PDFpenPro 12 for Mac

PDFpenPro 12 for Mac (https://smilesoftware.com/pdfpenpro/) is the best-in-class solution for viewing, editing, modifying, and distributing documents composed in the PDF file format.

The notion of developing a robust method of viewing complex documents across computer platforms was first expressed by John Warnock, the co-founder and former president of Adobe Systems, Inc. The technology that he described in the early 1990s was code-named “Carousel,” and consisted of a procedure for converting PostScript files into a uniform format that could be viewed on a Windows, Macintosh, or Unix computer, regardless of its origin. The objective of such a technology was to simplify the process of sharing documents electronically, with full visual fidelity, and without the need for the recipient to possess the application or fonts that were used to create it. That goal was met with the release of Adobe Acrobat in 1993, and it’s renown and ubiquitous file format, PDF.

The format’s most compelling feature, as its name implies, is its portability. Any PDF file can be viewed, navigated, and printed by using a free PDF reader (https://get.adobe.com/reader/). Readers are available for Macintosh, Windows, and Unix computers, as well as iOS (from the iTunes App Store) and Android devices (from Google Play). Mac users can also process PDFs in Preview with limited options including viewing, annotation, password protection, file conversion, form-filling, and the combination of two or more PDFs.

The user can select from a wide variety of file permissions and restrictions.

PDFpenPro 12 enables a user to go far beyond the limited set of capabilities provided by the free Acrobat readers and Mac Preview. The readers are free since a PDF document would have no value at all if it couldn’t be viewed and printed. With PDFpenPro 12 a user can fill in forms, sign contracts and other legal documents (using the mouse or a scanned signature), add or block-out text, make corrections and additions, number lines, add watermarks, and more. Pages can be viewed in a variety of ways, including facing, multi-page,  multiple facing pages, as well as single page. Pages can be moved, re-ordered, and deleted easily, both within a single PDF, and between two or more PDFs. PDF forms can be created, filled in, saved, and transmitted. Forms can be written on to add signatures or other data, and can accept image files. Users can also reorder pages, merge multiple PDFs, delete pages, and even create their own fillable PDF forms, bookmarks, and tables of contents. Legally recognized personal signatures can be entered using DocuSign® support.

The program can process a website into an off-line searchable PDF with active hyperlinks. The resultant PDF can be marked-up for highlighting pertinent information, or for assessing the quality and utility of a website in development.

An entire website, with clickable links, can be produced easily and quickly.

The data collection feature provides the capability to convert a scanned document into a PDF form that can be distributed to Macintosh, Windows, and iOS/Android users. The program enables the user to add text fields, checkboxes, and radio buttons for surveys, questionnaires, polls, contracts, applications, etc.

As an image editor it can copy, delete, move, resize, and physically adjust (resolution, color depth, contrast) images. The features are extensive, and range from direct scanning and OCR of paper documents (using the OmniPage version 20.2 OCR engine); using Image Capture or TWAIN scanners; to the reordering of PDF pages, and appending multiple PDF documents. The size of a PDF document can be optimized for distribution using user-defined image quality settings and the elimination of third party metadata.

The OCR engine can recognize several languages, and operates very quickly.
The user has the option to significantly reduce the size of a PDF while maintaining all of its visible content.

Users can listen to the text in a PDF by using the Speech option; and can add Audio Annotations for playback by the PDF recipient. Viewing of a PDF’s content is facilitated by a Magnifier window that supports viewing of a selected area at up to 2000%.

Audio annotations provide a quick way to add a significant amount of information in a very short time.
The Magnifier window ensures that even the smallest elements can be seen and altered.

PDFpen for iPad and iPhone brings highly useful PDF editing and annotating capabilities to the mobile platform. This iOS version enables the user to view and edit their PDFs on their iOS device, store them on iCloud (or Dropbox, Evernote, Bublup, or Google Docs), and do further review and edits on their Mac version of PDFpenPro as necessary.

With their iOS device in hand, the user can now fill in forms, such as applications, contracts, and surveys, sign them, and return them by e-mail. PDFs can be edited, with changes to text and images, and annotated (with notes, comments, freehand scribbles, lines, arrows, rectangles, ellipses, polygons, highlighting, underscoring, call-outs, and proofreading marks) for collaboration with others.

PDFpenPro is essential for digital publishing workflows, enabling users to examine, edit, and approve work-in-process no matter where they are.

Supported import file formats are PDF, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, DOC, and DOCX. Supported output file formats are PDF, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, DOCX, TXT, RTF, XLSX, PPTX, and PDF/A-1b.

Complete documentation is provided, composed of an on-line manual in both HTML and PDF, an FAQ, a Knowledge Base, video tutorials, a blog, in-product help, a Welcome to PDFpenPro opening window, and a free copy of Michael E. Cohen’s “Take Control of PDFpen.”

PDFpenPro $129.95, $159.95 for the Family Pack, and a starting price of $374.95 for the Office Pack. The prices for the entry-level PDFpen are $79.95, $99.95 for the Family Pack, and a starting price for the Office Pack of $249.95. A free trial version is available at https://smilesoftware.com/pdfpenpro/.

Contact: SmileOnMyMac, LLC, PMB 278, 350 Bay Street, Suite 100, San Francisco, CA 94133,  http://www.smilesoftware.com, e-mail: info@smilesoftware.com.

GraphicConverter for Mac 11.2.1

GraphicConverter for Mac 11.2.1 is in a class by itself, so feature-laden that its manual exceeds 400 pages! It is one of a select number of non-destructive image manipulation tools that is truly an essential part of every digital publisher’s software arsenal. The program can import approximately 200 graphic formats, and export them to 80 different formats.

Some of the 80 file formats that GraphicConverter can convert to.

The Welcome Screen provides alternative ways to process one or more images, although a single image, or a folder of images, can be dropped on the program’s icon in the Finder, placed on the Welcome Screen Drop Zone, or opened using the menu system. As well, an image on the Clipboard can be imported directly. Pictures from digital cameras can be imported directly, including those in RAW format.

The GraphicConverter 11 Home Screen with the Browser option selected.

The Browser option presents several significant ways to process images; either by presenting them as a matrix of thumbnails; acting on image metadata; converting image attributes, either singly or in a batch; or renaming files. Users can easily produce custom catalogs in web, print, or picture formats.

The Brower is at the heart of GraphicConverter and can show detailed metadata.

Images can be managed in the totality of their functionality, meaning that GraphicConverter can find them, sort them, edit them, convert them, and present them, with complete user control. This flexibility enables practically any conceivable user-based workflows, any of which can be saved and incorporated into routine operations. Batch Conversion offers a wide variety of parameters, listed in several categories, that can be applied to up to 32,766 files per folder.

A display of the dozens of batch operations that can be combined to perform a simple or complex series of conversions.

Not only are all operations retained with Auto Save, preventing work loss due to a crash or power failure, but the Save a Version option records all editing steps, so that the user can revert to an earlier version, much the way that Apple’s TimeMachine works.

Among the many, many features are: Facial Recognition, with an editable database; Analyze, which can detect the objects found in a picture and add them to the image’s metadata; Save As Split which enables the user to divide an image into prescribed dimensions in pixels, or a designated number of parts; a wide variety of Filters and Effects; and so much more.

The Analyze feature automatically detects the contents of an image and adds the metadata to its database.

The Toolbox contains an array of tools that should be familiar to anyone who has used an image editor, from MacPaint to Photoshop. Images can be improved manually, or with the capable Express Picture Enhancement function. The program supports the inclusion of ImageOptim, which makes it possible to retain image quality while removing unnecessary metadata, thus reducing the file size. The program can be downloaded for free at https://imageoptim.com/mac.

The extensive feature set defies writing a concise review. Fortunately, in addition to the detailed manual (https://www.lemkesoft.de/en/products/graphicconverter/manual/), the user has the option of viewing a variety of tutorials available at https://www.lemkesoft.de/en/products/graphicconverter/videos/. GraphicConverter is shareware and may be downloaded for testing at https://www.lemkesoft.de/en/products/graphicconverter/download/. $39.95

Contact: Lemke Software GmbH, Zum Rohkamp 5e, 31228 Peine, Germany,  +49 5171 72202 (English), http://www.lemkesoft.com, e-mail: lemke@lemkesoft.com, fax: +49-5171-72201.


DesignCap is a free (with option to upgrade) website that enables the creation of graphic design elements easily and quickly, without the need for any skill or training. It is organized into two main categories: Marketing and Events, and Social Media Graphics, each with several sub-categories. The sub-categories include infographics, reports, flyers, cards, brochures, menus, posters, invitations, logos, e-mail headers, Tumblr banners, and many more.

Thousands of templates provide an easy starting point for customization, with literally millions of available design elements, such as fonts, shapes, backgrounds, icons, and stock photos. There is also the option to upload JPG and PNG files from the user’s computer. Completed designs can be saved on the host computer or shared on-line.

Working from a template, the user has almost unlimited control over all of the design elements.

Page composition capabilities related to individual elements include moving, resizing, rotating, color-changing, horizontal/vertical flipping, adjusting opacity, changing font/size/color/style/line orientation/spacing, page aligning, layering, duplicating, grouping/ungrouping, deleting, undoing/redoing, and adding pages. For an on-line resource, DesignCap has much to offer in terms of its extensive variety of design elements, and flexible tools to manipulate them.

An extensive variety of categorized icons is available to meet almost any need.

In addition to the vast collection of templates, which serve as guides to total customization, DesignCap also has an extraordinary library of Charts and Modules. Charts are totally interactive, not only in design, but in content. The user can import data in XLS, XLSX, or CSV, and modify the chart’s title, font parameters, axes, and more. Chart types include Line, Table & Map, Column, Bar, Pie, and Area. Quite impressive!

Chartmakers will find the DesignCap Chart option to be exhaustive , flexible and easy-to-use.

Modules are truly unique, with crisp, modern designs to illustrate Options, Steps, Timelines, Diagrams, Comparisons, Statistics, and SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). Each element is completely editable, providing the means to quickly portray a situation or condition in an elegant fashion. Also included are Social Icons, Icons and Text, and Images & Text.

Moduless provide a unique way to express a condition or situation with graphic simplicity.

A tutorial can be viewed at https://www.designcap.com/tutorial/get-started.html as well as several learning resources at https://www.designcap.com/learn/.

The Free DesignCap provides limited templates, limited stock media choices, up to 5 image uploads, the option to save up to 5 designs, and JPG output only. Monthly plans remove almost all limitations, although the free plan does enable users to get a good idea of what the platform can provide. The Basic Plan for $4.99 per month ($59.88 annually), includes unlimited templates, stock icons, stock photos, modules, and high-res PNG and PDF exports. This plan is limited to 100 image uploads and storage for up to 100 designs. The Plus Plan for $5.99 per month ($71.88 annually) includes everything in the Basic Plan, as well as 1000 image uploads, and storage for up to 1000 designs.

Contact: DesignCap, http://www.designcap.com, e-mail: https://www.designcap.com/contact.html.

Vivid-Pix Land & Sea Scuba

Vivid-Pix Land & Sea Scuba is a clever and well-executed specialty application for Mac and Windows that addresses the peculiar digital imaging needs of divers. Photos taken under water have a distinctive blue/green cast that partially obscures whatever it surrounds. This program, devised by those who possess both diving and programming experience, can be used to enhance the appearance of sea life and underwater activity. As its name implies it also works with above water images, in jpg, raw, dng, and tif file formats.

The program provides an exceptionally easy workflow, beginning by selecting one or more images, picking the best corrective calculation from a matrix of nine images, fine-tuning the image, and then saving it as a new version, leaving the original intact.

The user can quickly see the improvements that can be made to a lack-luster image taken beneath the water.

The user can apply a variety of settings that materially reduce the underwater haze, and dramatically enrich colors and detail. Slider controls are available for setting Depth Removal, Emerald Removal, Lightness, Contrast, RGB, Vividness, and more, including cropping. The settings can be saved in user-defined sets for re-use and sharing with other users.

A free trial version, for Mac or Windows is available at https://vivid-pix.com/land-sea-plus.html. $49.99

Contact: Vivid-Pix, http://vivid-pix.com, e-mail: support@vivid-pix.com.

Vivid-Pix Restore

Vivid-Pix Restore software provides a particularly simple interface to fix JPEG and TIF images that are faded or poorly captured. Using just a few clicks the user can make dramatic improvements to the detail and overall appearance of an image.

The Vivid-Pix interface is simple enough for anyone to use. The program provides a workflow that can process a great number of images quickly, all without destroying the originals.

With the use of patented artificial intelligence algorithms that instantly process color, contrast, sharpness, and brightness, Restore can produce improved pictures, documents, illustrations, and diagrams, in a fraction of the time required in a high-end image editing program, and with virtually no skill nor training.

The easy-to-use interface consists of three steps. First, select one or more images. Second, the program will automatically process the image and display a matrix of nine versions of the image transformed using various degrees of algorithmic parameters. An image may be a faded or exceptionally faded print or slide, a digital or cell phone image, or a faded document or text. The user identifies the type of image and selects what they consider to be the best image, which is usually, but not always, in the center. And, third, the user refines the image in split-screen (original on the left, processed image on the right) using a variety of basic controls, such as rotation/tilt, sharpening, etc. If the image needs further work the user can enter the Detail Edit mode, with control sliders for Lightness, Contrast, Vividness, Cyan/Red, Magenta/Green, and Yellow/Blue, cropping, and aspect ratio.

As each image is finished editing it is saved with the output suffix “Vivid”, leaving the original untouched. If multiple images have been selected, the next image appears automatically, and the three-step process continues. The user can also Zoom/Transcribe to manually enter information about the image or document, which is saved in the metadata of the file. The metadata includes fields for Title, Author, Comments, Tags (keywords), Copyright, and more, all of which are searchable.

Restore has been endorsed by genealogy librarians and practitioners, as well as others who routinely work with legacy images. A free trial version, for Mac or Windows is available at https://vivid-pix.com/restore/free-trial.html. $49.99

Contact: Vivid-Pix, http://vivid-pix.com, e-mail: support@vivid-pix.com.

LandscapePro Studio Max 3

LandscapePro Studio Max 3 is an extraordinary program that enables strikingly beautiful modifications to landscape images, with incredible ease yet extensive control. It works unlike any other program, with an interface design that is clever, elegant and engaging.

The initial screen shows the various tags that can be dragged to identify the elements that compose the image.

Editing begins by dragging labels onto the image to identify elements, such as sky, water, rock, tree, plant, person, etc. The labels automatically create intelligent masks, that the user can refine using simple editing tools, such as “Pull.” Depending on the complexity of the image, the program may be able to identify the elements without much or any user intervention.

The composition quickly forms from the identified elements, each of which can be modified to suit the user’s taste.

The next step is where the magic appears. By selecting presets, or using precision sliders, the user can make dramatic changes to the image, such as filling the sky with clouds, changing the apparent time of day, making it snow, and much more. New atmospheric effects include fog, rain, lens flare, and more, all of which react automatically to objects and distance.

The Selection Editing Tools enable easy yet powerful image manipulation.

Unwanted objects can be removed using the new Clone Brush, which involves painting over the unwanted object and replacing it with another portion of the image. New Overlay tools can both add a dramatic visual boost and easily apply a logo or watermark. The Perspective Warp makes correction of poorly composed image angles comply with undistorted views.

The dramatically improved image.

The program plays well with Photoshop, enabling quick and easy edits with an array of Photoshop filters and tools.

A number of short videos, located at http://www.landscapepro.pics/tutorials/?gclid=Cj0KEQjwj7q6BRDcxfG4pNTQ2NoBEiQAzUpuW1YZPwMOs8hIuVEQEsXdTR57tuMZgiepD9RI3SEak8AaAh0C8P8HAQ, clearly show the power of this software. A free download is available at http://www.landscapepro.pics/download/. $79.90 for the Standard Edition, $239.90 for the Studio Edition which can process camera RAW, convert between color spaces, works as a Photoshop (and Elements and Lightroom) plug-in, and more. Check website for special pricing which may be significant for downloaded versions.

Contact: Anthropics Technology Ltd., Ugli Campus, 56 Wood Lane, London W12 7SB, UK, in the U.S. 971 238-0917, http://www.anthropics.com.


InterConneX is a game-changing app that enables a level of file manipulation that has never been possible on an iOS device. With free versions compatible with the iPhone and iPad, it provides an easy-to-use interface to freely share files and folders from a single location called a Sharespace. A sharespace is akin to a partition on a hard drive, and can be used to help organize content. Each sharespace can be password protected. Three sharespaces are provided with the free version, while unlimited sharespaces can be purchased for $9.99 per device. A user can store and manage files between iOS devices, and even Macs and cloud services.

File management includes the operations of copying, opening, duplicating, renaming, moving, archiving, printing, importing, exporting, and emailing. It provides a fluid workflow, integrating with other apps residing on the device.

A listing of the InterConnecX iPhone tools.

Mac users running ChronoAgent (also from Econ, $14.99) can remotely access all of the files for every user account on that computer. The connection is easily setup for sharing files on the same WiFi network, and can be configured for remote access via the Internet.

InterConnecX iPad actions.

A video of the InterConneX features can be viewed at https://youtu.be/Eu9fcK3Y4YI.

A series of tutorials detailing all of the app capabilities can be found at https://www.econtechnologies.com/interconnex/ipad-manuals.html.

Contact: Econ Technologies, Inc., Econ Technologies, Inc., P.O. Box 195780, Winter Springs, FL 32719 USA, http://www.econtechnologies.com, e-mail: sales@econtechnologies.com, fax: 407 365-6714.

Sophos Home

Sophos Home, with more than a quarter million users, maintains its status as the premiere data security solution for PC and Mac. Its standard protection of real-time antivirus, standard web protection (preventing access to known bad sites), parental web filtering (based on more than 25 predefined criteria), and remote management is free for up to three computers. This review includes advanced features available in the Sophos Home Premium package which covers up to ten Mac computers, and which is also available for PC.

In addition to the free features, the paid version includes Advanced Real-Time Protection, providing detection of potentially damaging actions and behaviors related to the user’s system and documents. With this powerful algorithm previously unknown malware can be stopped even before an antivirus signature has been generated and released.

Also part of the paid version is Advanced Ransomware Protection, which constantly monitors for evidence of behaviors that suggest a ransomware attack. In addition to the capabilities provided in the free version, the Advanced protection will automatically make back-up copies of any encrypted files and replace them after it stops the ransomware attack. The entire process is done transparently and with no user intervention.

Sophos Home Premium also provides advanced privacy protection, blocking unauthorized access to the computer microphone and camera. When access is targeted by a remote source the microphone and camera are immobilized, and the user is notified. The user then has the option to grant permission for viewing and/or listening.

All security settings can be managed online at the Sophos cloud-based Dashboard located at home.sophos.com. From this interface the user can control the security settings of all of their covered devices.

The set-up process requires registration at home.sophos.com to establish an account, which includes a free 30-day trial of the Home Premium version. The software can be installed on the log-in device directly, or an email invitation can be sent to another user. After the software has been downloaded and installed, an automatic scan of the computer commences, generating a report of the scan results and, if necessary, remediation steps. $50 for a one-year license. The free version does not expire.

Contact: Sophos Home, 3945 Freedom Circle, Suite 1100, Santa Clara, CA 95054, 866 866-2802, 781 494-5996; email: nasales@sophos.com.

The Sophos Home menubar dropdown.

Master Collection by Layer Cake

Master Collection by Layer Cake is a library of more than 900 elements that a digital artist can use to improve and enhance their compositions.

The collection consists of high-resolution 300 dpi elements that are Mac and Windows compatible, provided on individual Photoshop layers, with precision cut-out selections ready to drag or copy/paste into a target photograph.

The creative digital artist will be able to draw from a rich and expansive compilation of image elements that include clouds, skies, constellations, moon phases, birds in flight, landscapes, trees, floral overhangs, farm animals, dogs and cats, ranch fences, and much more. There is plenty here to get creative juices flowing and actualized as imaginative digital compositing.

Original scene.
Image with elements from The Master Collection.

Also included are a variety of vignettes and frames. Helpful tutorials will reduce the learning curve, although anyone familiar with Photoshop will have the prerequisite skills to make good use of the collection.

Included are a set of almost 200 Photoshop Actions that simplify the process of applying menu selections and tools. $200

Contact: LayerCake, Alan Mayer, 5421 Godbey Drive, La Cañada, CA 91011, http://www.layercakeelements.com, 805 451-6017, e-mail: help@layercakeelements.com.

Welcome to the Kleper Report on Digital Publishing: Editior’s Choice

A concise review of the most interesting and innovative developments in the digital publishing field as selected and reviewed by Professor Michael Kleper, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Rochester Institute of Technology. The Kleper Report on Digital Publishing has been in print and on-line since 1979. This blog is a continuation of the website still available at http://www.printerport.com/kdp.