How to Save PDFs on an iPad

By Anne Hirsh

The iPad saves documents using a different approach from standard computers. Instead of having document files in folders stored on a desktop or other area, your files are stored within individual apps on the iPad. For example, if you save a Microsoft Word or Apple Pages document on your computer, it is stored in a general folder such as "My documents" or any other folder. If you work on a Pages or Word document on the iPad, it saves directly in Pages or the MS Office-friendly app you used to edit it. For PDF files, this means you need a PDF-friendly app to store these documents.

Step 1

Launch the "App Store" on your iPad and browse for a PDF app. Nearly any eBook reading app, such as iBooks or Kindle, can read and save your PDFs in an easily accessible format on your iPad. These apps are generally free. If you need to work with the PDF on your iPad, enter "annotate PDF" in the App Store search box and find a PDF editor that has the functions you need.

Step 2

Download the app onto your iPad by tapping the "Free" button or price, selecting "Install" and confirming your password. You do not need to launch the app after it installs.

Step 3

Navigate to your PDF document. If it is on your computer, email it to yourself, and then tap the attachment to download it onto the iPad. If it is online, visit the site where the PDF is located and click the link to download the document. The PDF will open in Preview mode, but this does not save it to your iPad.

Step 4

Tap the "Open in" button in the upper-right corner. If you don't see this button, tap anywhere in the document. This will bring up the menu bar, including the button.

Step 5

Select the app you just installed from the "Open in" list. The iPad will automatically launch your app and open the PDF within it.

Step 6

Tap "Save" to save the PDF if that option is available in your app. Many apps will automatically save the PDF, so you may not see a "Save" button. In this case, simply press the back arrow to go to the app's main interface or press the Home button to leave the app. The next time you launch the app, you will see your PDF stored in the app's files.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some apps let you transfer your PDFs directly from your computer into the app, through iTunes when you sync or through a wireless connection. Check your chosen app's help files for alternate methods of importing PDFs, which will automatically save to the app's file storage.