Can I download PDF files to iPad?

Manage PDF documents on iPad

Macwelt editorial team

Letters, manuals, websites and many other files can be saved as PDF so that they can be read anywhere or simply passed on. This also works with the iPad

EnlargeThe iPad has long since turned into a PDF all-rounder - with the appropriate programs you can save, read and manage PDF files.

The PDF format is ubiquitous. It is used for manuals such as letters or brochures, for which pure text files are not sufficient and which should nevertheless be readable everywhere. The versatile format was developed to save all possible documents in the original layout, regardless of platform, so that they can be easily passed on or archived. All that is needed to open it is a PDF reader, which is available for every important system. If you receive a PDF as an email attachment or load it from the web with Safari, it can be displayed directly in the iOS apps. Apple's free "Books" app, formerly "iBooks", offers more convenience when reading and collecting PDFs.

You can also use the iPad to generate PDFs yourself, for example to pass on Office documents or to save websites. Even annotations in PDFs, which can then be read in the reader on Mac and PC, are no problem. We show how it all works.

Import PDFs

Probably the most common way to get a PDF onto iPad is by downloading it from a website. If you tap the document while Safari is viewing it, a number of options will appear at the top for you to choose an app to open. For this we recommend "books", which we will present in more detail in a moment.

EnlargeTo save an attached PDF file from Mail, tap on its icon for a long time.

You proceed in a similar way with an email attachment. In the message, tap and hold the attachment. After a short time, Mail will offer a selection of apps that support the document type. "Books" should also be offered here for PDF files. Select it to transfer the document to the iBooks collection. IOS creates copies. So you can close the Safari page or delete the email with the attachment.

EnlargeSafari can transfer a loaded PDF to a PDF-compatible app by clicking "Open".

Open PDF files on iPad

A practical way to create PDF files yourself with the iPad is to export PDF from Apple's iWork apps. This can be used to bypass their limited compatibility with other Office apps, as PDFs can be read by virtually anyone.

We show the PDF export using Pages as an example - Numbers and Keynote behave accordingly. Once you have the desired document open in Pages, tap on Three-Dot Menu in the upper right to open the Tools menu. There you select "Export". Pages now asks for the export format. Select "PDF" and then type the desired export option or app, "Books" is directly available here. If the list does not fit on the screen, scroll through by swiping sideways.

EnlargeFor the PDF export, open the three-point menu and then "Export".

Another example of PDF generation is the use of the iPad camera as a scanner to digitize documents. A simple app for this purpose is Genius Scan (free). You can also do it without the app: Tap on the photo that you want to keep as a PDF and then on the familiar share button (up arrow). Here too, an option "Add PDF to Books" appears.

EnlargeYou then have various options for opening the created PDF document in other apps.

Save web pages

Since iOS 9, Safari has offered a standard function on the iPad and iPhone for transferring a website to PDF format. All you have to do is press the forward button on the desired page. In addition to the Messages, Mail, Reminders and Notes apps, a book icon appears further to the right with the option "Add PDF to" Books "." The website saved in this way appears as a PDF document in "Books", iOS transfers the texts and images from the reader view, so at least a little free of advertising.

PDF files in "Books"

"Books" shows the library as a bookshelf, with the most recently added documents in the front or top left. To change the order, long tap on a book. After that, you can move it. You can switch between shelf and list display using the command bar. Tap Edit to delete books or PDFs from the collection.

EnlargeThe start screen shows the entire library.

The simple PDF reader from "Bücher" now works pretty quickly on newer iOS devices. It offers the most important functions such as zoom, full-text search, a thumbnail bar for quick scrolling, a page overview, pens, pens, etc. for notes and bookmarks for marking pages.

Use other collections

"Books" divides his library into collections. PDF files are automatically sorted into the "PDFs" collection when they are imported. There are also collections for books and purchases from the Book Store and, most recently, audio books by default. The name of the currently open collection is shown in the toolbar in the upper left corner. To change the collection, tap on "Library" above this name. "Books" then shows an overview of the existing collections. Here you will also find the “New” command below for creating your own collections, for example for a project or for operating instructions. Next to it you will find "Edit" for sorting or deleting the collections you have created yourself. With "Done" you leave the overview.

EnlargeTap on "Collections" and "New" to create your own collections.

To add new PDFs to another collection, tap in the normal display on the three-point menu for the desired PDF. "Add to Collection" will do the rest.

EnlargeWith "Add to collection" you can move the selected PDFs to another collection. The menu fades out after tapping on three points for each book or on "Edit".

Sync PDF files

In order for the saved PDFs to appear on other devices, you have to activate the "iCloud Drive" control under the "Books" option in the settings. Via Apple's cloud folder, the PDF files are also visible on other devices that are logged in with the same Apple ID.