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Thursday 31 October 2013

PDF Connoisseur for iPad - App Review

The guys at Kdan Mobile Software seem to have another PDF file viewer... not so! They do seem to specialise in taking a run of the mill App like a PDF viewer and then making something special and very unexpected.

If you're impatient and really can't wait, I'll spill the beans right now: the App speaks... but there's also another trick up its sleeve!

Now for the ACIDS test:

PDF Connoisseur for iPad is perhaps best described as PDF reader - iPad Premium, on steroids. It picks up on the great tools there and adds to them... just like this review.

The App includes a comprehensive manual which you can download one section at a time. Although the App is intuitive, you might find a glance at the manual helpful as well.

The File Viewer allows you to do exactly that... but as for the rest of the App, it also includes other tools. This includes text reflowing, the ability to directly interrogate Wiki and Google about a word (not just the standard iOS dictionary).

The File Manager, unsurprisingly, allows you to move and rename files, as well as putting them into password protected folders. It also gives the ability to directly add tags.

Like other of the more powerful PDF editors, the App allows you to annotate documents with sticky notes, as well as text, shapes (arrow, line, circle, box), and a signature and stamps. You have the choice to save your document so that it can be re-edited, or in flattened style, so that all your alterations become part of the document and are not modifiable by third parties.

There are many options for moving files between systems. This can be done through Wi-Fi, USB linking (through iTunes), as well as a vast array of established cloud/off-line services (box, Dropbox, FTP, Google Docs, Google Drive, MyDisk, SugarSync, WebDAV) and, of course, email. As a genuine iOS 7 compliant App, AirDrop is also supported.

What already differentiates Kdan's PDF Reader (remember that Connoisseur is the big brother/sister) is that you can use your iPad camera to photograph anything, including documents. The resulting image can then be edited. The adjustments include brightness, contrast, automatic (re)focussing and the, so often missing, ability to crop the image (this is a simple but very effective way to get rid of extraneous information). The resulting image is then saved as a PDF document and you can use all the creative and editing capabilities of the App listed above.

And now (drum roll please) for two absolute knockout additions:

1. OCR
Perform Optical Character Recognition on your imported photographs. How many times have you seen a document and thought 'I'll take a picture of that and read it later'? The advent of smart phones made that part easy but, this goes one stage further. The document can be converted into text which can subsequently be edited and, of course, saved as text or PDF.

2. Speech
Close your eyes and imagine that, rather than read the document in front of you, someone could read it to you. Well, you can stop imagining because this App does exactly that, in a number of languages (American English, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Korean), in either male or female voices. All you need do is highlight the text you want spoken and then touch 'TTS Speak'.

There are clearly many practical uses to this, as evidenced by the fact that University of Michigan lists PDF Connoisseur for iPad on its Apps for Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities website.

My favourite is listening to the text with another voice. Those of you old enough to remember a television advertisement for Grand Marnier will know just what I mean... or maybe I just need to grow up.

The App sells for $10 on the App store. If you consider that this includes a PDF editor, that is considerably less than you would pay for that facility on a PC, never mind the OCR and Text to Speech.

There is no question that a PDF reader is indispensable if you make serious (as opposed to frivolous) use of your iPad. The additional tools to edit are just about essential as well.

The App performed without errors. The speech recognition seems to hesitate at the end of a line... maybe it's just catching its breath!

The big plus is that the App allows you to set a 'serious' password, not just the typical 4 digits. With all the information that you will no doubt allow the App to access, this is very important. There are a lot of sharing options so, you need to act responsibly, as ever.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Much, much, much, much more than a plain vanilla PDF Reader.

To find out how the ACIDS Test works, click here.

You can get PDF Connoisseur for iPad here and support for the App here.


  1. The developer advises that there has been an update to version 2.4.1 of the App.

    This includes the following enhancements and alterations:

    + SugarSync service updated
    + In-app user manual updated
    + Enhanced self-recovery system
    + Minor bugs fixed

  2. The developer advises that there has been an update to version 2.5 of the App.

    This includes the following enhancements and alterations:

    + Major update for PDF rendering engine
    *Double efficiency in rendering PDF pages
    *Double efficiency in reading and editing PDF pages
    *Strengthened stability in viewing and saving large files – For large files, the PDF engine automatically fixes the partly-damaged content

    + Enhanced PDF viewer & annotator
    *New feature added – Rotate PDF pages & extract PDF pages and save as a new file
    *Better gesture design for PDF annotation tools and PDF form-filling
    *Bookmarks inserted & saved within PDFs –Can be viewed in other reader apps
    *Improvement in text selection and page editor
    *Enhancement in PDF hyperlinks
    *Able to customize stamps comprised of text and image

    + Updated PDF scanner
    *New features added – folder management, sorting and mark as favorites
    *Enhanced camera module

    + Kdan Creative Cloud launched!
    *Package1: Deluxe Business Pack
    1. Convert PDF to HTML/Image/TXT
    2. Split & Merge PDFs
    3. Extract images from PDFs
    4. Add watermarks into PDFs
    5. Share links with specified members
    6. 2GB Kdan Cloud space

    *Package2: Kdan Cloud – 2GB space for file storage, sync and access

    + Refreshed speed performance for iCloud
    + Able to send push notifications to users
    + Able to recommend the app to Facebook
    + Now you can download/upload files via Evernote or SkyDrive!
    + Supports encoding conversion for FTP file names
    + Streamline annotation process!
    + Bug fixed

  3. This is an exceptional app.In the wake of utilizing PDF Connoisseur, you'll overlook other PDF book lovers. Since PDF Connoisseur is an alternate PDF spectator, as well as an instrument that will help you be more profitable, permitting you to concentrate on the true paramount errands of the day. PDF Connoisseur secures your documents, makes changing over, printing, messaging and adjusting records much simpler, in addition to it spares you the bother of perusing long, tiring writings. It's a marvel application that, essentially put, makes your life less demanding.

  4. The developer advises that there has been an update to version 2.6 of the App.

    This includes the following enhancements and alterations:

    New Document Viewer
    + Clean & Intuitive - UI optimized for highlight, underline, strikethrough, and squiggly.
    + Portable Media player - display video/audio files in PDFs.
    + Enhanced UX for annotation object selection.

    New Annotation Tools
    + New typewriter - adjust text style/font/size/color/opacity
    + Record & add audio files to PDFs
    + Insert images in PDFs
    + Add hyperlinks to PDFs
    + Export your annotations via email
    + Retain last color selection for annotation.

    New Page Slider
    + Enhanced page navigation – preview & scroll through PDF pages with ease
    + New BOT”A” list - displays a list of your annotations.
    + Synchronize your annotation list once the PDF file is edited.

  5. Microsoft offers a free module for Office projects to change over to PDF design. Possibly you didn't have any acquaintance with it.


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