Could you recommend a reputable Mac OS or ios AI app or AI web site to summarize PDFs

PDFs of all kinds, some more technical and academic (medical studies).
I would like to obtain a summary with an option to get a detailed summary, “quiz” the PDF, an analysis etc
I subscribe to chatGPT which does an OK job. I am looking for something more sophisticated and elaborate.
thanks in advance for your time and help

The AI part is still beta but mentioned here:


No recommendations here, but I’d like to point out that this is a lot more difficult than simply asking software to summarize text files.

More specifically, PDFs do not necessarily contain a plain-text representation of the content. They may contain bitmap scans of source documents, with or without an embedded OCR conversion (which itself may be inaccurate).

They may also not have a linear sequence of words or characters. I’ve seen PDFs where words or characters are individually positioned on each page, not necessarily appearing in the same sequence you see visually.

These can be especially nasty if the document is presented in a multi-column format, or with embedded block-quotes and sidebar content (like you may find on advertising brochures and white papers).

And then I’ve seen some that don’t have actual text, but only have the drawing vectors generated when the source application rendered the text. Fortunately, these are not very common these days.

Not to say that automated summarization of these is not possible, but it is a significantly harder problem than summarization of a text-based format like a text file or a word processor document.


I’ve used ChatPDF successfully a few times.


thanks very much.
It would have been ideal, but I bought a lifetime subscription at great expense and they now decided that AI is not included.

@ace @galexa
Someone strongly recommended popAi . I experimented with the free trial and was impressed. Have you heard about it ?
thank you very much

ChatPDF is $10 / week or 150 / year.

That’s annoying. I haven’t used it much but notice it’s ‘unavailable’ currently. Did they say if they’ve abandoned it or was just an extra payment thing?

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I don’t know. Sorry

Thanks for this topic.
I have PDF Expert and just experimented with the beta AI chat feature in the Premium version. My experiment was to save a WSJ article, import to PDF Expert, and ask PDF Expert to create a summary, list the main points, generate a key word list, and generate hashtags. I thought it did a decent job for a simple business article.
Interested in others experiences. I expect YMMV.

gm shapiro

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thank you for your comment.

In this forum of experts, I am only a dilettante.

I think that our objective is to be able to compare PDF AI apps and find a way to go about this.

To “stress test” PDF AI Apps, if the initial try with different PDFs (like your WSJ article and other more technical PDFs) goes well, I go to a technical youtube video→ copy the totally unstructured transcript from the youtube web site→ create a non structured PDF from the transcript (create PDF from clipboard containing the transcript) → feed the PDF to the AI app→ ask for a summary → a detailed summary and ask specific questions.

There are so many PDF AI apps and my point is that we should create a stress test to compare them. Some are a total joke and limit the summary to extracting full paragraphs of the original text.

Understood. I agree with your approach and am interested in the comments.
In this topic area for sure, I am at best a beginner, interested learner, and watcher. Hope to learn from the seasoned vets!

gm shapiro

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That doesn’t seem right. ChatPDF’s free plan allows two PDFs per day. The Plus plan is $19.99 per month or $139.99 per year.

I hadn’t heard about popAi, but it looks potentially interesting.

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yes you are right @ace . Sorry !

I am completely biased since I work on the team at Adobe, but I would suggest using the AI Assistant built in to Acrobat for PDF summaries. You can use the application or the web.

We think it’s pretty good and will only get better.



thank you Tom !

I have successfully used ChatPDF to summarise a 140 page semi-academic study about softwares for a certain sector.
And Chat GPT was a useful tool to summarise an entire academic website with many pages of a professor of environmental studies, said professor was very surprised that hardly any further human input was required prior to publication.

I work a fair bit with a medical/pharmaceutical translator. An enormous amount of time goes on staying compliant with many regulations in different jurisdictions around the world. I wonder if any AI can manage this complexity at a reliable level for summaries. Perhaps it can be done with AI, perhaps not.


I have PDF Expert. It’s my favorite PDF reader/annotator. I’ve tried the AI feature with academic articles. It works, but the summaries are not really helpful to me. It’s not good at picking up the important elements of an article – the summary is just not substantively informative. It does generate a nice set of keywords for a document.

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