Do more with your PDF documentsSeveral advances in technology have made telecommuting and remote working far more accessible and much more viable than ever before. Many of the most common tools that once had to be installed locally on each individual machine and managed by an on-site IT team can now be access and used remotely via the cloud. It’s terrific. With PDF apps, your workflow can improve even further.

In a traditional office, many documents need to be physically printed and physically handed around and filed. That’s simply no longer the case. Whether you want to send a PDF via email or share it via a cloud storage solution like Dropbox, PDF documents are even more robust than their dead tree counterparts. And using the right PDF apps, collaboration and information sharing are easier than ever.

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

The most necessary of PDF apps

The most necessary of PDF apps

Unsurprisingly, it starts with the basics and for that, you have to turn to the source. Despite the growing availability of third party alternatives, one of the best PDF readers is still Adobe Acrobat Reader. In particular, Acrobat Reader DC goes beyond the simple ability to view PDFs on your computer to allow for printing and even annotation. This is the trusted standard. One of the newer developments in this space is its connection with Adobe Document Cloud, making it easier to work on your documents from anywhere on any device. This integrates with Box, Dropbox or OneDrive. Optional upgrades include the Pro version for file conversion and signature collection, plus subscriptions for such features as Send & Track.

Save Emails to PDF

One-click PDF creation within Gmail

One-click PDF creation within Gmail

Despite the proliferation of all sorts of collaboration tools, project management tools, and instant messengers, email remains the de facto standard for online communication, both personally and professionally. You can always refer back to the messages archived in your Gmail but with the handy Save Emails to PDF Chrome extension, you can save any Gmail message as a PDF document in just one click. Yes, there are other ways to do this, but they all require multiple clicks. With this extension, a button is added to your Gmail interface labeled appropriately as “Save as PDF.” That’s it.

CutePDF Writer

"Print" a PDF copy of just about anything

"Print" a PDF copy of just about anything

No list of PDF apps would be complete without this adorable little gem. CutePDF Writer effectively adds the ability to convert practically anything into a PDF document. It does this by adding “CutePDF” as a “printer” on your computer, just like how you would add an actual physical printer. When you go to print something, you simply select it from the list and you’ll be prompted for a file name and save location. This free software is free from any watermarks and popup ads. CutePDF Editor is also free. If you want more functionality, consider CutePDF Professional for combining documents, collecting digital signatures, and adding watermarks.

Apache OpenOffice

The free, open source Microsoft Office alternative

The free, open source Microsoft Office alternative

While it is certainly true that the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software is the preferred standard for much of the business world, many alternatives exist that may be even better. Google Drive is one example, with Google Docs and Google Sheets, for instance. Another option is Apache OpenOffice, formerly known as Oracle OpenOffice. It features a Word-like word processor, an Excel-like spreadsheet, a PowerPoint-like presentation app and more. One feature that’s particularly compelling about this open source suite is the ability to export almost anything as a PDF. This can be found under the “File” menu or as a single “PDF” button in the main toolbar across most of the OpenOffice apps.

iAnnotate

Manage and share PDFs from your iOS device

Manage and share PDFs from your iOS device

The mobile office consists of a lot more than just a regular old laptop these days. More and more professionals are relying more heavily on their mobile devices for productivity, ramping up the functionality to what used to be solely the realm of PCs. To this end, if you want to read, mark up and share your PDF documents on your iPhone or iPad, you should download the iAnnotate app. Add notes to the document not only as written comments, but also with a highlighter or pen function. The file can then be flattened for ease of sharing, including accessibility through iCloud Drive, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and Box. iAnnotate works with Office files too, including DOC, XLS, and PPT.

Image credit: Uncalno Tekno / Flickr

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