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There are many features we take for granted on Mac OS X that remain absent on iOS, such as the ability to “print” to a PDF file from any application. Luckily, this is easily added with the purchase of a third-party app, and one of the best options available—Darsoft’s PDF Printer—just received a shiny iPad makeover. The tablet-only app (a separate iPhone version is available) lets you convert virtually any kind of document into an Adobe PDF-compatible file. Although many apps can now export such files natively, PDF Printer is unique in its ability to turn web pages, photos, clipboard contents, contacts, SMS messages, and even emails into high-quality PDFs.
Due to the relatively closed nature of iOS, the steps to accomplish these tasks will vary. PDF Printer includes a rudimentary built-in web browser and can directly access most other kinds of device content, but emails (which can include either text or attachments) require an awkward, multi-step process. Documents stored on Dropbox can also be directly imported and converted to PDF, but we were disappointed by the lack of integration with other popular cloud storage services. Thankfully, PDF Printer shows up as a “send to” option in nearly all of the apps we tested it with, and once converted to PDF, documents can be likewise exported as well.
The actual process of converting to PDF is a dream—it’s fast, and new conversions can be quickly added to existing documents. Once converted, individual pages can be deleted or rotated, although the app doesn’t allow for more full-featured editing or annotation like that offered by Readdle’s free Documents app. Like the iPhone version, PDF Printer for iPad benefits from a unique drag-and-drop “VisiTouch” file manager that makes the app feel more like desktop software. Unfortunately, the slick UI of the iPhone app (which also now matches the flatter look of iOS 7) isn’t quite as intuitive on the iPad, where it feels clunkier.
The bottom line. PDF Printer for iPad quickly gets the job done, but loses some of its user interface panache in the transition to tablet.
iPad running iOS 6.0 or later
Fast, clean PDF conversion from nearly any file. Offers unique ways to circumvent iOS file sharing limitations. Great for saving PDFs from websites.
UI less effective than iPhone version. Only basic PDF editing. Limited direct access to cloud storage. Optional scanner mode requires $1.99 in-app purchase on both iPad and iPhone.