PDFPen Tips and Tricks


I bought both PDF Clerk and PDFPen for a “comparison”:http://www.tuaw.com/2007/03/31/feature-review-pdfclerk-vs-pdfpen/ and there were some great reviews. We need this specifically to add signatures to legal documents, so the needs are very specific. We get a PDF from a legal firm and then we return the documents as PDFs and then print the originals. Here is the net:

* I picked PDFPen because the review didn’t catch it, but PDF Clerk files just explode in size when you add a signature. For instance, a 100KB document becomes 125KB when you add one signature with PDFPen and becomes 4MB with PDF Clerk. I suspect that PDF Clerk sees a bitmap and turns the whole document into a bit map.
* PDFPen as noted definitely has problems reading PDF documents. I had one where it just crashed (how rude, need more error checking!), but for most of the signature pages that are 1-10 pages, it seems fine. So you still should set Preview as the default PDF reader and just use PDFPen for the signature special purpose.

Here is the method for signing things…

* First you have to sign a document and then scan it in. Crop it and make it a nice JPEG that you put somewhere.
* When you open an attachment from Mail, you open as PDFPen and then you choose File/Import and select the signature.jpg
* Now choose Edit/Make Transparent and click on the white part. Now you can drag the signature down
* If you need to add Title and Name then click on the Text tool and type it in. Now double select these and paste them on all the signature pages.
* _DO NOT SAVE THE DOCUMENTS_ I repeat, don’t save them. PDFPen 3.5 has this terrible bug where if you choose save, then it makes all the transparent backgrounds solid again. They know about it, but don’t have a fix time. Instead, choose File/Print and click on the PDF button and choose Save as PDF and this merges the signatures into your document and seems to keep things transparent.
* You can also from the File/print/PDF choose Mail as PDF (why they stuck this in the Print menu, I don’t know, maybe someone from Microsoft works at Apple 🙂 this will bring up Mail and then you can mail it to whomever..

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