You can read PDFs on your iPad through a variety of eBook and PDF reading apps, but you must first give your iPad access to your files. The simplest way to add a PDF to your iPad from your computer is to email it to yourself, but file-sharing services are nearly as easy and allow you access from multiple devices. The email method is easiest for single PDFs, while the sharing service provides user-friendly file management if you deal with multiple PDFs.
Connect the desktop or laptop containing the PDF file to the Internet. Launch your computer's email application and address an email to yourself.
Attach the PDF you want to move to your iPad to the message and add a subject line or message if your email program requires it. Click "Send."
Connect your iPad to the Internet. Open your iPad's email app and tap the attachment to download it. Your iPad will open the PDF in a preview screen, where you can read it in the native software.
Tap the "Send to" button in the upper right corner and choose from the installed apps on your iPad that are compatible with PDFs if you prefer to transfer it to a PDF or eBook reader app. These apps may offer more versatile reading options, such as bookmarking, annotation or two-page layout view.
Download a file-sharing service, also called cloud storage service, onto your computer if you do not already have one. Dropbox is a popular free cloud service, or you can use iDisk if you have a MobileMe account. Google Documents also allows document sharing across devices and is free.
Double-click the downloaded file for the sharing service and install the software on your computer by following the on-screen instructions. The software will prompt you to set up an account with a username and password to secure your documents on the service.
Open the folder on your computer that stores any PDFs you want to move to your iPad. Launch the sharing service as well. Drag and drop any PDF files you want to share with the iPad into the sharing service window and wait for the file transfer to complete.
Tap the "App Store" icon on your iPad and browse for the app compatible with your file-sharing service, such as the Dropbox app, MobileMe iDisk or any Google Docs-compatible application. Tap "Install" to install the app on your iPad. Once installed, enter your account information, which will be the same username and password you entered on your computer.
Browse to the PDF you want in the file sharing app on your iPad. Tap it to download it to the iPad, where you can read it the same way as you would an emailed file.
- You can also download PDFs from websites to your iPad. Just tap the download link on the site and then read it the same way you would an emailed or cloud-shared file.
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