The iPad is an excellent tool for editing and managing PDF documents, but since there’s no manual when you get one; sometimes carrying out a task, like opening a PDF file in Mail can become a challenge.
In this post, I’ll show you how to open a PDF attachment in Mail using two quick methods, and go over a brief run-down on why Cloud Storage can be beneficial in managing your PDF files.
But — that’s not all!
Explain Everything™ - Classic Features
Category: Education, Productivity
While brainstorming this post, I thought it would be fun to present our topic, using the iPad app — Explain Everything. So, what follows is not only a helpful tutorial to master your PDF skills, but also a video example of how content can be created and shared with using only the iPad.
Explain Everything is an interactive whiteboard and screencasting presentation tool that many teachers, students, and presenters are already putting to great use. This application combines the advantages of video, audio, and real-time illustrations into one mobile platform.
For your reading enjoyment please see the transcript below.
Introduction and Overview
Hi everyone this is Michael from TouchPie TV with a quick video tutorial explaining… How To Open PDF Documents On The iPad.
The idea behind this video tutorial came from readers on my blog after I wrote a post entitled: Create PDF on iPad: Save Documents, Web Pages, and Emails to PDF.
The post basically explains how folks can convert documents from different file formats (e.g., a Microsoft Word document or a Photo inside the Camera Roll) to a PDF document using the app PDF Converter by Readdler.
So now that you have this little bit of background information let’s move on with this tutorial on how to open PDF documents on the iPad.
Slide 1: What’s Covered
In this tutorial I’ll explain:
- How to open and view your PDF document using the built-in Quick Look mode inside iOS.
- How to open and view your PDF document utilizing other apps installed inside your iPad using the “Open In” feature in iOS.
Slide 2: Open PDF on iPad from Mail
To begin our tutorial (How to open PDF on iPad from Mail) let’s start by going to the home screen and find the Mail app. I would say that 95% of all new PDF documents (for some folks) arrive via an email. And that’s why I want to start here.
So let’s go and find and open the Mail app.
Slide 3: Select PDF File in Mail
Once inside the Mail app, you’ll notice the screen splits into two column. The left side shows a list of all the emails you’ve received while the right side previews the email you’ve selected.
In my example here I’ve received two emails.
The quickest way to find out if any of these two emails include an attachment is by looking at the email itself. In iOS (or the Apple Mobile Operating System) if the email shows a paper clip icon this means the email includes an attachment.
It’s important to know that different types of files can be attached and send via email, e.g., if someone sends you a photo you’ll also see the paperclip icon. To find out what type of the file was attach to an email, we need to familiarize ourselves with learning a little bit about file extensions.
What is a file extension?
- A file extension describes what kind or type the file is, e.g., the email I have selected here, lets me know that it has a PDF attachment.
How do I know this, by looking at the file extension of the document?
To find the file extension of a document:
- Look at the documents name and right after the dot or period you can see its file extension. Since we’re looking for a PDF, we need to see if my email document has a PDF after the dot or period.
Now, that we know that this email has an attached PDF file. Our next step is to open and view it.
Slide 4: Opening the App Selection Menu in Mail
To open and view your attachment just tap on the file. Then very quickly after another menu will prompt you with a list of (compatible) apps that can open your PDF document.
If you look closely at the menu selection, you’ll notice that right inside this pop-up you’re presented with a variety of actions to take.
Slide 5: Select Quick Look from the App Menu to Open PDF
By selecting the print app — you can print documents, by selecting the mail app — you can resend the file to someone else, and if you choose Quick Look — you’ll be able to view the document right away.
Slide 6: View PDF in Quick Look
The photo above shows what my PDF document looks like after selecting Quick Look.
Slide 7: Send a PDF to a List of Compatible Apps Using the “Open In” Feature in iOS
Now, if I hover up to the upper right side of the screen and select the share icon (in the corner) I’ll open the pop-up menu again.
But you’ll notice that this time — the Quick Look app does not show, that’s because we are already previewing our PDF in Quick Look view. From this menu selection, there’s an option to open our PDF document using any one of the apps listed in this menu box. In iOS (the Apple Mobile Operating System) this is done by using the open-in feature. For this tutorial, we’re going to be opening our PDF document using this second method to open and view our PDF document using one of my favorite PDF editors on the iPad — PDFpen for iPad, by Smile.
Slide 8: Viewing our PDF with PDFpen
The above image shows what our attachment looks like opened in PDFpen for iPad. You can see there’s not that much different from when we first opened this same PDF in Quick Look.
Slide 9: Using Cloud Storage to Save and Manage PDF Files
But — there is one point that I would like to bring to your attention if you’re looking to work on a mobile platform like the iPad. And that is that unlike a desktop computer or a laptop, where you have more flexibility with memory for file storage. At the moment, the current storage capacities on the iPad compared to those other platforms is a bit limited.
For example, The current iPad models can hold 16, 32 and 64 gigs of memory while a laptop purchase with an internal or external hard drive can surpassing the 64 gigs.
So, what does this mean to you in the working world? And is this considered a disadvantage?
No, not at all!
- Folks will move towards the direction of saving their digital properties inside Cloud base storage services, and rely less on hardware base solutions. When more Cloud base storage services pop-up and consumers become more confidence in the technology. Regardless if they work on a desktop, laptop or mobile on a tablet.
- Plus the great advantage of having your information stored up in the cloud is that you’ll have access to it at any time.
So — going back to our topic on PDF.
After viewing your PDF, where are you going to store it?
I wouldn’t recommend just leaving your PDF inside the email and opening it every time you need to. But, what I would recommend doing — especially if you work with a lot of PDF document on the iPad, is to look into apps that offer a method of sending or uploading all your PDF to Cloud Base Storage services.
Two of the services that I like are… Apple’s iCloud service and Dropbox.
Slide 10: Dropbox and the Document Directory in PDFpen Scan+
Now let’s go back to our PDF that was opened before with PDFpen Scan+. The reasons I want to come back to this is so that you can get a better picture of managing your PDFs using document storage in the Cloud.
So, what you see at the moment is a screenshot of the document directory inside PDFpen for iPad. On the upper right side corner, we find our PDF, followed by some folders and other PDF files. If you look closely, (where the arrow is pointing) this is the location of the folder and what follows after is the name of the folder.
So just to clarify:
- We’re looking in a folder on the Dropbox server, where all these documents are saved. How? Well, any time a PDF document is open in PDFpen for iPad — the app will synchronize and update this folder automatically on the Dropbox server. Also, if you make any changes like adding a signature to a document, or any other type of edits, these changes will also be automatically updated.
Now don’t get too shaken up if all this sounds a bit technical at first. I can assure you that the more you play with this new type of technology – the faster you’ll be an expert in no time.
Slide 11: The Essential PDF Apps for your iPad
To help start your way to becoming this expert, working with PDF on the iPad. I put together a list of 6 essential PDF apps for your iPad that will help you along this journey. These six apps have what I consider some of the best features for editing, managing and saving all your PDFs on your favorite tablet.
These six apps are:
To learn how to build a productive PDF workflow using these apps — follow the link below the video to the website: Tools and applications. There you’ll find more helpful tutorials like this one, plus our tips and tricks on how to use these and many more apps to supercharge your iPad experience.
Slide 12: Let’s Recap
Before we end, let’s do a quick recap of what we’ve learned.
- We’ve looked at how to find an attached PDF file in an email, by looking for the file extension of the attachment.
- We learned how to view a PDF right from inside the Mail app with Quick Look.
- How to open a PDF in another app using the “Open In” feature in iOS.
- We went over a quick overview of Cloud Storage and some of its benefits.
- My list of six essential Apps to help get you get started working with PDF on the iPad.
Note: To check out more information about file extension follow the link to the Wikipedia page on the topic.
I hope you found value in this tutorial on how to open PDF on iPad from Mail, and I hope that if you had questions that they were answered.
Learning is an enjoyable experience, and it should never stop. With that said, if you haven’t already I would encourage you to subscribe to this blog. To stay connected with more video tutorials like this one.
*Photo credit: Hans Dorsch (CC BY-SA 2.0)