Travel tip: Easily create & send PDFs to your iPad

By David Flynn, October 2 2012
Travel tip: Easily create & send PDFs to your iPad

As somebody who tends to copy a lot of PDFs onto his iPad for later reading and reference, I’d have to rate this as one of the coolest little-known tricks of the Mac.

In any Mac app that prints, you can choose to send a PDF of the document straight into the iTunes library.

It’s an option under the PDF button at the lower-left of the Mac’s Print window.

Click that button and from the drop-down menu select Add PDF to iTunes.

This will copy the PDF into the Books section of your iTunes library, from where it’ll copied onto your iPad and loaded into iBooks during the next sync session (provided your iPad is set up to automatically synchronise books from iTunes).

I use this trick most often for copying very long articles off the Internet – quality tomes of 10,000 words or more, from the likes of Wired or Vanity Fair – to read on my iPad over a coffee or on a flight.

This smart shortcut has plenty of other uses, too.

Let’s say you’re attending a conference and the itinerary, conference guide and other materials have been emailed to you as PDFs. Open each one in Preview, hit Print and then Add PDF to iTunes.

Downloaded a book or magazine in PDF format? Same deal.

Remember: if you can print it, you can PDF it and then fast-track it onto your iPad.

For more savvy travel tips, keep an eye on our tweetstream – we're @AusBT.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


15 Apr 2011

Total posts 580

It does take a bit more attention that letting it all run automatically through iTunes, but I find Dropbox works extremely well for this sort of thing as well. Just download the file (or 'print' it as a PDF onto your computer), drag/save into the dropbox folder on your computer and 5 seconds later it's on your iPad (assuming everything is connected to the internet). It'll also automaticaly send everything to your iPhone (or Andriod phone), which can be handy if you need to pull up your itinerary quickly to check something.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555

AM: yep, that works very well for wireless, my little trick is more for a near-immediate USB-based sync (which is how I do my iPad-to-Mac hookup).

But for DropBox, here's a trick you might LOVE - how to add a 'Send PDF to DropBox' item to the menu above. I've done this on my Mac and it works a treat.

* First up, you’ll need to dive into your Mac’s hidden Library folder. In the Finder, click the Go menu and then press the Option key to see Library appear on the list of destinations.

* Inside the Library, locate and open the PDF Services folder.

* Open a new Finder window and navigate to your local DropBox folder, and select the folder you’d like your PDFs deposited into. (For what it’s worth, I’ve got one marked 'iPad').

* Right-click that folder and choose Make Alias.

* Now drag the alias out of the DropBox folder and into PDF Services. This adds that folder to the drop-down PDF list in any Print window – when you click this new menu item a PDF will appear in your designated DropBox folder.

* Rename the alias to something like “Save PDF to DropBox” and you’re done.


15 Apr 2011

Total posts 580

You just changed my life David - thanks!

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