Wednesday, January 1, 2014

PDF Expert 5: Well Designed PDF Management App with Text-to-Speech

PDF Expert 5 is a well designed PDF management app for the iPad. The app includes many useful features that allow you to read, edit, and annotate PDF documents easily. Unlike some other feature -rich apps, PDF Expert 5 does not feel cultured. The elegant design makes the app easy to use. PDF Expert is an assistive app because of its text-to-speech integration with the added benefit of extra features.

One caveat, while the app is good for non-disabled and dyslexic users, I would not recommend the app for VoiceOver users because of some VoiceOver problems I have found. Readdle, the maker of the app, should work on fixing these VoiceOver problems so blind and visually impaired can also benefit from the app. 

PDF files can be imported from numerous cloud storage services including Google Drive, Drop Box and SkyDrive or using the "open-in" feature of many other iOS apps. You can also view other file types, but the built in text-to-speech reader is only available for PDF documents. Files can be organized into folders or dragged and dropped into different sections.

PDF Expert's text-to-speech function works with any PDF with digital text. It does not work with PDF documents that have text within images. To read a compatible PDF, turn on text-to-speech in the reading mode menu and then press play. You can start reading at the middle or end of a page by highlighting a word and pressing "read from here." Text is read with the default iOS voice that many may recognize as the voice of Siri. Unfortunately, you cannot purchase additional higher quality voices. The app also requires you to re-enable text-to-speech every time you switch PDF documents. This is inconvenient if you switch are between PDF documents quickly.

Click read more below to continue reading about PDF Expert.

Viewing a PDF document is also a breeze. PDF Expert includes a quick scrolling mode and thumb nail view to allow you to easily navigate large PDFs. You can also change the background to sepia or night for easier viewing.

Aside from the text-to-speech features PDF Expert includes a number of editing and annotation features. Annotation options include highlighting, underlining, shapes, strike-through, stamps, signatures, and text. These annotation options are intuitive to use and you can easily can the color of highlights and other annotations. If you would like to add text to a PDF document you do not need to worry about overlapping any original text because the app automatically wraps your text so it will not overlap. Unfortunately, the app will not read your text annotations back to you using the built in reader, but you can always use the built in Speak Selection feature.  

PDF Expert also includes a review mode which allows you to edit and markup existing PDF documents. To learn more about this feature see the below video.

With PDF Expert's easy to use annotation and editing features and its built in text-to-speech reader PDF Reader is an ideal app for any iPad user who wants increase productivity. PDF Expert 5 is compatible with iPads running iOS 6 or higher and is available for $9.99 in the App Store.

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