Easy way to transfer PDF files to iPad

PDF files in the iBooks window
I’ve been digging my hair out since I purchased my iPad a couple weeks ago. Amazing device—really!—and many features are blindingly obvious.

Unfortunately, some features aren’t. That’s where the hair-pulling comes from.

One such is simple: I’d like to carry pdf copies of my books with me. Seems so easy, but when I drag them to the iPad during sync, nothing happens. Well, it’s a titch more complicated, but not by much. Note these instructions are for the iPad—I haven’t tried on an iPod Touch or iPhone. Also note my iPad has the latest operating system update: iOS 4.2.

First, I save my pdfs in PDF/A format, which means the fonts are included (A is for archive). So, here’s how to put them on the iPad:

1) On your computer, open iTunes. Open Books in the Library.
2) On your computer, open the folder with your pdf
3) Drag pdf from your open folder into the Books pane
4) Connect your iPad to your computer. It will sync. Leave it connected. The iPad will appear in the list at the left of iTunes under Library.
5) On your computer, in iTunes, drag the pdf from your Library Books to your iPad. It will automatically copy the pdf file to the iPad iBooks app.
6) To read on your iPad, go into iBooks. You can look either at books or pdfs. Choose pdf.

Your file should be there and ready to read. iBooks treats it like a book, saving your place when you stop, etc. And all the formatting is there, including any weird fonts such as I’ve created for The Unexpected Traveler.

By the way, I use the wonderful, free Open Office suite for my word processing. It has a native pdf creator built in. I highly recommend it.

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