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

    1. 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. 🙂

  1. 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.


  2. 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.

    1. 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 — — 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!


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

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