a PDF was considerably reduced in quality (screenshot). I’ll keep using my own scripts to archive PDFs.

For a detailed overview of the update, I recommend reading Dan Moren’s piece for Macworld linked above.


Day One for iOS With PDF Export

Day One for iOS With PDF Export



Day One is my favorite journaling app for iOS and OS X. The app was chosen as Mac app of the year by Apple, and for good reason: both on Macs and iOS devices, Day One is a finely crafted piece of software based on an even more powerful idea – archiving your memories. From my review:

Day One stands out because it's not a tool, it's a personal experience. I can tell you what Day One does, and I can write about the things I do with it. But I can't tell you how you should use it.

In November 2012, the app was updated with tags, search, and support for MultiMarkdown footnotes. Version 1.10, released today, brings a new option to export your entries as PDF. The update also contains fixes and other improvements such as a new reminder sound, historical weather data increased from 3 to 30 days (useful when adding old entries), and a new font option.

PDF export is interesting because it enables Day One users to get their journal entries out of the app and save them in a format that is more future-proof than Bloom's own file format. Available in the Settings, you can export all entries at once, or filter specific ones by date range or tag. In my case, I filtered entries tagged with my dog's name and emailed a beautifully formatted PDF full of photos to my friends. Exports are listed in the same menu and they can be deleted with a single swipe. Email exports can contain attachments up to 25 MB in size, but the app also comes with an “Open In…” menu to send PDFs to other apps like Dropbox and Google Drive (if installed).

I like the changes in Day One 1.10 and I keep recommending the app as, by far, the best journaling experience on iOS and OS X. Day One is available on the App Store.


PDF Expert 4.4 With PDF Converter Integration

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.


Turn URLs and Webpages Into PDFs In Your Dropbox

I stumble across a lot of interesting webpages on a daily basis. Sometimes it's a video I want to watch later; sometimes it's an article I don't have time to read right away. Other times, I find a webpage that I want to keep around for future reference. For me, there's a difference between articles to read later and reference material: whereas a new item added to Instapaper has a short life span in terms of attention (read, share, archive), a webpage I want to keep around forever needs to be turned into a document I can read anywhere, highlight, annotate, and carry around between platforms and devices. For that, I like PDFs.

I keep a "PDFs" folder in my Dropbox that contains all the documents I check upon regularly for work and personal purposes. They can be eBooks, tutorials, or guidelines from Apple that are essential to my writing online. Thanks to the increasing support for cloud services in apps like PDF Expert, GoodReader, and iAnnotate, I can keep a single copy of a PDF in my Dropbox, use the app I want to annotate the document with, and forget about duplicates thanks to sync. Furthermore, I'm fairly sure that, due to their popularity, PDFs will still be readable and supported 20 years from now, so I don't have to worry about data preservation and file formats.

Lately, I have become obsessed with turning longer articles I find on the Internet also into PDFs for long-term archival. For as much as I like Instapaper, I can't be sure that the service will be around in the next decades, and I don't want my archive of longform and quality content to be lost in the cloud. So I have come up with a way to combine Instapaper with the benefit of PDFs, Dropbox, and automation to generate documents off any link or webpage, from any device, within seconds.

(Disclaimer: what follows is an explanation of a hack I created for personal use. It uses publicly available tools and apps to fill a personal need. You shouldn't create PDFs off websites and redistribute them -- you should support the sites you read instead).

In short, I use the Instapaper Text bookmarklet to fetch a webpage's text and images (while preserving hyperlinks and great typography) and I convert the resulting page to PDF using wkpdf. Created by Christian Plessl, wkpdf is a command line tool that uses WebKit and RubyCocoa for rendering HTML content to PDF. Since wkpdf uses WebKit's HTML rendering, it can generate good-looking PDFs that maintain most CSS2 and CSS3 stylings and properties. I have tried another command line tool for file conversion, Pandoc, but I like wkpdf better for straight HTML to PDF conversion. Read more