I plan on attending the New England Regional Genealogical Conference in Springfield, Massachusetts, this week. I want to have the conference program with me at all times, so I went to the conference web site and downloaded the complete conference brochure. It is a PDF file, so I could have printed it out.
I have a personal policy of trying to print as little as possible. I dislike printing. I believe in saving paper and ink. I also hate the clutter caused by having all sorts of printouts around. Then there is the problem of misplacing things, which I do frequently. The only thing worse than printing things is to print something and then not have it available when I need it!
I always have my iPhone with me, so the best solution for me is to save the PDF file to the iPhone. That way, I can look at it at any time, and I never misplace it. It requires no additional space, no briefcase to carry it, and no large pocket to stuff the paper into. There is but one problem: the iPhone is unable to view a PDF file unless it was emailed to you as an attachment. Even then, the attachment doesn't always display properly. Luckily, there are several possible solutions. The solution I selected is for the iPhone, but it will also work on an iPad or an iPod Touch.
A quick check of the iPhone App Store shows about a half dozen programs that will store and display PDF files. After reading the descriptions carefully, I selected Files Pro, a $2.99 application. This is neither the cheapest application nor the most expensive. What caught my eye is this part of the Files Pro description: "Download from the Internet using Files' built-in web browser. Easily download documents, email attachments or access your cloud storage." Some of the other PDF file viewers required downloading the PDF file first on a Windows or Macintosh computer, copying it to iTunes, and then syncing that to the iPhone. All that seemed a bit complex and "kludgy" to me. I prefer the simple approach: use the iPhone to directly download and store the PDF file from the World Wide Web. However, Files Pro will also transfer files via the iTunes synchronization method, should you wish to do so. Once the PDF file is stored on your iPhone, you can read the document anywhere. No network access is required once the file has been saved in the iPhone.
I paid the $2.99, downloaded the application, and was able to view my first PDF file a minute or so later.
In fact, Files Pro will also display most common file types, including most Microsoft Office documents, PDF documents, and image, movie, and audio files. It will even play music files stored online on Amazon Cloud Drive or other online services. It will unzip files, create folders, and even send documents as email attachments directly from files stored in the iPhone. All files may optionally be secured via a local password.
I now have the New England Regional Genealogical Conference program stored on my iPhone and will be carrying it with me all the time I am at the conference. All the information is easily and quickly available to me at any time, not stuffed in my briefcase and not left at home or in the hotel room. Even better, I didn't waste any paper or ink.
If you have a need to refer to PDF files while at genealogy conferences or elsewhere, and if you own an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, you might want to check out Files Pro in the App Store.
More information may be found at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/files-pro-document-reader/id285578660?mt=8# while an FAQ (frequently-asked questions) may be found at http://www.olivetoast.com/files/faq.shtml and video tutorials are available at http://www.olivetoast.com/files/videos.shtml