PDF Expert for Mac: the review

PDF Expert for Mac: the review

If you have a iPhone or iPad and you need to manage and annotate PDF, you will certainly have heard of PDF Expert, one of the best PDF apps made byReaddle (for more information on PDF Expert 5 for iOSread our review you findhere). After months of work, the software house has created the version PDF Expert for Mac, which is also their first app for the Mac platform. The goal of this app, to replace the well-known Preview from Apple, pre-installed on all Macs.

The pourpose of PDF Expert that of re-proposing what is already present by default on the default PDF reader on OS X, improving its instruments and the experience of use. Furthermore, it is proposed to release substantial updates in the future, with the aim of adding more and more exclusive features. Hogi tried the app and if you are curious to know if PDF Expert for Mac can really replace Preview, I suggest you keep reading this review.

PDF Expert for Mac: speed and reliability

PDF Expert for Mac 1The first thing that struck me about PDF Expert for Mac the fluidity with which it manages to handle very complex PDFs. Being a university student, I find myself often tiling lecture notes and slides provided by the professors, which in addition to often exceeding a hundred pages, also contain many good resolution images. The result is a large, full-bodied PDF (sometimes over a hundred megabytes), which with the latest releases of Preview for Mac I'm having trouble managing. For difficulty I refer to an obvious speed of the interface when I change page, or while I zoom in with the trackpad. I often find myself with the app locked which forces me to a forced exit and to restart the document.

The first thing I did after installing PDF Expert for Mac, was to open the same documents with which I found these problems. The result was: greater fluidity during the scrolling of the pages, and an ease in managing the different pages. Unfortunately, for some years now it is no longer possible to have this fluidity with the latest versions of Preview.

Functionality and ease of use

The features of the current version 1.0 of PDF Expert for Mac, do not differ much from those on Preview, although the developers have pointed out in a note, that further additions will be in progress that will be released in the coming months. These will make the experience of using the PDF reader unique, but already with this version, use the tools currently available, very intuitive.

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In the upper bar of the app there are three buttons that serve to activate a convenient grid display of all the pages of the PDF. They also allow you to open a sidebar with bookmarks, index and annotations in the PDF and the button that makes the buttons for different annotations.

Grid display

Let's start with the first tool, displaying all the pages of the PDF. On Preview, this function can be recalled via a sidebar, which arranges the different pages in sequence and must scroll to move between them, without ever having the possibility of a comprehensive view if the document exceeds 6/7 pages.

PDF Expert for Mac, as well as the version for iPhone and iPad, features all pages throughout the screen with a high-impact grid layout. Not only can you easily scroll between the different pages, being able to see a preview and the page number, but you can easily change the layout by simply selecting a page and dragging it to the desired position.

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The bar provides additional functions, such as inserting a blank page at a point chosen by us (in which it is possible to take notes and which will be included in the final PDF). In addition, it allows the possibility of opening a second PDF, whose pages will be additions to the PDF already opened in PDF Expert, the tool for copying, pasting, page rotation, sharing and extracting the pages that are selected. The whole was inserted without complicating the use of the app, as the tools will be shown only when calling up the grid display function, and the related recall keys will be placed in the tool's interaction bar.

Bookmarks, index and annotations

The second macro-tool does not differ much from the one in Preview. After having recalled it through the relative button, a side bar will appear on the left and will show, through a subdivision by tab, the different information. By clicking on a bookmark or an annotation, PDF Expert will automatically open the relevant page.

Annotation tool

Let's move on to the third tool. Pressing the button for annotations, a second bar will be shown containing all the annotation tools offered by PDF Expert. At the moment, in version 1.0, we find the tool of underlining, highlighting, blocking of words, pencil, eraser, text, geometric shapes, stamp, signature and selection. Furthermore, it allows the possibility of inserting comments via the keyboard that will be shown as if they were of the post-it notes included in the document.

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Each tool offers a high degree of customization, such as color selection by highlighting, stroke width for pencil and geometric shapes and so on. The instrument that received the most attention was the one related to the signature. It offers the possibility of being able to insert the signature through the trackpad (as it is possible to do on Preview), simply using the entire surface as if it were a sheet, and writing on it using your finger. Furthermore it is also possible to write our name using the keyboard, and in automatic it will be converted with an italic font, which recalls very much the handwriting of a person who writes on a sheet of paper by hand.

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If in the PDF there are forms to fill out, PDF Expert will notice these fields and you can easily enter the necessary information without any problem. In this way, by taking advantage of the intelligent compilation of the fields and the digital signature, it will no longer be necessary to print a document and subsequently scan it, as the entire compilation can be done via a simple tool.

UPDATE (02/01/2016): a substantial PDF update was released, which takes it to version 1.3 and introduces interesting new features for managing and editing PDFs. This is the complete update changelog:

  • The width of the side panels can now be resized.
  • Introduced the Night / Sepia mode.
  • You can now save PDF as read-only.
  • Improvement for text selection and annotations.
  • Multiple pages can now be selected in the thumbnail view.
  • Update the icons on the toolbar.


At present, the functions offered by PDF Expert in comparison to Anteprima are not many, although the ease of use, speed and reliability shown in the management of even complex PDFs make me prefer the Readdle tool over that of Apple. to consider that I have used for years the app for iOS, and to be able to have the same experience also on Mac, something fantastic to take into consideration. You can also use iCloud to keep documents synchronized between all our Apple devices.

To complete the picture, it is necessary to mention the price. PDF Expert can be purchased directly on the Mac App Store at a discounted initial price of 19.99. As mentioned, the discounted launch price, as the real cost will be 59.99. The developers have been obliged to specify through their blog, that the high price will be justified by the new functions they have in the pipeline for the next versions of the app.

The increase in cost will be gradual and will follow the upgrades that will be released in the coming months. Moreover, all the updates will be free, so if you buy the app now, you will be able to download the new versions without any additional costs and use the new tools that will be inserted. If you are not convinced of the purchase, you can download a free 7-day trial via this link, so you can test the app. Currently I have replaced Preview with PDF Expert and I am sure that once you try it, you will also do this choice.