Review: PDFGarden

Drag and drop PDF editing tool. (October 31st, 2009)

Low-profile application with a low-profile price gives you a chance to redeem yourself from PDF errors. Move pages around, import additional pages from another PDF or combine whole PDF documents is an easy drag-and-drop.

MacNN Rating:


Product Manufacturer: SQLabs LLC

Price: $19.00 US

The Good

  • Quick and easy.
    Simple interface.
    Handles thousands of documents.
    Low price.

The Bad

  • Preview occasionally shows a blank page.

The scanning software for my multifunction printer lets me add each scanned page into a PDF document as I go, but it's a one-shot deal. The pages are assembled in the order I scanned them, but if I've accidentally scanned an extra page or want to swap the order around, I have to start fresh from scratch. Forgot a page? Return to start. Do not pass Go.

That's where PDFGarden 3.1.0 comes shines. This low-profile application with a low-profile price ($19.00 US) gives you a chance to redeem yourself from any PDF errors you may have made. Suddenly swapping pages around, importing additional pages from another PDF or combining PDF documents wholesale is as easy as a quick drag-and-drop.

pdfgarden open

PDFGarden Window


If you've ever created an iTunes playlist, you won't even need the scanty three pages of Help documentation that come with PDFGarden. The interface is just that simple. You won't even notice the lack of a stand-alone user manual.

The Drafting Table

You can think of PDFGarden as a giant virtual table where you can spread out all the sheets in your digital PDF documents, then mix and match to your heart's content. You can drag extra PDF documents into the current workflow-analogous to adding them into the pile on the table-at any time.

PDFGarden is, of course, quite superior to a pile of papers since it retains its convenient drag-and-drop operation throughout. In the Simple operating mode, you drag, drop, and reorder entire PDF documents with each click. When you choose Advanced Mode, each document is split into its component pages, but the operation remains the same.

PDFGarden Advanced Mode

PDFGarden Advanced Mode

You can drag, drop, or delete pages individually or in groups, just as you would shuffle files in a Finder window. Just drag a new PDF into the Advanced window and its pages are added on to the end, where you can shuffle them at will.


PDFGarden has four extra features of note. A handy Spelling and Grammar tool, located in the Edit menu seems pointless, since you can't edit any spelling errors you may find, until you use it to Find key phrases in pages you want to manipulate. The Pair Pages tool in Advanced mode automatically adds an extra blank page at the end of documents with an odd number of pages.

PDFGarden Pairr Pages

PDFGarden Pair Pages

You also can add blank pages yourself, anywhere in the document, by clicking the Plus (+) button in Advanced Mode. Finally, the Preview tool lets you take a close look at any given page in the document.

PDFGarden Add Pages

PDFGarden Add Pages

Oddly enough, when tested with a PDF that contained only text, the preview screen consistently came up blank. Yet, when tested with a graphics-intensive PDF, it displayed the combination of graphics and text with no problem. This little flaw is the only thing keeping PDFGarden from a solid five star rating.

PDFGarden Preview

PDFGarden Preview

Slim and Quick

PDFGarden claims to have capacity for handling thousands of documents at a time. I admit that I didn't push that limit, but it handled hundreds of pages with aplomb. This program strikes me as exactly the sort of thing anyone who deals in documentation needs. Whether you want to create your own PDF files for distribution or assemble dozens of individual PDFs into one cohesive document for ease of storage and reference, it quickly and neatly reduces a real archival headache into a few clicks of the mouse or taps on the trackpad. For example, if you want to create a one PDF of multiple ebooks, tax receipts, or even user manuals, it's a snap to use. PDFGarden requires Mac OS X 10.5 or higher.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Lisa Maloney


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