Documents – The App of All Trades

Documents – The App of All Trades

If you have an iPhone or iPad, there’s one app you absolutely must have – Documents [iOS – free]. This is the Swiss Army knife of apps. With Documents, you can read Office and iWork documents, PDF documents and ePub books. You can listen to music and even watch movies. But that’s not all. Documents also includes an impressive file manager too. You can sync with Dropbox, iCloud, OneDrive, Google…

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Documents – The App of All Trades

If you have an iPhone or iPad, there’s one app you absolutely must have – Documents [iOS – free]. This is the Swiss Army knife of apps. With Documents, you can read Office and iWork documents, PDF documents and ePub books. You can listen to music and even watch movies. But that’s not all. Documents also includes an impressive file manager too. You can sync with Dropbox, iCloud, OneDrive, Google Drive and more. There is a built-in browser making it possible to save web pages as HTML or PDF files, save bookmarks and download files to Documents.

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Opening Screen in Documents

When you first open Documents, you will notice several folders – iPod Library, iTunes Files, Photos and Downloads. You can create additional folders as needed. The sidebar on the left displays tools and cloud storage services. The Documents item at the top of the sidebar returns you to this screen. You can access your iCloud folders from here and there is even a built-in browser. Readdle offers a number of useful apps like Scanner Pro, PDF Expert and PDF Converter. When installed on your iPad, they are easily accessible by tapping Add-ons.

It only takes a minute to set up the cloud storage services you use so you can access files you have stored there. Tap the +Add command and follow the prompts. In this example, I have connected to my Dropbox and Google Drive accounts.

A good place to start is opening the Documents Guide. It’s short, but it covers all the bases and you will be soon on your way to putting Documents to work.

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Using the share sheet to copy a PDF file to Documents

You can use your browser to download documents from the Web. This example shows a PDF newsletter displayed in the Safari browser. First, you must add Documents to Safari’s share sheet. Tap the Share icon in Safari’s toolbar. If you don’t see the Documents icon, keep scrolling to the right until you see the More icon. Tap it and scroll through the options until you find Documents and activate it. Now all you have to do open the share sheet and tap the Documents icon to save the file.

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The Documents Web Browser

Documents includes its own web browser. It doesn’t have all the features a “big” browser does, but it’s got what you need. In this example, I have a blog page open in the browser and I want to save it to Documents. Tapping the share icon makes it possible to bookmark this page, save the page or email it to someone. After choosing the save option I am presented with an options panel. I can save this page as an HTML document, PDF document or a Web Archive file. By default the browser will save the file into the Downloads folder but that can be changed in the options panel. After making your selections, tap the Done button.

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The Save File options panel

Once you’ve got your documents where Documents can access them, you are ready for a very enjoyable reading experience. Below you see a page from a National Park Services guide that was downloaded as a PDF.

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The Documents Reader

This example shows the current page. Swipe left or right to move through the document. Tap anywhere on the page to display the reader’s tools.

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The Reader’s tools

Looking for something specific within a document? Tap the search icon and enter your search string. The tiny black box at the bottom of the screen is the slider. Drag it left or right to quickly move through the file. You can also bookmark pages within a document and highlight text.

Documents isn’t just for reading either. It offers some impressive collaboration tools too. As you see, there’s an impressive collection of annotation tools – great if your team is working on a writing project. Documents supports files created in Pages, Word, Excel, Numbers and more.

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Documents file management tools

To make all this document collection and collaboration possible, the app has an impressive file management capability. It starts by tapping the Edit icon at the top right corner of the screen. The documents on that screen are now selectable and the sidebar displays the menu. Select the menu option you need and it will prompt you through that process. The Edit icon changes to a Done button so you can complete the operation.

This is just a taste of what Documents can do. And best of all . . . it is free!

Mobile File Management

Documents app on iPad IOS devices were not designed with a centralized file management system like desktops use. Each app handles the files it creates. There are some sharing options allowing you to open a file in a different app along with apps for each of the cloud storage services you use. This can quickly become both awkward and time-consuming. Fortunately, there’s Documents [iOS – free]. Not…

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Mobile File Management

Documents app
Documents app on iPad

IOS devices were not designed with a centralized file management system like desktops use. Each app handles the files it creates. There are some sharing options allowing you to open a file in a different app along with apps for each of the cloud storage services you use. This can quickly become both awkward and time-consuming. Fortunately, there’s Documents [iOS – free].

Not only is Documents an impressive file management system, it is also an amazing document viewer and media player. In the example above, you are looking at the Documents app on my iPad. I have selected the ChannelGuide.pdf file shown in the current folder and I have a number of actions available in the left sidebar. I can copy or move it to one of the folders you see in the main screen or to any number of cloud storage platforms. I can even easily move files from my iPhone to my iPad.

Looking at the tools in the sidebar and you see many basic file management options. Need to download a document from the Web? No problem! Safari displays an Open in… button for PDF downloads (along with other formats). Tap the button and then tap the Documents icon and the file is downloaded to the Downloads folder in the Documents app. You can also use Documents’ built-in browser to view and download documents on the Web.

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Documents main screen

This is what the main screen looks like on an iPad. In the sidebar, the Documents file space has been selected and those folders and files appear in the main screen. Tap a file to open it in an appropriate viewer/media player. The Downloads folder is the default location for files you download from the Web. The iPod Library folder allows you to play files located in your device’s Music app. The files remain in the Music app and are just played in the Documents media player. You can also connect to the Photos app and copy photos to or from Documents.

If you use more than one cloud storage provider, you can connect to each within Documents and easily view, copy, move and manage files in them all. Once you connect to the service in Documents, moving and managing files between services is just as easy as moving between folders.

In the example above you see that in addition to iCloud, I’m also using Dropbox and Box. Other cloud options include OneDrive and Google Drive. Servers supporting WebDAV, FTP and SFTP can also be accessed using Documents. And, if you have multiple iOS devices you can AirDrop files between them.

This is just the file management side of Documents. Stay tuned . . . there’s a lot more mobile goodness in the reader/media player side of this app. Readdle also has a number of other useful apps. Many of them can make going mobile a whole lot easier.

 

Browsing Internet Archive With Documents

Browsing Internet Archive with the Documents app …

The Documents app[iOS – free] is more than a PDF reader – a lot more. Not only can it read an impressive list of document formats, it is also a document management tool. With Documents you can connect to iCloud, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and many other cloud storage services. You can copy, move, rename, email and delete files in any of your connected platforms. Then there’s the builtin web…

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