PDFPen gives you superlative PDF editing on your Mac

By Aaron Lee

SmileOnMyMac recently updated PDFPen, its PDF editing and form-filling tool for macOS, to version 8.3, adding Touch Bar support for certain models of the 2016 MacBook Pros. If you haven't used the software, PDFPen -- or its Pro sibling -- is certainly worth a look.

PDFpen is a PDF editing tool that allows you to: add text, images, signatures and markup to PDFs; edit and delete text in an original PDF; move, copy, resize and delete images in the original PDF; handle OCR scanned documents; redact or erase text; and fill out and save forms. You can merge pages from several PDF files. Open the files in PDFpen and drag the pages you need from each into a new document.

When it comes to redacting text, you can perform tasks such as removing a Social Security number or banking details. PDFpen removes the text in the PDFpen and replaces it with a black rectangle. You can even use search-and-redact to eliminate the text throughout a PDF document. What's more, PDFpen is fully scriptable, so you can automate nearly anything you can do in the interface.

It's designed for anyone who needs more powerful editing capabilities than those offered by Mac OS X's Preview, but not the full range of printing, collaboration and security tools offered by Adobe Acrobat (which, by the way, costs about seven times as much). PDFpen is popular among publishers, medical and law offices, contractors, and teachers.

PDFpenPro lets you do everything that PDFpen does. Plus, it lets you convert websites into multi-page PDFs, create and edit cross-platform interactive PDF forms, and create and edit a table of contents.

While Preview includes some editing capabilities, it lacks PDFpenʼs ability to perform OCR (Optical Character Recognition), add or correct text, edit images, add signatures, redact sensitive information, or save PDF forms. PDFpen and PDFpenPro have many of the features of Acrobat, although the Adobe product offers several print production features (such as color separations), document identity and collaboration tools that aren't available in the SmileOnMyMac products.

Version 8.3 adds support for both editing tools and PDFpenPro’s Table of Contents editing tools, as well as Touch Bar support.DFpenPro and PDFpen 8 work with PDFpen for iPad and iPhone version 2, allowing editing across devices when used with Dropbox storage or iCloud Drive. iCloud storage is available when PDFpen is purchased via the Mac App Store.

PDFpen retails for $74.95, PDFpenPro for $124.95. Family pack licenses, which cover up to five computers in one household, are $94.95 for PDFpen and $149.95 for PDFpenPro. Office pack licenses start at $224.95 for PDFpen (for five users) and $349.95 for PDFpenPro (five users).

Upgrades from earlier single user versions of either application are $30, and free to users who purchased on or after Jan. 1, 2016. Upgrades from previous versions of PDFpen to PDFpenPro 8 are $50. PDFpen 8 and PDFpenPro 8 require macOS 10.10 or later.