PDF Alternatives

A few years ago, I began using PDF PenPro after learning about it via either a TidBits article or a Take Control book; at the time it was part of Smile Software. I rarely, if ever, create a PDF document “from scratch” but I often download PDF docs, create one from a scan, or export a Pages doc into PDF format. I like having the ability to make minor document changes, such as delete unneeded pages, highlight a section, or add a note to a document, so I need more than Acrobat Reader. PDF PenPro seemed to suit my needs & I rarely had problems w/it, when I did, Smile tech support was very helpful.

A couple years ago, PDF PenPro became part of Nitro. Since then, I have run into issues every couple months that have needed tech support and Nitro’s tech support is terrible, only available via email, and very slow. Not a single issue has been resolved, in the end, I’m always provided w/a multi-step workaround. My most recent issue has been going on at least 3 weeks and it doesn’t look as if even a work around is in the future. I’m lucky if I get a reply w/in a week.

I’m desperately looking for another alternative for PDF documents. While I’m willing to pay for an app, I don’t need it for professional purposes so I’m not willing to spend a huge amount of money. Suggestions?

Try PDF Expert. We are using it a lot and I am very happy with it.


I don’t see anything in your list of “minor changes” that you cannot do in Preview.


Never occurred to me that Preview could do that many things. I will experiment w/it tomorrow to see if it does everything I need. :crossed_fingers:t2: Thank you very much.

I will look into PDF Expert, didn’t know of it. Thank you.

Yes. Thumbs up for PDF Expert here, our goto.

Here are some resources to look at:

And finally, if you’re really desperate, there’s always Apple’s own Preview User Guide :wink:


This review seems very comprehensive.

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I’ve switched to PDF Expert and like it, particularly on iPad. Nitro, the new owners of PDF Pen Pro, turned me off with their poor and vague offers to “upgrade” to a version where the major feature seemed to be the addition of their own branding to the app.

That’s more or less my problem w/PDF Pro; Nitro seems to continually over-promise and under-deliver. Per a previous reply, I’ve been experimenting w/Preview, never realized it was so full featured. If Preview doesn’t fit my needs, I’ll move on & test PDF Expert. I’m tired of PDF Pro “breaking” and Nitro’s lack of support.


I’m pretty sure that when you delete a page in Preview it isn’t really deleted, just not visible. At least I read that somewhere.

I use PDF Expert a lot and really like it when I am putting together a Table of Contents or Bookmarks, and when I am deleting pages, annotating additional pages, or inserting graphics and blank pages. It is really easy to reorder pages using PDF Ex.

As an experiment, I opened a 12-page PDF in Preview (Ventura 13.0.1) and deleted the first page.

The original document was 1.7 MB; the new one is 1.5 MB.


I think you’re thinking of cropping a PDF in Preview. In that case, it just sets the display bounds and the original content outside the crop is still recoverable. But if you delete a page in Preview, it deletes it, and someone else can’t get it back (you might be able to undo the delete depending on when you try).


I like PDF Pro, allowing me to scan PDFs for the Form Fields and OCR as a layer. Mayber there’s a better app?

Thanks to David and Jolin for correcting my misinformation! I didn’t say I was bright, simply good at passing on out of date information lol. Thank you both. I will also add the Preview has been a valuable resource for a long time, but for heavy PDF work I have found PDF Expert a good choice. I’ve long used PDFPenPro but with the new ownership and fee structure it hasn’t been worth the effort.


I am able to meet virtually all my PDF needs with Preview and PDF Expert. They both work well for me.

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I’ve been experimenting w/Preview, it might be all that I need. Will look at PDF Expert as well, seems to be the most recommended option by far.

Thank you!

Does PDF Expert do things Preview doesn’t?

I find it simpler to use once you get used to the interface. It took awhile to get used to it but then it becomes a tool I can use with ease and far more quickly. That is just a personal experience but I do a lot of PDF work.

PDF Expert’s publisher lists these features (presumably for version 3); I don’t need the ones that go beyond Preview’s capabilities:

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