PDF Expert Review: The PDF Editor Just Got Better

Reviews • June.30, 2022

Iwould like to start this review with a disclaimer.

PDF Expert has been my go-to PDF editor for more than a year.

I absolutely love this piece of software from Readdle. Compared to other PDF editors I have tried, PDF Expert offers more features and enhanced stability — in an easy-to-use package.

So, when I heard the company has launched a brand-new version of PDF Expert, I was excited to give it a try.

I have been testing the PDF Expert for Mac 3 for almost a week. And here is a brief review of what Readdle has done with the latest version of its popular PDF editor.

About PDF Expert

PDF Expert is one of the most popular PDF editors for Mac, iPad, and iPhone. It allows you to edit, annotate, sign, convert, and merge PDF documents with ease. It also lets you manage many PDF documents efficiently. In all these subsections, you can find tens and hundreds of features.

For instance, you can convert PDFs to other formats like Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. Compared to many other PDF editors, PDF Expert packs a minimalistic UI and many features. You can use the tool to manage all your digital signatures, add stamps, and even integrate audio notes. There are many drawing options as well.

But, wait, a lot more is coming in PDF Expert.

What’s new in PDF Expert 3?

A brand-New Design with Dark Mode

With this new release, Readdle has introduced a brand-new User Interface. Compared to the last version, it lets you manage documents efficiently.

First of all, you get the awesome Dark Mode on Mac. It means you can work on PDFs without straining your eyes. I also noticed that the Dark Mode integrates well into all parts of the interface. If you are already using Dark Mode on macOS, you don’t have to do anything; PDF Expert will follow suit.

PDF Expert also introduces a brand-new tabbed interface. It means you can open multiple PDFs and move between them quickly. For instance, you can copy something from one document and paste it onto another.

Easy Conversion and Exports

The latest version makes it easy to convert and export PDF files. You can find an ‘Export’ tab on the right and use it to create Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Text, and Images from PDF files.

I also noticed that the conversion is more stable. You can natively edit these documents and easily manage all elements. These options were available earlier, but you had to follow a complex process. So, the new feature will come in handy if you want to create different documents simultaneously.

Smart OCR and Text Recognition

One thing that PDF Expert lacked was OCR support.

The new version introduces an integrated way to scan and OCR documents. So, for example, if you have an old, scanned doc, you can use PDF Expert to browse the text from the document.

In my case, it’s a blessing because I have to deal with many archival documents as a part of my research. In most cases, these are simply scanned and turned into PDF. However, with the help of PDF Expert, I can go through the text like any other PDF document.

PDF Expert offers OCR scanning support for many languages, including English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese, and Greek.

Smart Enhance

Sometimes, dealing with scanned documents is difficult due to visibility issues. However, you can make scanned documents look better using the new Smart Enhance feature from PDF Expert. You can provide the essential details about the document and leave the rest to the AI.

In most cases, I could get a better viewing experience from the PDF. This feature works well with both color and black-and-white scans. You also get features like splitting and cropping pages, clearing margins, and setting the page size.

In other words, you have all the features to create a stunning PDF document from something you scanned.

PDF Expert 3: a hands-on review

So, we discussed the core features in the new version, PDF Expert for Mac 3. Now, let see how these features improve the overall editing process.

Getting started

Readdle has kept the simple installation process for PDF Expert. You can download the installation file from the official website or App Store. Either way, you can complete the installation process in a few seconds. As soon as you open PDF Expert, you can see the gorgeous User Interface.

We highly recommend that you use the Dark Mode.

On the main screen, you can also find quick buttons for popular actions. Or, you can open a PDF document using the File Browser. Alternatively, if you have already worked with PDF documents, you can launch them from the Recents menu.

Using PDF Expert

I cannot possibly take you through all the features in the PDF Expert package. So instead, I will talk about the experience of using PDF Expert to Annotate, Edit, Scan & OCR, and Export.

Annotating PDFs

It could perhaps be the most feature-rich subsection of PDF Expert. In the Annotate subsection, you get to explore a variety of tools and services. Some of them are:

  • Highlight text
  • Underline text
  • Strikethrough text
  • Pen tool
  • Eraser tool
  • Text tool
  • Shapes tool

You can use these tools to add/make changes to the PDF document. For each tool, you get plenty of options for customization. For instance, you can adjust the color of the text, strikethrough, or underline. If you want to add new text or shapes, you can do it quickly.

There are also some extra tools you’d need if you deal with PDF documents a lot.

  • The Note tool allows you to place note snippets throughout the PDF document
  • The Stamp tool lets you place standard/custom stamps on the PDF document
  • The Sign tool is a blessing when you want to sign documents.

You can find room for customization in each of these tools, which is useful.

Editing PDFs

This is where you should go if you want to make changes to an existing PDF document

You get four major options: Text, Image, Link, and Redact.

Depending on your needs, you can use these tools and customize them further. For instance, you can select a piece of text and change its font, color, font size, etc.

If you want to design a page from scratch, you can remove everything from the page.

Again, PDF Expert does a decent job in this department. If anything, the experience has become more flexible in the new version. I also love how the tool allows you to arrange blocks with the help of smart grids.

Once you are done, you can press the Save button to keep your changes.

Scan & OCR

It is one of the newly-added features of PDF Expert. You get the following options:

  • Enhance Scan
  • Split Pages
  • Crop Pages
  • Clear Margins
  • Recognize Text

I tried all features, and they are reliable. In particular, the Split Page and Crop Page features work well. If you regularly deal with scanned documents, the Scan & OCR section of PDF Expert will be a blessing.

During the review, I also tried converting my handwritten notes to PDF. Again, PDF Expert did a great job of not only recognizing my handwriting but also converting them into easy-to-copy text.

It’s pretty handy that you can manually change the OCR-ed text. For instance, if the OCR is not perfect, you can make slight changes. The OCR algorithm will learn from this feedback and perform better.

Exporting PDF

Once done with edits, you can convert the PDF document and expert into the following formats.

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Text File
  • Image

It works great when combining multiple pages into a single document. As we said, we did have an option to do this, but it’s great to have a dedicated tab.

PDF Expert does a decent job of everything you would expect from a PDF editor.

PDF Expert for iPad

As we said, PDF Expert is available for Mac, iPad, and iPhone. We have been testing the iPad version during the same period, and here are some thoughts.

The iPadOS version of PDF Expert comes with a more concise User Interface. It allows you to do everything you just saw on the Mac version. However, the editing experience is a little better because the iPad comes with a touchscreen.

If you have an Apple Pencil, things become no less than fantastic. You can use the Apple Pencil to annotate, edit, and sign PDF documents more quickly than ever before.

On iPad, PDF Expert becomes a better PDF reader as well. This is because it packs many features you cannot find on other PDF readers/editors.

Pricing and availability

Now, you have multiple ways to grab the desired license of PDF Expert.

PDF Expert remains a free-to-try app for the most part. You can also check out the free trial for 7 days if you want to try the premium features.

Once the trial period is done, you can upgrade to the paid version by paying $79.99 per year.

Here’s what’s great:

The single subscription will let you access PDF Expert on your Mac, iPad, and iPhone. In addition, you can sign in using the same account and keep everything in sync.

If you are not into the ecosystem and want a clean PDF editor for your Mac, you can get a lifetime license by paying just $139.99.

But what if you already have the previous version?

You can keep using all the premium features from the last release. However, you have to upgrade if you want options like Smart Enhance, OCR, Exports, and Dark Mode. But you can do it for 50% off the first year.

Readdle also offers an educational discount of 50%. Students can get the multi-device bundle for $39.99 per year and the lifetime license for $69.99.

I think the pricing plan is perfect, allowing multiple options for multiple users.

The verdict

In my opinion, this upgrade has made PDF Expert the best PDF editor out there. In particular, the addition of OCR support, Smart Enhance, and Dark Mode are fantastic.

It’s great that you can access all these features from a single tool, instead of opening multiple apps. However, based on the nature of your work, you may have additional benefits as well.

So, there you go, many more reasons to check out PDF Expert 3.

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