The Smile Blog, With News, Tips, Photos and Other Stuff That Makes Us Smile

Smileworthy: Default Folder X

Posted 02/27/2015 by Maia

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Default Folder X, developed by St. Clair Software, is a great way to maneuver through your files and folders. Here is what our QA guy has to say about it. (Hint: He uses lots of documents.) 


I was introduced to Default Folder X in 2006. Since then it's been an integral piece of my day. Each time I open or save a file, Default Folder X is there to greet me, letting me choose an application and set the location of my preferred 'default' folder for it. 


For example, when I choose File > Open or File > Save from the PDFpen menu, the file dialog is relative to my "PDFDOCS" folder. A few of my most used features are a list of 'Favorites' which can quickly be added to the Default Folder X sidebar, in case the default folder isn't the one I need, and 'Folder Sets' which I create for tasks like making how-to tutorials and testing PDFs in PDFpen.


After 8 years I'm still not using all of the available features, but Default Folder X makes me more productive each time I open or save a file - and that is priceless, and absolutely Smileworthy.


- Jonathan, Smile Support / Quality Assurance



How much time does TextExpander save me?

Posted 02/12/2015 by Greg

TextExpander helps you save time while typing and tracks how much of that precious time you save. Click on the Statistics button in the TextExpander toolbar to see how much time you're saving:

TextExpander Statistics

You can set your typing speed to make the hours saved more accurate. If you're a slow typist, like me, you'll definitely want to do that, as it increases your time saved.

Be a bit competitive. Click the Tweet My Stats button, and compare how you're doing with your followers on Twitter.

If you're curious which snippets you use most often, choose View -> Sort by Most Used, and that will sort your groups so that the most recently used snippets are at the top. If the order seems backward, choose that menu item again, and it will reverse the sort order. Try Sort by Most Recently Used to see which snippets you've used lately.

The sort orders work within groups, but maybe you'd like to know your most used snippet from all of your snippet groups. For that, we'll turn to AppleScript. Copy and paste this into Script Editor (an app found in Applications > Utilities), and click Run:

tell application "TextExpander"

set topSnippet to null

set topSnippetCount to 0

repeat with aGroup in groups

tell aGroup

repeat with aSnippet in snippets

if (use count of aSnippet) > topSnippetCount then

set topSnippetCount to (use count of aSnippet)

set topSnippet to aSnippet

end if

end repeat

end tell

end repeat

display dialog "Your top abbreviation is: " & (abbreviation of topSnippet) & ", which you've expanded " & (use count of topSnippet) & " times to: " & (plain text expansion of topSnippet) buttons {"OK"} default button "OK"

end tell



I hope you're amused with my result:

Your top abbreviation is Tx, which you've expanded 15218 times to: TextExpander

Show us your top snippet on Twitter by ending your tweet with: @TextExpander #SnippetStats

Smileworthy: Tower 2

Posted 01/29/2015 by Maia

Tower, developed by German team fournova, is a favorite of the Smile team engineers. Many of them have been using Tower for years, and love the version 2 update.

If you work on code and need Git version control, check out Tower. Here’s what our engineers have to say.

I appreciate Tower 2 for its clean appearance. I particularly like the way its commit, conflict, and stash workflows speed me along without getting in my way. – Greg, Founder

Tower’s interface is intuitive and easy to use. It makes navigating source control easy so that I can focus on what I enjoy doing, writing apps. – Natalie, iOS Developer

Tower is the most comprehensive Mac app I’ve found for working with Git. It focuses on how to perform tasks in Git, instead of just mapping buttons to particular Git commands. – Colin, iOS Developer

As many developers know, Git is not always straightforward, Tower dispels the mystery. – Philip, Founder

Sync PDF Documents with PDFpen 7 and iCloud Drive

Posted 01/15/2015 by Greg

Thanks to iCloud Drive, one of the few differences between PDFpen from the Mac App Store v.s. direct from the Smile store has been removed, that of document sync.

Specifically, version 7 of PDFpen and PDFpenPro, purchased directly from Smile, can sync documents with PDFpen for iPad & iPhone version 2 and with PDFpen Scan+ via iCloud Drive. Here's how.


  • You must be running iOS 8 (or later) and have iCloud Drive enabled on your iPad and/or iPhone
  • In the PDFpen for iPad & iPhone and/or PDFpen Scan+ settings, you must have iCloud turned on
  • You must be running OS X Yosemite (or later) and have iCloud Drive enabled on your Mac

On the iPad and iPhone, once you've turned iCloud on in the app settings, all of your documents are stored on iCloud and synced automatically.

On the Mac, only the special “PDFpen container” folder is synced with the iPad and iPhone. That folder is found at the top level of iCloud Drive and is named “PDFpen”, “PDFpenPro”, or “Scan+”. When you modify documents in the PDFpen container folder, they are synced with your iPad and iPhone. Documents stored elsewhere in your iCloud drive on your Mac can be imported on the iPad and iPhone, but they will not sync.

For example, here is what that iCloud folder looks like in the open dialog (File > Open) of PDFpen or PDFpenPro 7.

Open Dialog - Cmd+O

Note: The PDFpen container folder may have any of the three visible names noted above, and its visible name may change over time. Under the hood, both the actual name of the folder and its contents are consistent. The visible name is just a cosmetic issue which appears to stem from an Apple bug with how the names of shared iCloud Drive folders are shown in the Finder and file dialogs. Hopefully, this will be fixed in a future update to Yosemite.

If you have questions about syncing your documents, please contact us.

(Aside from the standard differences in all apps purchased directly from the developer v.s. the Mac App Store, the only other difference specific to PDFpen is Library sync, which does require the iCloud available in the Mac App Store version.)

More Elaborate Date Formatting with TextExpander

Posted 01/08/2015 by Greg

One of the most basic yet handy snippets in TextExpander is the current date. When it comes to customizing the date's layout, many users don't realize that TextExpander has supported Unicode Date Format Patterns since version 3.1. In addition to what you can do with TextExpander's built-in date formatting, this adds support for:

- week of year, month
- calendar quarter
- day of year
- time zone
- more elaborate options for hour, minute, seconds, month, day, and year
- era (AD/BC)
- cyclic years (Chinese, Hindu calendars)

Here are a few examples:

Week of year with leading zero for single-digit weeks (e.g. 02):

Current calendar quarter and year (e.g. Q12015)

Time with long time zone (e.g. 8:11:49 AM America/Los_Angeles)
%date:h:mm:ss a' 'VV%

Please see the Unicode Date Format Patterns documentation for complete details.

If you have a favorite elaborate date format, let us know: we're @TextExpander on Twitter, and we look forward to your tweet.

Number Pages using PDFpen 2 on iPad & iPhone

Posted 12/18/2014 by Greg

One great new feature in PDFpen 2 is the ability to number pages in a PDF document. PDFpen 2 brings complete, desktop-class PDF page numbering to your iPad and iPhone and includes all of the options from PDFpen for OS X:

  • Vertical Position: top or bottom of the page
  • Alignment: left, center, right, or inner / outer corners book style
  • Format: numbers, Roman numerals, letters, or Bates numbering
  • Prefix, Digits: Options for Bates numbering
  • Starting Page
  • Include number on first page

To access page numbering:

  1. Open a PDF
  2. Tap "Tools" Tools icon
  3. Tap Insert Page Numbers
  4. Select your options
  5. Tap Done

Here's what the page numbering options look like in action:

Page Numbering Options

If you want to change the page numbering after you've added it, just repeat the steps above. Your new numbering will take the place of the old numbering. Details on page numbering are included in the PDFpen 2 online help.

What is Bates numbering?

Bates numbering (or Bates stamping) is a system for uniquely and consecutively numbering the pages of a document to make it easy to identify a specific page. Originally, this was done with a mechanical stamper from the Bates Manufacturing Company. Now, it is a common feature in word processors and PDF editors, and it is required in legal discovery and other fields. To learn more about Bates numbering, see this Wikipedia article.

How PDFpen Scan+ Let Me Copy the Uncopiable

Posted 12/05/2014 by Maia

One of the exciting things about app development is seeing the unintended uses of the app after it is alive in the world. 

This is an example of how one of those side effects worked for me.

The Goal

Copy text from a webpage with unselectable text and paste it into an email. 

The Challenge

The webpage in question is the rudimentary front end for a database that is normally never seen on a mobile device. Text selection just doesn't work, no matter how much you zoom in. The information needed to be exact and re-typing all of it on an iPhone is annoying and laborious. 

The Solution

Zoom in to the necessary portion of the page then take a screenshot by holding down the Home and Power buttons at the same time. Then, open Scan+ and import that photo via the Photos button, and run OCR via the "OCR Document" option in the OCR menu.

Voilà, some text that is easily copied into an email, using "Copy page text" from the OCR menu. 

In case you are wondering, that takes 13 taps from initial screenshot to final paste, with a Home button double tap counting as one tap. Having to type out a paragraph of exact code is much more than 13 taps. 

At the end of the day I'm happy to be able to do just one more simple thing on my iPhone that would normally require a Mac. 


How does “Complete My Bundle” pricing work?

Posted 12/02/2014 by Greg

This article is obsolete. "Complete My Bundle" pricing ended on February 28, 2015. It remains available for historical reference only.

Today, we're excited to release PDFpen for iPad & iPhone version 2, a universal upgrade to our existing PDFpen for iPad and PDFpen for iPhone apps. PDFpen 2 is a separate app and thus a separate purchase.

We've also released the PDFpen 2 Pack for iPad, which bundles PDFpen 2 and PDFpen for iPad; and the PDFpen 2 Pack for iPhone, which bundles PDFpen 2 and PDFpen for iPhone. These bundles allow us to simulate upgrade pricing by offering PDFpen 2 at a discount based on your prior purchase of either PDFpen for iPad or PDFpen for iPhone.

Most users of PDFpen for iPad can use “Complete My Bundle” with the PDFpen 2 Pack for iPad to upgrade for $7. That assumes you paid full price $14.99 for PDFpen for iPad. If you got PDFpen for iPad at a discount, then the “Complete My Bundle” pricing will be more. The “Complete My Bundle” pricing for the PDFpen 2 Pack for iPad is $21.99 minus whatever you paid for PDFpen for iPad.

Let's say you purchased PDFpen for iPad on sale for $9.99, your “Complete My Bundle” price is $12:

Complete My Bundle Pricing Example $12

Put simply, your “Complete My Bundle” price is the cost of the bundle minus whatever you actually paid for any components in the bundle.

We hope this clarifies the bundle pricing, and we're thrilled to be able to offer it to our existing customers.

(For another helpful take on this same issue, please see: How “Complete My Bundle” Pricing Works on the Panic Blog.)

Black Friday: TextExpander touch 3

Posted 11/28/2014 by Maia

Black Friday 2014 has come! We're helping you celebrate by discounting one of our favorite apps, TextExpander  3 + custom keyboard.

Until Saturday you can buy it, along with several other handy apps, at Black Friday Apps. We are extending the TextExpander 3 discount all the way to Cyber Monday, but the price goes up each day so buy now!

What's TextExpander?

The typing redundancy of everyday life, sped-up, and made easy.

  • Expand custom typing shortcuts in every app on your iPad and iPhone using the TextExpander custom keyboard.
  • Sync all your snippets with TextExpander for Mac.
  • Expand multiple email signatures, form letters with customizable fill-in-the-blanks, current date and time, and more!

iCloud Drive: How to Find and Edit Files

Posted 10/23/2014 by Maia

(Updated December 4, 2014 after the release of PDFpen 2.)

Yosemite (OS X 10.10) and iOS 8 bring with them iCloud Drive. This means, in addition to the iCloud storage you are familiar with, the "switch it on and it just works" sync and storage, there is also a new iCloud Drive feature in the form of a folder structure similar to Dropbox or Google Drive. This is an exciting new update which we are working to implement and understand all the details of.

If you are running Yosemite or iOS 8, access iCloud Drive by opening Finder on your Mac or opening an import / export action in an iOS app. Keep in mind, you will only see iCloud Drive in an iOS app if support for it has been added by the app’s developer.

In iCloud Drive you will notice that all the Apple apps, Numbers, Pages, Preview, etc., all have folders giving you have access to all the files in them, files made by those apps. This makes sharing files between apps much easier.

Why aren't you seeing the rest of your apps in iCloud Drive? 

All files in iCloud don't just appear in iCloud Drive. An app's files are not viewable in iCloud Drive until that app's developer adds that feature.

TextExpander 4.3.4 for Mac and TextExpander touch 3.2 do not support iCloud or iCloud Drive. We were unable to support iCloud previous to iCloud Drive, but are now working on a way to include support for iCloud Drive in the future.
PDFpen 6.3.2 for Mac and earlier, PDFpen 1.8.2 for iPhone and iPad and earlier, and PDFpen Scan+ 1.4 and earlier do not support iCloud Drive. iCloud still works, you can have iCloud switched on and your documents will still sync, but you will not see your PDFpen documents in iCloud Drive.

For iCloud Drive support upgrade to PDFpen for iPad and iPhone version 2 and PDFpen Scan+ 1.5 and later. We are working on adding iCloud Drive to PDFpen for Mac.

How do you access iCloud Drive documents on your Mac?

You’ve upgraded to Yosemite and iOS 8, you have turned on iCloud Drive, now you want to get at your PDFpen documents on your Mac, and maybe open a Preview PDF in PDFpen, or vice versa. Since we haven't implemented iCloud Drive, yet, you can't see your documents in the iCloud Drive folder, but you can still access them.

For our PDFpen/PDFpenPro for Mac users, there are two scenarios. 

  • You have PDFpen for Mac purchased from the Mac App Store. This means your  documents are stored in iCloud. In Finder you will not see PDFpen documents in the iCloud Drive folder but in the PDFpen folder under iCloud. This will allow you to open PDFpen documents in other apps, like Preview for example.When accessing documents from within the PDFpen app, edit documents stored in iCloud via the open/save dialog. This is how you can edit your PDFpen documents, or Preview PDFs.
  • You have the direct purchase version of PDFpen, not from the Mac App Store. If you also have PDFpen for iPhone or iPad, with iCloud turned on, that you have documents in iCloud. While the PDFpen documents in iCloud are currently hidden in iCloud Drive, they are still accessible on your Mac. To access the folder in Finder choose View > Go to Folder (Cmd+Shft+G) and paste in this location:

    ~/Library/Mobile Documents/7PKJ6G4DXL~com~smileonmymac~PDFpen/Documents

Keep in mind that if you update your devices to Yosemite or iOS 8, and you update to iCloud Drive when you do, those devices will no longer sync iCloud files with older operating systems. We explain this a bit more in our previous post iCloud, PDFpen and iOS 8 — Before you update.