Lifestyle and Emerging Technology In Plain English

How to view PDF files on your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch with DropBox

Drop­box really is an amaz­ing com­put­ing and file shar­ing applic­a­tion. I was ini­tially intro­duced to it when I needed to eas­ily share files with vari­ous com­puters across the inter­net — and email was not an option.

Recently my wife asked me for another solu­tion to view­ing PDF files on her iPod Touch. She’d been using this pro­cess where you load the image into Stanza on a Desktop, then share it with the Touch. It works, but takes too many steps. Is klunky, she said.

Drop­box basics

On your desktop com­puter, when you install Drop­box, it cre­ates a watched and shared Drop­box dir­ect­ory.  Any­thing put into this dir­ect­ory is shared with your online Drop­box account.

Any other com­puter you install Drop­box on will imme­di­ately have access to your online Drop­box account, and have access to those files  you saved on the other computer.

Drop­box has an app for that

For the iPhone and iPod Touch to access those files, you’ll need to install the free Drop­box app. Once you’ve set it up with your login cre­den­tials, viola! You have access to those same files you dropped into the shared dir­ect­ory on your desktop com­puter. Includ­ing media and doc­u­ment files.

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7 Responses to How to view PDF files on your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch with DropBox

  1. Thanks for that, I’ve been look­ing for a good way to read PDFs on my iPod Touch too and the apps I’ve tried didn’t quite cut it.

  2. Brad Grier says:

    Happy to help David, the only gripe I have with pdfs on the iPhone or iPod Touch is that some of them don’t wrap or scale prop­erly. Ah well, we can’t have everything now can we. :)

  3. As an update to my pre­vi­ous com­ment, I’m now using drop­box to col­lab­or­ate on a new pro­ject from both my desktop and iPod Touch — it is incred­ibly useful.

    I also bought Quick­of­fice, which also allows you to open and edit Word and Exel files — not idea given the size of screen, but use­ful to have all the same.

    David

  4. David says:

    Thanks for the art­icle. Do you know of any applic­a­tions that allow you to annot­ate pdf doc­u­ments. I do a large amount of read­ing that requires com­ment­ing and high­light­ing. I’m think­ing of an Ipad but I def­in­itely need pdf annota­tion capability.

  5. Brad Grier says:

    Thanks for the com­ment, and great ques­tion David. For me the iPod is too small to really edit PDFs, but an iPad would be a com­pletely dif­fer­ent story. So I did a quick search and found this com­pany and app — http://jbrink.net/annotater/ — I’ve not tried it but from the writeup, it *looks* like you could work with this.

    If you do try it, please feel free to let me know how it worked for you!

    –Brad

  6. Bart says:

    Aji Annotater does not work with Drop­box, alas.

  7. deb says:

    THANK YOU SOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!! (can’t put enough exclam­a­tion marks in there! :-D)