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I'm preparing to go on a week long business trip where I will need access to dozens of PDF files which I have on my work PC. I want to take them on my iPad so that I can read and review them during my trip but I have the following constraints:

  1. All my PDF files are on my work PC
  2. I cannot install iTunes on my work PC so I need a way to transfer them to my iPad using just the standard USB-to-iPad cable
  3. I don't mind paying for an app on my iPad
  4. I don't mind it if I have to read all the PDFs on an app on my iPad

I have tried searching for solutions but am not able to find one that checks all the above boxes.

The only solution I can think of are to email all the PDFs to myself and open them once so I can see them later (is this the only feasible solution?). I have lots of PDFs so this is a sub-optimal workaround at the moment...

Any pointers would be gratefully received.

Thank you very much!

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Why can't you use Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, or any number of services? All of the above support browser uploading. If this is a work iPad, and this is a business trip, talk to your company about getting the files on your iPad for you. – Ramhound Oct 17 '13 at 20:09
Can you e-mail it to your iPad? Or use google Drive? – Portland Runner Oct 17 '13 at 20:12

Just copying .pdf files to the iPad will not do; the trick is to imitate Apple's ".plist" configuration files.

If you are comfortable using python, here is a simple script that will do the job for you. Simply place your .pdf files in the Books/Managed folder (after you have connected to a computer) and then run the following in that directory. Once this script is run, the iPad will recognize your .pdf files (this is in the standard iBooks app). Your .pdf files can even by in subdirectories.

import os

header = "<?xml version=\"1.0\" encoding=\"UTF-8\"?>\n<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC \"-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN\" \"\">\n<plist version=\"1.0\">\n<dict>\n <key>Books</key>\n  <array>\n"

footer = "  </array>\n</dict>\n</plist>"
fst = "     <dict>\n            <key>Inserted-By-iBooks</key>\n         <false/>\n             <key>Name</key>\n            <string>"
tnd = "</string>\n          <key>Page Progression Direction</key>\n         <string>default</string>\n          <key>Path</key>\n           <string>"
lst = "</string>\n          <key>s</key>\n          <string>0</string>\n        </dict>\n"
bodystr = ""

for root, dirs, files in os.walk(".", topdown=False):
    for name in files:
        sttmp = os.path.join(root, name)[2:]
        if not ".pdf" in sttmp:

file = open("Managed.plist", "w")
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1) If there's a Windows file server involved (often the case when it's business-related) you could put the files on the server & connect to it with the ipad via FTP, if currently running. Also, your ISP may provide you with FTP capability that you're not using.

2) You could use DropDAV, a Dropbox-access service that works better with the ipad.

3) iCloud seems designed for the kind of file access you want, with files shared between PC and ipad.

4) Apps like FileExplorer Free seem intended to do just what you want, access files on a range of non-apple systems. or iExplorer -

There are also apps specifically for accessing SMB shares, which would work for Windows servers & many others: Oplayer, Cloud Connect Pro, FileBrowser,Files Connect, NetPortal, etc.

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Upload all your PDF files to Dropbox or Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive and then download them to your iPad. If you don't feel like uploading PDF files via some web browser you can download and install Google Drive client or Microsoft OneDrive client or Dropbox client on your PC. There exist Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox app that you can install on iPad and download PDF files via this app.

You can also use Gmail and send an email to yourself and add all the PDF files as an attachment but there is a limit of 25 MB for the attachment when sending emails from Gmail.

Download and install Adobe Reader app for iPad to read PDF files...

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I use for PDF PDF Expert by Readdle, which is pretty nice. You can import from all major cloud services, or just send them to you via mail or iMessage.

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The question already rejects mailing all the PDFs to himself as a solution. – David Richerby Dec 30 '14 at 23:32
I should have mentioned that using PDF Expert you can open ZIP archives, so it should be easy to zip them all and then just open them. – iCaramba Dec 31 '14 at 13:51

iAnnotate is an application I use on my ipad for work. You can make annotations, bookmarks, highlight, search for keywords in the document etc...

The app can be linked to Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive or WebDAV, iTunes file sharing, or you can open PDFs directly from email or the Web. You can create your own folders and sub-folders in app to keep everything well organized.

It's 10 dollars and worth every penny in my opinion.

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protected by slhck May 11 '15 at 7:54

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