Stormy Weather

We were lucky. There’s a lot of debris to clean up but no trees fell in our yard and our power outages were very short. The water in the creek was the highest I’ve ever seen it but it never came near our back fence. Family and friends are still trying to get back to their homes on the islands to see if they are habitable. It will be a long time before this area is back to “normal”. Just a few…

View On WordPress

Stormy Weather

We were lucky. There’s a lot of debris to clean up but no trees fell in our yard and our power outages were very short. The water in the creek was the highest I’ve ever seen it but it never came near our back fence. Family and friends are still trying to get back to their homes on the islands to see if they are habitable. It will be a long time before this area is back to “normal”.

Just a few days before Matthew started kicking things up, I had upgraded our computers to MacOS 10. During the update it asked if I wanted to “sync” the Documents and Desktop folders to my iCloud account. Hmmm. I have a 200GB account that costs me $2.99/month. My iMac has a 500GB drive and I also have two external drives. Although my computer is set up for automatic backups to the larger external drive, the idea of having my working documents available via iCloud from just about anywhere is very interesting. It became even more interesting as we prepared for the storm. There were a number of household and financial documents we wanted to keep within easy reach no matter what happened during the storm. Using Readdle’s Scanner Pro app on my iPhone, I was quickly able to scan the latest insurance policies and other important documents to my desktop and iCloud within just a few minutes. Scanner Pro even makes it possible to password-protect sensitive documents.

I’m not ready to give up my desktop scanner, but I am finding my iPhone and Scanner Pro an easy way to capture and manage all kinds of documents. They were there even when the power was out.

PDF Powerhouse Apps

Turn your iPad into a research powerhouse with these two apps http://wp.me/pUz7q-4rG

There are two must-have apps from Readdle on my iPad that make working with PDFs a dream. They are: Documents [free] – serves as both a file manager and a reader/viewer/media player for PDF, MS Office, ePub, images and videos. PDF Office [$4.99/mo – $39.99/yr] – create PDF documents and fillable forms from scratch or from a scanned form, scan documents and receipts, annotate, edit and even sign…

View On WordPress

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.

Managing the Cloud

If you have an iOS device that you use regularly, chances are good you have one or more cloud storage accounts. These accounts not only provide file storage that can be accessed from just about anywhere, they also serve as off-site backup. Now the question is how to get to those files from your mobile devices. Sure, each cloud service offers its own app for managing files, but iOS users will find the free Documents app is not only an impressive reader but an amazing file management system too.

Documents opening screen
Documents opening screen.

Here you see the main screen in Documents on an iPad. The folders and files you see displayed here are all contained within the storage area in the Documents app. The sidebar displays the cloud storage services I use.

Downloading a file is easy with Documents.

With Documents installed on your device, you can download a file using your browser by tapping the Open In . . . command located just below the tabs bar then choosing Open in Documents.

Downloading to Documents from the Safari browser.

Once downloaded, the file will appear in the Documents main screen. Opening attachments in email messages works much the same way. The Documents app is also an impressive reader app and can read PDF, Microsoft Office and ePub files as well as view photos and videos.

Obviously, I don’t want to keep every file I download on my iPad. Documents also has an impressive collection of file management tools. Start by tapping the Edit icon at the top right corner of the title bar. A screen appears similar to the one shown below.

The first step is to select the files you want to work with by tapping on them. In the example above the checkmarks show which two I’ve selected. The sidebar presents the options available to me. In this case, I want to send them to my Dropbox account so I tap on the Upload icon in the sidebar.

Documents displays my cloud storage options – in this case Dropbox and Box. [NOTE: iCloud has its own “area” in Documents and doesn’t appear with the networked services.] I tap the Dropbox item which will display my list of folders then I select the folder I want. It’s that easy.

As you can see in the sidebar, there are a lot of other things I can do with Documents. I can copy, move, rename and delete files currently in the Documents app. I can also merge PDF documents and create zip files. Want to add a file attachment to an email message? Select a file and tap Mail to.

Documents is an impressive app providing a full range of reading and file management features. It won’t take long for it to become indispensable.