Formatted text seen by a designer

Advanced Text Formatting Options in PDFpen for Mac

Do you care about text formatting? Like, really, really care?

Well, here’s one way to find out:

Text formatting seen by a designer
Source: AhSeeIt.com

If you see text formatting the way a designer does, you might be interested in exploring some of PDFpen’s advanced text formatting features.

In this article, we’ll explore some of them, including the options available under Format > Font and Format > Text.

Changing background color and opacity of a text box

We’re guessing you’re familiar with how to change the font style and size of the text that appears in a text box. In case you need a refresher, check out this article on how to use Object Properties tools.

But did you know you could change the background color of a text box and the opacity of the content inside? 

You can change the background color by selecting the second option within the Object Color menu (2).

Object color menu used to format text in PDFpen
1. Font color; 2. Background color; 3. Opacity

You can choose the level of opacity by choosing the third option within the Object Color menu (3).

The image below is of a text box surrounding the Abstract. The text has a light green background, blue text, and a 20% opacity level that makes it semi-transparent. If it had an opacity level of 100%, it would completely cover the Abstract.

A text box with a green background and 20% opacity used to format text in PDFpen.
A text box with a green background and 20% opacity.

Changing the font family, typeface, and size of text 

This isn’t Excel—in PDFpen, you have lots of freedom with regards to formatting. You can mix font styles and sizes within the same text box, for example. 

To change the font family, typeface, and size of a word or phrase:

  1. Select the text you want to format
  2. Choose Format > Font > Show All Fonts
  3. Select a font family, typeface, and size

Alternative: With the text box selected, right-click your mouse and choose Fonts.

Here’s an example of a phrase within a text box that was formatted differently from the rest of the text:

Example of different types of formatting in PDFpen
Excerpt from Seth Godin’s Publishers, curation and algorithms. Source: Seth’s Blog.

Choosing text styles

Choosing Format > Font also gives you the options to:

  1. Bold, italicize, and underline text
  2. Make text larger or smaller
  3. Set the kerning, ligature, and baseline of selected text

Kern, ligature, and baseline are formatting items frequently used by designers.

  • Kern deals with the spacing of characters. To alter spacing:
  1. Place a cursor between two characters or select a section of text
  2. Choose Format > Font > Kern
  3. Choose Tighten to bring characters closer together or Loosen to bring them further apart

Ligature deals with ligatures, or character combinations used for either stylistic purposes or readability. (Some fonts have ligatures to improve the readability of words containing fi’s and fl’s.)

Issues with fi's and fl's
Issues with fi’s and fl’s. Source: OpenOffice forum

In PDFpen, you can choose to replace ligatures with matching character combinations—or not.

  • Baseline deals with vertical spacing between characters and the baseline. Baseline options include superscript and subscript—useful for typing formulas. 

It also has the options Raise and Lower, for helping you make fine adjustments to text positioning on the page.

Aligning text via Format > Text

Finally, PDFpen gives you the options to Align Left, Center, Justify, and Align Right. To choose your alignment:

  1. Choose Format > Text
  2. Choose one of the four options.

Alternatively, if you’re a PDFpen Hotkey Master, you can use keyboard shortcuts to align text—useful if you constantly use this functionality.

Aligning and formatting text with the ruler

PDFpen ruler

Use Text > Show Ruler to open up more text formatting options.

  • Under Styles, you’ll find options for outlined, shadowed, and struck-through text
  • Under Spacing, you’ll be able to choose between Single and Double
  • Under Lists, you’ll be able to choose between bulleted, numbered and other types of lists

Explore text formatting in PDFpen

PDFpen enables you to customize text to the smallest details to suit your needs and preferences. 

To explore text formatting features and other PDFpen tools, download a 30-day free trial.