How to Add PDFs to the iPad

By Anne Hirsh

Download and install a PDF reader on your iPad before you add any PDF files. Many PDF readers offer their own internal file transfer options, allowing you more ways to get your PDFs where you need them and keep them organized. Browse for a PDF reader in the iPad App Store, or look for PDF annotation apps if you need to do more than just read PDFs. Apple's free e-book reader, iBooks, also allows you to read PDF files and store them in your iBooks library. Once you've found and installed a PDF app, you are ready to add PDFs.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer (optional)
  • USB sync cable (optional)

Online PDFs

Step 1

Launch the webpage or site where the PDF you want to add to your iPad is located.

Step 2

Tap the PDF download link to start the download to your iPad.

Step 3

Select your PDF reader from the "Open with" options listed.

Email PDFs

Step 1

Log into your email on the computer where the PDFs are stored or have the computer's owner log into his email on that computer.

Step 2

Attach, or have the PDF owner attach, all of the PDFs to an email and send it to you.

Step 3

Launch the Mail app on your iPad and open the email with the PDF attachments.

Step 4

Tap each one to download it and select the app you want to use to read it. The PDF will be stored inside the app unless you use an app that offers other options, such as online file storage.

iTunes Transfer

Step 1

Place all of the PDFs you want to transfer to your iPad in a folder on your computer desktop to make them easy to access. Use the same computer you normally use to sync and back up your iPad.

Step 2

Plug your iPad into your computer with the USB cable that came with the device. iTunes should launch automatically. Launch it manually if it does not.

Step 3

Stop the sync process or allow it to complete if it starts automatically. Click your device in the left menu, and then click "Apps" in the main body of the window.

Step 4

Scroll down to the "File sharing" area of the page and select your PDF app, if it is listed. If not, use one of the other methods.

Step 5

Drag your PDF files into the file area next to your chosen app. Wait for the files to transfer, and then disconnect your iPad from the computer. Access the files on your iPad through the app where you dropped them.

Tips & Warnings

  • Not all PDF readers support iTunes transfer, but it is the fastest and easiest way to add multiple PDFs to your iPad. Email is generally the easiest for single PDF files.