Digital Toolbox · Going Mobile

Documents – the Swiss Army Knife of iOS

One of the most useful apps on my iPad and iPhone is Documents [iOS – free] from Readdle. It can be used to read documents (PDF, Office, text, etc.) as well as books (PDF and epub) but it can also be used to listen to music, watch videos and browse photographs. And, it has some annotation capabilities – bookmark, highlight, underline and strike thru. But what makes it really interesting is its file management functionality. You can save and open files from email attachments, just about any cloud storage platform, and even download them from the Web using the built-in browser. Create folders and build your own file system right on your device.

iOS Search
Results of an iOS search on an iPhone.

The app has been updated to take advantage of the features included with iOS 9. Now you can use the iOS search function to find files stored in Documents. In this example, a search for “FTM” found an article I had saved to Documents.

Combine Documents with another Readdle app – PDF Expert [iOS – $9.99] – and you can fill in PDF forms, add notes and draw on PDF documents from any number of sources and then forward your annotated files just about anywhere. I was able to “fill in” a PDF form that wasn’t designed to be fillable by writing the information on the document using a stylus. PDF Expert then flattens the annotation layers into a standard PDF file that can be read by Adobe Acrobat. In just a couple of minutes the form was completed and emailed back, saving me from printing then snail-mailing a paper form. Do that a couple of times and you’ve paid for the app.

Documents provides tools that bridge the gaps between your desktop and your mobile devices and will quickly become one of the most useful apps on your iPad.

[youtube https://youtu.be/gz4mpZb78aI]

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