When it comes to productivity apps for iOS, probably no developer does the job better than Ukraine-based Readdle. Over the years we've watched in awe as they've cranked out some amazing apps like PDF Expert, Scanner Pro, Documents, and Calendars. While many of their apps have provided the ability to edit, markup, and save PDF files, actually creating editable forms on an iOS device wasn't possible until now. The new PDF Office iPad app (free to try with in-app subscription purchases) can do much of what some of the other Readdle PDF apps do, but adds some features that make it a desktop-class PDF editor.
PDF Office provides four primary functions:
- Create PDF files
- Convert into PDF
- Edit PDF Documents
- Annotate, sign and collaborate
The first, and probably the most interesting function for those who have used the full-fledged Adobe Acrobat desktop app in the past, is the PDF creation capability. You can create a blank PDF document on a variety of paper types, then type text, use a stylus to handwrite notes or draw diagrams, and more. You can also digitize any existing paper document, and once it is scanned into PDF Office, it's simple to edit and annotate the PDF.
But the most impressive function of PDF Office in terms of PDF creation is the ability to create fillable PDF forms. There's a full editor that provides a way to build these forms and define parameters for each field. Fields can be dates, numbers in various formats, signatures, text, dropdown lists, or even calculated results.
The other capabilities of PDF Office - converting photographed images into PDFs, editing PDF documents, and annotating PDFs - are nothing new to Readdle. The PDF Expert 5 app (US$9.99) performs all of those functions both on iPhone and iPad. In the blog entry introducing PDF Office, it's noted that the company originally started to develop the PDF editing and form creation functionality for PDF Expert. When they started to add those features into PDF Expert, it quickly became apparent that the new capabilities should be the core of a new product. PDF Office is more for the creation of PDF documents, while PDF Expert 5 is targeted towards those people who need to read and annotate PDFs.
In wrapping up this short review, it should be noted that Readdle has chosen to offer PDF Office on a subscription basis. While you can try out a number of functions in the app for free, the app requires activation if you use it for any length of time. That subscription is either $4.99 per month - perfect if you just need the app for a single project - or $39.99 per year.
That subscription fee may sound high for people who are used to paying $0.99 for apps, but think of it this way - PDF Office is providing a lot of the functionality of Adobe Acrobat XI, and that desktop software runs $449.99 or $19.99 per month.
Rather than go through some of the other features of PDF Office, I encourage you to download and try out the app to see if it's for you. Anyone who currently uses Adobe Acrobat to create PDFs or fillable PDF forms might very well find what they need is in Readdle's newest product.