Best PDF Reading App

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by kevincousland, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. kevincousland
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    kevincousland iPF Novice

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    Hello. I'm a first year medical student and I'm in need of a PDF reading app in order to read medical e-books in PDF format.

    I specifically want/need these functions:

    • View text, pictures, graphs
    • Zoom function
    • Works offline (pdfs are not streamed, are stored in the ipad)
    • Can open large pdf files
    It will be better if it's free.

    Any help will be appreciated. :)
  2. Gabriel1
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    Gabriel1 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I like GoodReader as it allows me to make notes on the pdf's......may be useful if you are studying?

    The Archangel
  3. kevincousland
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    kevincousland iPF Novice

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    Does it have a zoom function? Offline file storage? Can it view images?

    Thanks for the quick reply btw.
  4. Gabriel1
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    Gabriel1 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, I can zoom in by speeding my fingers on the page and yes, I can view off line.......at least I think I can (I'm almost never offline), yes just went into airplane mode and all my pdf's were still openable and yes, I can view the images in a PDF report I have in it currently.

    The Archangel
  5. kevincousland
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    kevincousland iPF Novice

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    Ah. Thanks. I'll check it out. :)

    Any other apps?
  6. IvanLasston
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    IvanLasston iPF Novice

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  7. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    Actually, iBooks will do everything you've mentioned, and it is free.

    The benefits of the other apps mentioned is that they will allow you to annotate, and export files as well.
  8. kevincousland
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    kevincousland iPF Novice

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    However, I read at other forums that it selectively opens .pdf files, and sometimes it doesn't open books not bought from itunes store.
  9. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    It will open most pdf files, provided they are not DRM (protected). There have been a few exceptions, and they were textbooks. Since you mentioned textbooks, I suppose that would be important. :) However this can be worked around. If the textbook is opened on a computer and then Saved As a separate file, it usually looses the ultra-compression algorithm that caused the problem. If you run into this problem you'll probably have to do this no matter what PDF reader you choose. Almost all (if not all) PDF readers on the iPad use Apple's built in code.

    Other than PDF files iBooks reads ePub format. I've never heard of it failing to read an ePub as long as it is DRM free. I import ePub to iBooks all the time and haven't had any problems reading them, yet.

    The other PDF readers are probably a better choice for your needs. I only mentioned iBooks because it's free, and you'd asked for a free option. Stanza is another free option, but it won't handle PDF files any better (or worse) than iBooks.
  10. kevincousland
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    kevincousland iPF Novice

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    Thanks. Your post has been very helpful. :)
  11. cshmech
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    cshmech iPF Novice

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    Try PDF Reader Pro. Its just $1 and i find it amazing.. You can zoom, annotate(although not so sophisticated), make bookmarks in the pdf file, choose between vertical and horizobral scrolling of pages, there is a 'lock horizontal' option if you want to use only smooth vertical scrolling with a set zoom level. Id suggest you to try it. Yea, the files are stored on the iPad.. It has some good cloud storage upload/download features too!
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2011
  12. Vichon
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    Vichon iPF Novice

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    I also vote for Good Reader. It interfaces to Dropbox, fileservers and web pages, downloads offline copies and is both very accurate and reasonable fast. To test your criteria, I grabbed a couple text books from some universaty sources I know of (one a Java Introduction - 758 pgs with full formatting and numerous imbedded diagrams, screenshots, and code snippets - roughly a 6 meg PDF) - I compared it to both Adobe X and a Web viewable version and found no differences. It could zoom in to unusable levels using either pinch jesters or by tapping the screen.

    Not free, but it's a good option. iBooks is another option, but I had some issues with document accuracy and wanting to directly access my Dropbox account that caused me to go with Good Reader (there are probably work arounds to allow iBooks to receive Dropbox files, but I looked for a more direct solution at the time.

    Update - Just checked, from the Dropbox app (which offers built in reader capabilities) I can download the PDF and then send it to iBooks. I then checked the iBooks version and found it now can open, accurately render and supports the pinch jester to zoom, so it's a free solution for you if you don't need any other features than you listed.

    Update 2 - In looking at parallel threads there is a discussion of "Password protected college textbooks". I can't find any mention in Good Reader supporting this but it would seem PDF Reader Pro talks specifically about it. It might be an issue for you to consider.

    Last edited: Jun 8, 2011
  13. gnurt
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    gnurt iPF Noob

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    let try PDFManFree :)
  14. kevincousland
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    kevincousland iPF Novice

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    The specifications above I listed are the only things I need. I'm not into the habit of annotating books (because I find it redundant as important ideas/terms are already in bold or italicized). With that in mind, do you think I should stick to iBooks or buy Good reader?

    Also, a friend of mine say Cloud Reader is a good pdf viewer. Any thoughts on that app?
  15. davidalan99
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    davidalan99 iPad Fan

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    I am currently using PDF Expert. It will do all you have asked.

    Sent from my iPhone/iPad using iPF
  16. james786
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    james786 iPF Noob

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    I always like to use Good Reader for pdf books study. It works well for me.
  17. cshmech
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    cshmech iPF Novice

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    Does it have continuous vertical scrolling of pages? Or does it jump from one page to another.. I'm talking about a UI like Dropbox.
  18. kevincousland
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    kevincousland iPF Novice

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    I'm curious about this too. Because my iPad won't arrive until another week, I can't find out myself.

    Btw, I'm downloading PDFManFree right now.

    Thanks for the input guys. :)
  19. kevincousland
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    kevincousland iPF Novice

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    Need a pdf viewer with vertical scrolling pages. Preferably free. :)

    I found this app named iPDFBooks lite. It has single page continuous scrolling support but it crashes frequently. Any other apps like that?
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2011
  20. ecrosswordshd
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    ecrosswordshd iPF Noob

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    I love instaPaper :)

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