How to put your PDF brochure library on an iPad

Last week I argued that the Apple iPad – and other “tablet” computers which are appearing – may turn out to be an indispensable sales presentation tool. There seems to be quite a lot of interest in this idea; one reader has already invested in iPads to take to Electronica in Munich next week, and another plans to dip a toe in the water at a show over in New Orleans later in the month. So I thought I would run through how straightforward it is to get your company brochures and datasheets on to an iPad.

What we’re going to do is to put them all into the iBooks app which comes with every iPad. When you’re done, you’ll have them all on-screen, rather cutely, on a representation of a wooden bookshelf, like this:

PDF library on iBooks on the iPad

Touch one of the images, and the PDF brochure will open, and the pages can be scrolled through by swiping with your finger. In addition, if you’ve got a wi-fi connection (or a 3G iPad), you can email the brochure somewhere on the spot, should you desire. That could impress a prospect!

So, how do we get the PDF brochures on to the iPad in the first place? Quite straightforwardly, it transpires, although it may take a while if you have a lot of them. It’s quite possible to “sync” your iPad with your desktop PC, and use iTunes to manage the process, but there are simpler ways. The first is just to email the PDFs to yourself, and then access your email account on the iPad. But I prefer to put all the documents “up in the cloud” and get them from there. It means they’re always available should you need them in the future. Open a Dropbox account and copy all your documents there. Then go and get the Dropbox iPad app, which will allow you to fetch anything in your Dropbox account from your iPad.

Whichever you choose, you now have to open each PDF brochure on your iPad. Here’s a screenshot of opening one from Dropbox:

Opening a PDF from Dropbox on the iPad

When you touch the filename, the PDF appears. Touch the icon with a little arrow (top right) and a dialogue box appears, asking what you want to open the document in. Choose “iBooks”. And that’s it. The PDF brochure opens, you can check it, and it’s automatically placed on the little wooden bookshelf for future reference. Easy!

PDF brochure on an iPad

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