How to View and Save PDFs on the iPad


There are several ways to view and save PDF files on the iPad. iPad users can view PDFs online directly from Safari, the iPad mail app supports PDF documents, PDFs can be synced with iTunes and there are several apps that will allow users to save and view PDF documents on the iPad.

Opening PDFs From Email

You can open PDF documents, such as a PDF attached to an email, with iBooks and other apps. When you view a PDF email attachment, simply tap “Open in iBooks,” located in the upper-right corner of the screen. iBooks will open and you’ll be able to view your PDF using the iBooks app.

    1. Just tap on the PDF

  1. Tap “Open in iBooks”

Any app that can open a PDF should be listed. When you use iBooks to open a PDF, iBooks will automatically save a copy of the PDf to your iBooks PDF shelf. These PDFs will also sync back to your iTunes Book library the next time you sync your device with iTunes.

Syncing and saving PDFs

To add PDFs and books in the epub format to your iTunes library on your computer, you can simply drag and drop the PDFs and epub books into your iTunes Book library.
You do not have to get your books from the iBookstore, books in the epub format are available from several places on the internet.

To sync a PDF to iBooks on your device:

  1. Select your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch in the Devices list on the left in iTunes 9.2 or later.
  2. Click the Books tab in the resulting window.
  3. Ensure that the Sync Books checkbox is enabled.
  4. If iTunes is set to only sync selected books, be sure to enable the checkbox next to the PDF you want to sync.
  5. Click Sync.
  6. Books and PDFs will now show up on the device in the iBooks app.

  • Sarah

    When I save PDF files they do not keep their names but get rubbish sequences of letters and numbers. How can I change their names in my iBooks ?

  • Sarah

    When I save PDF files they do not keep their names but get rubbish sequences of letters and numbers. How can I change their names in my iBooks ?

  • Phil


    You can change the name of the PDF in iTunes.

    1. Open iTunes and select Books (PDFs are stored here also).
    2. Find the PDF you want to change and right click on it (or control click for Mac users).
    3. Select “Get Info”.
    4. Click on the “Info” tab.
    5. Here you can change the Name, Author/Artist, etc.
    6. Sync your iPad and the name of the PDF should change.

    I added a post in the forum with a couple of images.

    Thanks for your question.

  • Sandy scherzer

    How do I attach a file to an out going email?

  • Leslie

    I want to know also on how to download free ipad movies?

  • Cynthia

    This does not work. I did this. Did another sync, opened the file and that random name appeared again.

    I opened the file in Windows Explorer and did a properies check there. This is what I found.

    The name that appears as the name of the file in my Windows Explorer Directory and as the file name before I open it in the bookshelf on iPad is the File Name in Properties of that PDF file.

    The name it changes to is in a text box that is labeled Title. I cannot change the Title because the text box does not allow changes.

    For example, on the PDF file Properties it may appear like this:

    File: ABCDEF
    Title: ghijkl

    The File: ABCDEF is not in a text box.

    Title: (not in text box( ghijkl (gray text box entry)

    In Windows Explorer the file name is ABCDEF.PDF. When it is loaded onto the Bookshelf the name is ABCDEF. After you open it in bookshelf it is ghijkl. You can actually see it change when you click it. You know it is going to happen.

    Why isn’t the Bookshelf keep the file name that it was saved to iPad with? I have 5 files called 5D BBQ APRON. I have 3 files with web addresses for names. I have no idea what they are unless I open them. Why is it changing the name of the file to the title name? It should be keepingn it just as it was synced.

    These are not pirated files. These are files that were created to be downloaded. They are monthly projects and Newsletters, and other files from other places are that are allowed to be downloaded are doing the same thing.

  • Elle O’Neill

    When i select “open with ibooks” it no longer launches the PDF document and nothing seems to happen. It was working fie before. Can anyone suggest what the problem is. Memory is fine. Thank you

  • Sandra Audy

    I would like to be able to save and most importantly SHARE my documents. Example. I have my resumé on my email and would like to know how to use it/attach it to several job websites. I do not know how to do that. Is there a way? You know, you click on “attach” but thats where it ended for me. Only my photos are offered:(