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Help: Preferences

Open the Preferences by selecting PDFpen from the menu bar, and choosing Preferences... from the drop down menu (Cmd+comma).

General Preferences

  • Define 100% scale as:
    Choose how to display your documents using either of the following options:
    • 1 point equals 1 screen pixel size
      Display a document at different dimensions depending on the screen's resolution.
    • Size on screen equals size on printout
      Display a document at the same dimensions regardless of the screen's resolution.
  • Initial window size:
    Set PDFpen to open a document sized to page height, screen height, or screen width.
  • Initial sidebar mode:
    Choose the initial display mode of the sidebar when opening a new document. (Sidebar).
  • Default view:
    Choose Single Page or Facing Pages. (View Options).
  • Facing Pages:
    Choose whether a document starts with the cover (one page alone), or a two page spread.
  • Remember last page viewed for each document:
    Reopen a document to the same page where you left off. Checked by default.
  • Enable autosave and versions:
    Enable automatic file saves and support for versions. Checked by default.
  • Always show the File Open dialog on launch:
    Allow the "File Open" dialog window to appear every time the app is launched.
  • Lock PDF/A archive documents when open
    Make a PDF/A document un-editable when open.
  • Restore display of all warning alerts

Editing Preferences

  • Default Font:
    Choose the default text formatting (font and size) of a text field. This includes text fields from Markup Tools, like the Text Field and Comment tools. To change the default, click the Select… button, and choose a new font or size from the Font window.
  • Page numbers font
    Choose a font for added page numbers. See Adding Page Numbers.
  • Keyboard Increment:
    Choose the keyboard increment, that is, the amount the arrow keys will move an object.
  • Gridline every:
    Set the distance between gridlines. Go to the Arrange menu to turn on and off Show Grid and Snap to Grid.
  • Measurement units:
    Select Keyboard Increment and Gridline units, either points, millimeters, or inches.
  • Automatically switch selection tools:
    Check this option if you want PDFpen to automatically switch between the Select Text and Edit tools based on the location of mouse clicks. For instance, if you click on an image, PDFpen will automatically switch to the Edit tool so that you may move or resize the image. Conversely, if you click on text, then PDFpen will automatically switch to Select Text tool. If you have this feature unchecked, the currently selected tool will always remain active regardless where you click on the page.
  • Keep tools selected after use:
    Check this option to keep the Markup and Drawing tools active for continuous use, rather than switching back to the Edit tool after each use. To quit the tool while in continuous use, click on another tool. If you have this feature unchecked, the tool will stay active for a single use, then revert back to the Edit tool. To activate continuous use from single use mode, double-click on the tool.
  • Lock large images automatically:
    PDFpen can lock large images that it detects. This is useful when working with scanned documents. Default is set to Lock images 'Large enough to fill the page.' Can be set to Always or Never.
  • Custom highlight color:
    Create a custom highlight color. (See Markup: Highlighting, Underscore, Strikethrough and Squiggle)
  • Add name to annotations:
    When checked, the characters placed in the Name: field appear as the name property of any new annotations added to the current document.
  • Name:
    The name that will be used as the name property of new annotations.
    Defaults to the currently logged-in full user name.


  • Prompt for OCR when opening a scanned document:
    Checked by default.
  • Perform OCR when selecting text on a scanned page:
    Checked by default.
  • Deskew pages automatically when performing OCR
    Automatically adjust crooked pages upon OCR.
  • Languages to recognize:
    Check which languages you want to be recognized by OCR.
  • OCR completed sound:
    Select the sound to be played after a successful OCR.
  • OCR failed sound:
    Select the sound to be played after a failed OCR.


  • Check for Updates:
    PDFpen can check for updates when it is launched. Set how often you want to check for updates (hourly, daily, weekly, monthly). Uncheck for Never. Updates within a major version number are free to registered users of that version. For example, registered users of PDFpen 7.0 can get the PDFpen 7.1 update for free. (We reserve the right to change our update policy.)
  • Include anonymous system profile information:
    Allow information (Mac OS X version, Mac model, CPU, etc.) to be sent anonymously during update checks.

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