Here’s Why the PDF Expert 6 Update and In-App Purchase is WORTH IT for Lawyers…

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Here’s Why the PDF Expert 6 Update and In-App Purchase is WORTH IT for Lawyers…

Readdle dropped a MAJOR update to PDF Expert yesterday (May 10, 2017) that includes AMAZING features for legal professionals. I declare this update edges PDF Expert slightly ahead of my go-to recommendation of GoodReader.

The version of the app is now “PDF Expert 6” and the good news is that if you’re already using an older version of PDF Expert (which has historically always cost $9.99), the “basic” update is free. Some of the best new features, however, require an additional, in-app purchase.

Included in the “free” update:

  • Snazzier Digs: Slightly more polished interface. I wouldn’t say it’s a new coat of paint, but kind of like they power-washed it, and then added some trim to spiff up the place a little. Everything is cleaner and sleeker.
  • Big Plus Button: Readdle added a nice big blue plus button in the bottom right corner so you can easily create a new file or folder, or pull in a file from iCloud Drive or your photo album.
  • Password Periphery: MANY people ask me about encrypting files and we can go down loooooong rabbit holes on how to do this. One of the simplest ways to protect a Microsoft Word or PDF file is to require a password to open the file. PDF Expert 6 will now let you easily add a password to a PDF file. This isn’t UNCRACKABLE, but it’s a “reasonable” step to discourage the layman from inadvertently opening a file they shouldn’t.
  • Edit Bookmarks & Outline: PDF “Bookmarks” are sadly one of the most fantastic but UNDER-utilized features of PDF files. Why not give your reader a clickable/tappable table of contents??? When you open a PDF with Bookmarks on the iPad, however, GoodReader and PDF Expert calls them “Outlines” although you could still add your own separate “Bookmarks” in the apps. It’s still very confusing, but we were always able to find the PDF Bookmarks on the iPad (called Outlines in Goodreader and PDF Expert) and tap them to jump to a specific page. We have never, however, been able to EDIT those PDF Bookmarks/Outlines until now! PDF Expert 6 allows you to edit the PDF Bookmarks, although they’re still found under the “Outlines” tab.
  • Cloud Bliss: In the past when we wanted to edit or annotate files stored in Dropbox, we’d have to 1) download the file locally to the iPad, 2) edit it, 3) then upload the file BACK to Dropbox. Too many steps for most people. But NOW, PDF Expert will let you connect to Dropbox from inside the app, tap a PDF and it opens, edit away, and when you close the file it automatically uploads BACK to Dropbox! It works the same for other cloud services. This is HUGE for streamlining the workflow!

The EXTRA features that REQUIRE AN IN-APP PURCHASE:

  • Edit PDF Text: While we’ve been able to edit the actual text of a SEARCHABLE PDF on Windows and Mac computers for many years, it wasn’t easy on the iPad. Now PDF Expert 6 allows you to do this with amazing ease. I’m actually a little nervous that it’s so easy since we usually think of PDF files as “printed” or “finalized.”
  • Add & Edit Images: I don’t anticipate many lawyers using this but it’s incredible that we can easily add images from our Photo Library into a PDF. And remember that a picture doesn’t have to be a picture of your dog – you can take pictures of documents too!
  • Lovely Links: You can now easily add links in your PDF. Links can go to another page in the document, or a URL. I’ve always enjoyed using links in PDF files and it’s wonderful to be able to do this on the iPad.
  • Really Good Redactions: PDF Expert 6 (with the in-app purchase) now offers the ability to redact text by simply dragging your finger over text. And this REALLY redacts. I opened a PDF from Dropbox, redacted the word “hardware” (using the “Find and Redact” function), let the file upload BACK to Dropbox automatically, then I opened the file on my Mac and searched for the word “hardware” – didn’t find anything. So this obviously scrubs the underlying text as well.

I’m happy to pay another $9.99 to Readdle for the extra features in PDF Expert 6, although I know there are many folks who will complain about the extra cost.

Readdle has done an excellent job straddling their options. Apple doesn’t allow app developers to charge for app updates, even though developers put a LOT of time and effort into their updates.

Some developers, in an effort to actually get PAID for their work on updates, have “retired” older versions of their apps and released “new” versions. GoodReader did this and so did iAnnotate more recently. Even TrialPad did this and I recall the developer had to defend his decision to actually get PAID for their development work in many online forums!

Instead of Readdle releasing an entirely “new” app and charging EVERYONE, they still provided some wonderful features in the “free” update. But if you want the more advanced features, you’ll need to pay another $9.99. You could think of it as a “pro” version of the app if you’d like, even though Readdle isn’t positioning it that way.

With these interface refinements, and the amazing new “pro”/in-app features of editing PDF text, and redactions, I do believe this edges PDF Expert out in front of GoodReader, which should make my friend Chad Burton happy.

I’ll have to update my “Best Apps” page as well (www.bestappsinlaw.com).

And be sure to subscribe to my Apps in Law newsletter as I’ll be doing a full review of PDF Expert 6 very soon.

9 comments

  1. Brett - May 11, 2017 6:42 pm

    I concur, PDF Expert 6 is fantastic, and the new redaction tool is super easy to use. It would be great if there was an option to automatically put the word “redacted” over the redacted area.

    Question: are there any iOS apps that allow for quick and easy Bates numbering?

    Reply
    • Brett Burney - May 11, 2017 9:41 pm

      Thanks for the comment! And excellent point – it WOULD be nice to have the word “redacted” on top of the redacted rectangle. Most document review applications will do that.

      I was able to “hack” together a solution, but it’s not the best. I was HOPING I could use the Stamp feature in PDF Expert 6 to create text stamp, but the font is only black and I couldn’t change the color. So I ended up just creating a text box, set the font to white, and I could place it over the redacted area. Then I would have to copy that text box, and then tap and hold in another area to get the “paste” option, and then drag it on to the next redacted area. Like I said, no the smoothest option.

      The best app I know of for applying Bates stamps is DocReviewPad from LitSoftware (https://www.litsoftware.com/docreviewpad-more) – the same company that brings you TrialPad and TranscriptPad. I don’t use DocReviewPad as much as TrialPad and TranscriptPad, but DocReviewPad will apply Bates numbering.

      Let me know if that helps! Thanks again for your comment.

      Reply
      • Brett - May 11, 2017 10:44 pm

        Thanks. The stamp tool works if you use the blue bubble, which makes it a little faster than using the text box. It’s a decent workaround if there are only a few redacted boxes. Maybe Readdle would consider adding this feature. I will ask them. Thanks for the tip about DocReviewPad. I will check it out.

        Reply
        • Brett Burney - May 12, 2017 7:45 am

          Great tip Brett! (and great name too!)

          Definitely let us know if you hear back from Readdle. I think having that option to add a “redacted” text would be good. Even if they just let us customize the stamp tool a little more would be helpful.

          And let me know how you like DocReviewPad, and if it works for your needs.

          Thanks again!

          Reply
  2. Peter Steinberger - May 12, 2017 3:11 pm

    Great review! We’re making PDF Viewer for iOS and Android. It has a slick design and the upcoming 1.6 update adds full iCloud Drive Sync. Also works great with Apple Pencil. While it doesn’t yet has all the features, it’s a completely free app, no ads either – please check it out! https://pdfviewer.io

    Reply
  3. D. Todd Smith - May 13, 2017 12:51 pm

    I use PDF Expert every day and am a big fan. I’m glad to see Readdle moving toward greater utility for lawyers with redaction. However, the app still doesn’t address two things I’ve identified as holding it back: OCR and Bates numbering. Until then, I’m holding onto my Adobe DC subscription.

    One of my favorite features in the app is Readdle Transfer, which no one really talks about. I wonder how much overlap exists between that and the new Dropbox integration.

    Looks like a solid improvement overall.

    Reply
    • Brett Burney - May 13, 2017 2:21 pm

      Thanks Todd, and I think you’re right for holding on to your Adobe DC subscription.

      For OCR’ing PDFs on the iPad, I still believe the best workflow is with PDFpen Scan+ – see my review and demo at http://appsinlaw.com/pdfpen-scan-how-to-ocr-your-existing-scanned-non-searchable-pdf-files/. Scanbot does not have the ability to “import” non-searchable PDFs and OCR them, but I didn’t find it to be as seamless.

      And for Bates numbering, I think the best option is still DocReviewPad.

      And yes, I remember when Readdle released their Readdle Transfer feature but am I correct that it only works between the PDF Expert app on your iPad/iPhone and Mac? I use Preview and Adobe Acrobat on my Mac, so I didn’t use Readdle Transfer much and Dropbox just always worked fine for me.

      But I DO really appreciate the new Dropbox seamlessness with PDF Expert 6 on the iPad.

      Reply
  4. Margaret Keavney - June 7, 2017 11:25 pm

    Thanks for the review, Brett. I am sitting in a hotel with only my iPad and need to send a redacted document toute suite. I wasn’t sure if the in app purchase was worth it, so I was very pleased to have your thoughts on it.

    Reply
    • Brett Burney - June 8, 2017 10:31 am

      That’s great Margaret! I’m glad it was helpful. I never like to pay more than what I need to, but the in-app purchase on PDF Expert is definitely worth it 🙂

      Reply

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