Did you know you could create PDF on iPad from a Word Document, an Excel spreadsheet or Photos, Webpages, and Emails? Well, I’m happy to say that you can, and it doesn’t involve a ton of technical know-how to do.
So before you spend a whole Lotta Ca$h on document conversion software or upload your files to one of those free spammy online PDF conversion websites, that you see advertise all over the Internet. Do me a favor and hold off until you read this article.
Why? Because in this post, I’ll show you how easy it is to make PDF versions of your files with the iOS app PDF Converter (natively) on your device and take you deep into the topic of PDF to explain the benefits of converting your digital files to the Portable Document Format.
What You Will Learn In This Post?
- Why convert your documents to PDF?
- What is a PDF file?
- The benefits of converting files to PDF?
- How to create a PDF file on the iPad from Emails, Webpages, Photos, and Microsoft Word Documents.
- The advantages of using a native converter app on the iPad vs. a (free) online service.
- A brief intro to three more PDF Management apps.
Why Convert Files To PDF?
In the post: “Getting stuff from Mail to OmniFocus for iPad,” I wrote about the task management app OmniFocus, and I explained the important role that a PDF document plays when it’s attached to a to-do Action. But as you continue reading this post, you’ll find that creating PDF files out of the many documents that magically appears on my iPad and then gets send to my favorite productivity tool is just one of the many uses that I have for the Portable Document Format.
For example, with the help of the iPad and Evernote, (which is another of my favorite productivity tools) I’m able to manage my projects and share information with my team and business clients with no incompatibility issues or headaches.
It involves sending all my converted PDF emails and reference documents to notebooks in Evernote. These notebooks are then made accessible to all the participants in the projects.
To learn more about Evernote read (later) my post: “An Introduction to the Green Elephant.”
My PDF Routine On-The-Go
Here’s a more in-depth look at how I manage the documents inside those notebooks. It starts by converting (on the iPad) my selected documents to the PDF format just before uploading my files to Evernote; This might seem counterproductive at first, but the extra step has two awesome benefits.
The first one is that Evernote has a great method for searching PDF formatted documents. This powerful feature is called Optical Character Recognition or OCR. And it’s the secret sauce behind finding all my documents quickly. Which is an essential part when working mobile.
Then, I like to make sure that no one has any problems opening my documents. So, the best way to do this is to send them using a standardized document format. And that’s one of the reasons for creating a pdf version — it ensures that everyone has the same experience when they open and read the file. Without any hiccups or errors. A serious matter that happens too often when you share or collaborates outside your work environment.
What Is A PDF?
According to Wikipedia, the Portable Document Format (or PDF) “is a file format used to represent documents in a manner independent of the application software, hardware, and operating systems.”
In non-technical terms, this simply means: that by converting a file (i.e., a Microsoft Word document or an Excel spreadsheet) to the PDF format. The person who receives the file is not required to have Microsoft Word, or Excel installed.
Here’s another way to illustrate the above definition, today folks are sharing more stuff on mobile devices because technology has made it easy. But the same technology could also be the cause of having a bad mobile experience. for example, not all files are created for mobile friendly platforms due to memory or bandwidth restrictions. So, by sharing your digital documents using a standardized format, it also minimizes incompatibility issues between Desktops, Tablets, and Mobile Devices.
How to Create A PDF On iPad
One of the quickest and simplest ways to create a PDF on the iPad is by using the iOS app PDF Converter, by Readdle. The application is not only useful for converting different digital file formats, but the app functions excellently as a repository for managing all your PDF documents on the iPad.
PDF Converter by Readdle
by Readdle Inc.6.99 USD
Category: Business, Productivity
With PDF Converter, you can make PDFs from:
- ✓ Email Attachments
- ✓ iWork and MS Office documents
- ✓ Web pages
- ✓ Files from other applications
- ✓ Clipboard content
- ✓ Photos
- ✓ Documents on Dropbox
- ✓ Contacts
- ✓ To save a wed page, just change “http” to “pdfhttp” in the Safari address bar and tap GO.
★ PDF Converter supports the following document formats Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, TXT, HTML, JPG, PNG, Safari web archive
Free Online Service vs. iOS App
Here are three reasons why I recommend using a native app to convert documents to PDF instead of using a conversion service online.
- With PDF Converter, you can create PDF on an iPad without connecting to the Internet.
- All the magic happens securely and on the iPad/iPhone. NOT somewhere online.
- The conversion is quick and easy to do.
On a side note: Why upload personal files to an online service if you don’t know?
- Who is behind the service?
- Who has access to the information?
- What is there intentions with it?
- And how long will it sit on their servers?
When a service is FREE. It’s more likely that you’re paying in other ways.
How To Create a PDF With The PDF Converter App
To show how to create PDF on iPad using PDF Converter, I made a quick video tutorial.
Here is the link to the video if you prefer to watch it later. How To Save Documents, Web Pages, & Emails to PDF
3 More PDF Management Apps
Okay, now that we’ve gone over the benefits of converting documents to the PDF format and seen how to convert files with the app PDF Converter. Let’s turn our attention to three apps that will help manage and edit all the PDFs you’ll soon be creating.
Evernote - Notes Organizer
Category: Productivity, Utilities
My first pick for managing PDF files is the app Evernote.
Evernote– helps manage a paperless office with the following PDF features:
- Search through PDF using the OCR feature.
- Organize PDF with Tags and Notebooks.
- Share a PDF note with others by a public/private URL link, Email or Work Chat.
- Edit PDF files with the Annotation tools.
- Transform PDF into slides and create presentations
A misconception most people have about the PDF format is to believe that the content of these files are locked down and not editable. But that’s not true, just as you can modify a Microsoft Word document and resave the file, the same can be done with a PDF document.
For example, the app PDF Pen for Scan+ by Smile software has great features to edit and annotate a PDF document. This well-designed iOS app is what I use as part of my paperless office to add my signature to a document and show an adjustment or illustrate a thought when I’m on-the-go to the rest of my team.
Dropbox - Backup, Sync, Share
Category: Productivity, Utilities
And finally, I can’t write about PDF management tools if I don’t include this next app.
Dropbox — is an online storage service that can hold all your PDF files in the Cloud. The files and documents can be accessed, shared and downloaded for offline use to the iPad via the Dropbox iOS app. I like to think of Dropbox as a digital filing cabinet for all my PDF documents. It’s like a physical hard drive except that it’s with me 24/7.
Note: If you are looking to test drive Dropbox, please consider signing up using my -> Dropbox referral link. By doing so, the kind folks at Dropbox will give each new subscriber an extra 500 mg of bonus space after signing up. – Thanks for considering it.
As we arrive at the end, I hope this post has helped you see the advantages to using the PDF format and how fast and easy you can create a PDF on iPad from your documents using the app PDF Converter.
How do you manage your PDF document on the iPad?
Do you have a system our routine?
Use the comment section below to share your thoughts.
*Photo credit: Mike Rosenberg (CC BY 2.0)