PDF Expert 6 iOS App Review:

A third party PDF reader that needs an updated look.

Photo1I deal with a lot of PDFs in my line of work and almost always end up reviewing them on my phone. Even though iOS has a provision for previewing PDFs inside the Mail app, I think it’s important to have a standalone app that can handle functions like annotations, adding signatures and otherwise modifying the PDF for review. PDF Expert 6 by Irfan Farooqi is an app for iOS designed for this purpose.

PDF Expert 6 allows users to sign documents, fill forms and annotate PDFs.  You can even create new documents and save them out as PDFs from within the app. The markup function is particularly helpful the main reason I wanted a third party app for PDF reviewing.

Some of the main features of PDF Expert 6 include:

  • Highlighting text
  • Adding comments or notes
  • Inserting pictures
  • Signing and sending PDFs by email or fax
  • Bookmarking throughout the PDF
  • Filling forms
  • Document sharing
  • Printing to wireless printers

Photo4While testing this app, I found several things about it that I felt needed improvement. For starters, the UI is very clunky looking. I’ve looked at other apps from this same developer and they all look the same. It’s a very MS DOS basic-looking app interface. I really expect iOS to have some sort of modern look these days and PDF Expert 6 really does not.

Secondly, I had trouble figuring out the annotation features. When you open a PDF, you are given a small menu at the top of the screen and can choose to sign or otherwise markup your PDF. But, when I tried the first time to highlight text or circle points of interest within it, I stumbled my way through trying to figure it out. I spent about 5 minutes trying to get the features to work, but the markup tools would not work for me. I was about to give up on this par to the app, but tried one more time and discovered that you have to be zoomed into a page in order to mark it up. This wasn’t made clear in any instructions and in my opinion, you should be able to markup a PDF no matter how you are viewing it.

Photo2Lastly, I discovered that the only way to import PDFs into the app from other parts of your device was to use the ‘open in’ function. This was also a bit confusing because there is an “add” menu option, but that is only meant for creating brand new documents. Again, this misunderstanding of how the app works was a frustration that almost caused me to abandon the app.

For a cost of $4.99, I feel like there should be more to this app than a lot of confusion. It has a lot of features, but how to use them isn’t clear and the interface is not very intuitive.