Mobile Toolbox – Documents

Documents reader
Reading in the Documents app.

The Documents app [iOS – free] is at the top of the must-have iOS apps list for genealogy research. With Documents, you can maintain a digital reference library of books, magazines and research guides that’s with you wherever you go. It serves as a document reader, media player and file manager – all in one beautiful package. With Documents, you can search, read, bookmark and annotate iWork and MS Office documents, read PDF documents and ebooks (ePub and FB2), view photos and videos and even listen to music.

Need to view a document attached to an email message? No problem. Just long-tap the attached file and choose the Open in Documents option. There is also a built-in browser so you can find and download documents from web sites.

If that’s not enough, Documents also serves as an impressive file manager, giving you access to your computer and cloud services. Using the Wi-Fi Drive feature, you can upload documents from your desktop computer to your iPad using your desktop browser. You can also share files with your favorite cloud storage service and download online files directly to Documents. Of course there are tools to copy, move and delete the files saved in Documents. You can even select and zip a number of files. Use the Share icon to send any of your files to someone via email.

You can bookmark pages, highlight text, add notes and add comments. Enter Review mode and you can markup PDF documents and even edit text as if it was a text editor.

Other Readdle apps work with Documents to give you even more functionality. For example, adding Printer Pro [iPad – $6.99] makes it easy to print attachments, documents or web pages from your device to either Wi-Fi or USB printers. (Note: USB printing requires a free helper app installed on your computer.) PDF Converter [iPad – $6.99] can convert the files managed in the Documents app – including those stored in cloud services such as Dropbox – to PDF documents. Need to fill in PDF forms, sign documents or markup documents for review? Then PDF Expert [iPad and iPhone – $9.99] is the app for you.

Readdle’s suite of document management apps give your iPad an amazing amount of functionality and access to your files and documents wherever they are stored. All of this in your choice of easy-to-use and affordable packages.

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.

Documents App by Readdle

ReaddleDocs for iPad has received a significant update including a new look and new name – Documents [iPad – free]. The name is deceptive, however, since it’s a whole lot more than just a document reader. It’s also a file manager, music player, photo viewer, text editor and video player. It can read PDFs, ePubs and Office files, open email attachments and move files to and from just about any cloud service you might use.

A view of Documents’ main screen.

The app’s document manager can move files between devices and systems within your local network as well as connect to just about any cloud service. And, you’re not just limited to downloads either. You can upload files from your iPad to your desktop or Dropbox or whatever service you use.

A PDF document viewed in Documents.

The reading experience is quite delightful too. In this example, you’re looking at one of my WordPress guides that was created using Keynote and saved as a PDF. You can also read ePub books in this app. With Documents, you can highlight and annotate your documents, add bookmarks and sticky notes. You can then email your annotated document to others.

It’s an absolutely amazing app – even more so because it is free. Take a look and see if you don’t find it one of the most useful apps installed on your iPad.