How PDF Expert Can Help You with Online Teaching: 7 Tips

At Readdle, we build productivity apps that help millions of teachers and students in classrooms. One of these apps is PDF Expert, the fast and powerful PDF editor for Mac, iPad, and iPhone.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been receiving hundreds of emails from educators who are willing to try PDF Expert or already use it for teaching. Many of you have shared your stories and examples of how the app helps you in classes, and your feedback has always inspired us!

We’re delighted to offer all teachers and students a 50% discount on PDF Expert for Mac. Our team has introduced educational pricing several years ago, but in these turbulent times, this offer becomes even more relevant. 

As for the iOS version, there is no educational discount at the moment, but that’s something we’d love to have in the future. Meanwhile, you can get PDF Expert 7 from the App Store for free.

Now, and let’s see how PDF Expert can help you with remote teaching.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. Save reading materials as PDFs
  2. Digitize paper documents
  3. Merge existing materials into one PDF
  4. Reduce PDF file size to save storage in your LMS
  5. Annotate slides while explaining the material
  6. Record audio comments to provide feedback
  7. Grade assignments faster with PDF Expert & Spark

Prepare course materials

You share plenty of PDF files with your students. Yet still, sometimes you need to create a brand new PDF for your lessons, and that’s where PDF Expert comes in handy.

Here are some cases when you need to create a new PDF file:

1. Save reading materials as PDFs

If you need your students to read an article online, it’s better to present it as a PDF file instead of just sharing a link. This will help you make sure your students always have access to the learning material and don’t depend on the external website that may or may not work.

Any browser lets you quickly save a web page as a PDF just in a few taps on mobile devices or by simply pressing Ctrl + P on your desktop. Yet, the resultant file often requires some polish. Usually, you may want to crop the edges with the page URL, social media buttons, and other unnecessary elements that show up in the file when you save a whole web page.

That’s where PDF Expert for Mac comes in handy. It lets you quickly crop all the pages in your file in just a few clicks. For this, open your file, navigate to the Annotate tab and tap on the Content Selection tool on the toolbar. Then, you can select the area you’d like to crop and apply changes to all the pages.

Cropping PDF in PDF Expert screenshot

2. Digitize paper documents

Sometimes you may need to share a chapter from a paper book with your students. Simply taking a photo isn’t the best solution, as the resultant JPG file is pretty inconvenient for students to work with. They won’t be able to copy text from it or search through the content. 

The best way to digitize paper documents is by using Scanner Pro. This is the Readdle’s app that lets you create high-quality PDF scans with your iPhone or iPad camera. Scanner Pro automatically detects borders and removes shadows to make sure your file looks clean and professional. You can also convert your scan into text with OCR, so students can copy or annotate the content.

Scanner Pro app

You can add your new scan to PDF Expert for further editing. For example, you may want to add some notes or combine this scan with another PDF.

4. Merge existing materials into one PDF

Once you’ve prepared multiple PDFs for your students, you may want to merge them into a single file for convenient use. 

Here’s an example from our user Matei Mincu, “I’m a Mathematics teacher, and in this unfortunate period, I do lessons with my students from home. I solve many exercises on the notebook, then I photograph them with the iPhone and cut out the edges. Then, using PDF Expert, I merge them into one PDF (I put about 4-5 pictures with mathematical solutions).”

With PDF Expert, you can easily merge PDFs, as well as reorder, delete, and rotate pages on both your Mac and iPad. Check these handy guides for merging PDFs on Mac and on your iPad.


To provide better navigation for your students, you can also create a table of contents right in the merged PDF.

4. Reduce PDF file size to save storage in your LMS

The number of files you share with your students is only growing, so it’s important to make sure they don’t take up too much space in your learning management system. 

Compress all PDF study materials using PDF Expert in just a few taps. The app lets you choose the desired quality of the compressed document and even see the size of the future file. This is a perfect way to free up some memory on your device and save space on your classroom’s shared storage.

We’ve prepared handy instructions to help you:

Annotate slides while explaining the material

While recording or streaming your lecture, you often need to point things out on the slides to bring the listeners’ attention. Or you may need to whiteboard Math problems while explaining them.

PDF Expert can help you annotate your slides, so you can present your lecture in the best possible way. Here are some things you can do with PDF Expert:

  • Write and draw with the Apple Pencil 
  • Highlight, underline, and strikeout text
  • Type the text comments
  • Paste different shapes

Annotate slides in PDF Expert screenshot

To learn more about all the annotation tools PDF Expert provides, check our guides:

Our users have shared some examples of how PDF Expert helps them with online teaching:

  1. Open the presentation in PDF Expert on your iPad, start recording the iPad screen and annotate the slides as you teach your lesson. Make sure you record the screen with sound. Then, you can upload the recorded lesson to your LMS.
  2. Host a live meeting, or record a lesson in Zoom on your Mac or iPad. Enable the Screen Sharing mode and open your slides in PDF Expert. Students will be able to see both your face and your annotated presentation. Here, you can learn more about teaching via Zoom.

Grade assignments and provide feedback

PDF Expert provides a powerful set of tools to help you annotate and grade student assignments. You can write your feedback in the margins with the Apple Pencil, add pop-up notes with your comments, highlight or strikeout mistakes, add custom stamps, and more.

Provide feedback to students in PDF Expert screenshot

Record audio comments

Sound annotations in PDF Expert for iPad can help you provide feedback in the most engaging way. You can record your comments and paste an audio file right in the assignment in just a few taps. Students will be able to listen to your feedback while looking at the task or exercise you’re referring to. For example, if you teach a foreign language, you can record the right pronunciation of a word or phrase and place the sound note to the respective place in a document.

Here’s how to add a sound note:

  1. Tap and hold whenever you want to insert an audio file.
  2. Select Sound from the pop-up menu.
  3. Tell your feedback and tap the Stop button once you’ve finished.

Sound annotations in PDF Expert

Save time on grading assignments with PDF Expert & Spark

Do you receive student papers via email? The whole process of saving a PDF to your device, commenting on the document, and sending it back may be too cumbersome and time-consuming. 

That’s where our free Spark email client can help. On iPhone and iPad, it provides a neat integration with PDF Expert, so you can open, annotate and send a PDF attachment back in a single convenient workflow. 

How it works:

  1. Tap on a PDF attachment in Spark.
  2. Select the Edit option at the bottom and tap Annotate.
  3. Now, the file opens in PDF Expert, so you can comment on it.
  4. Once the feedback is ready, you can flatten the PDF and attach it to the reply.

Grade student assignments with Spark & PDF Expert

As you see, there’s no need to manually save your file, look for it on your device, and then launch an email app again to send the annotated paper to your student. PDF Expert and Spark help you save lots of time on grading and commenting on assignments.

We hope these tips will help you with online teaching. Our team is working hard to make sure PDF Expert provides the best experience for educators and students. We’re always eager to hear your feedback, so don’t hesitate to drop us a line at rdsupport@readdle.com or share your thoughts in the comments.

Maria Henyk Maria Henyk



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