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PDFpen 6.0 Adds Word Export

The EPUB format might get most of the press in the ebook world, but among document-handling professionals in the business world, PDF still reigns supreme, and utilities like Smile’s PDFpen and PDFpenPro remain essential. Smile has now released version 6.0 of both versions of PDFpen, adding the capability to convert PDFs to Word documents, simplifying PDF editing with a new editing bar, providing support for Auto Save and Versions, and more. The updates cost $30 or $40, depending on the version and how you’re upgrading. PDFpen 6.0 requires OS X 10.7 Lion or 10.8 Mountain Lion.

Apple’s Insane Upgrade Dance -- Normally, I’d save upgrade details for the end, but thanks to Apple’s developer-hostile policies surrounding the Mac App Store, it can be a bit confusing. If you purchased directly from Smile and want to upgrade through them, things are simple: the upgrades for either version of PDFpen cost $30, and if you want to jump from PDFpen to PDFpenPro at the same time, it’s $40. However, because PDFpen and PDFpenPro are also sold through the Mac App Store, where Apple doesn’t see fit to allow paid upgrades, Smile has released entirely new apps for PDFpen and PDFpenPro. To be painfully clear, if you bought an earlier version of PDFpen through the Mac App Store, you won’t get any notification or discount pricing — you must buy a new copy to “upgrade.” (Smile offered reduced pricing for 48 hours on the Mac App Store, but that time has now passed.)

But wait, it gets more complicated! Apple also doesn’t allow any apps sold outside of the Mac App Store to use iCloud document syncing, so if you want that feature, you’ll need to purchase PDFpen through the Mac App Store, even if you previously purchased through Smile. Copies purchased through Smile will not be able to open or save or sync documents from iCloud. Luckily, Dropbox syncing is available regardless, so doing business directly with Smile (which also increases their earnings by more than 20 percent) doesn’t prevent you from syncing documents using a cloud-storage service.

If you purchased PDFpen from Smile on or after 15 October 2012, your upgrade through them is free and should be automatic; the internal Check for Updates feature will download the new version and run you through the process to update your serial number.

In theory, you should be able to test the trial version of PDFpen 6.0 and be able to revert if desired, since the automated updater is supposed to retain the previous version of PDFpen in the Applications folder. That didn’t happen in one test here, so I recommend making a Zip archive of the old version of PDFpen 5.x before allowing the upgrade to happen, just in case (Control-click PDFpen in the Applications folder and choose Compress “PDFpen”). Or you can just download another copy from Smile’s Download page.

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