How to Read a PDF on Anything . . .

pdftokindleibookI have been creating PDF documents since the PDF was invented in the 1980′s.

The idea then was to have a way to email documents to other people for approval, etc. (mostly used by designers and their clients), and have the recipient be able to see what the design really looked like – with the correct fonts etc. In those olden days, computers did not come with many fonts, and you could not see a font in a document unless it was installed on your own computer. Fonts also cost hundreds of dollars, so you could not expect your client to have much of a collection installed.

The PDF basically made screenshots of the pages of a document that could be viewed and printed, but not changed.

You had t have a PDF Reader installed in order to view and print PDFs.

PDFs have now become ubiquitous, but not that much has changed. They still keep the info on the page in the proper place, and they still cannot be edited easily by recipients.

Though there are other “formats” for digital books now, the PDF is still the best, because it can be viewed and read on any device, not just computers, and because it remains true to the original design.

The brand new Art Journal Chronicles is a great PDF to practice with (grin).

Some things have changed. Almost everybody used to read PDF digital books on their computer screen and some would print them out to keep a real paper copy.

Now, most people read and keep their digital books on a tablet, and occasionally print a page or two to keep on paper, or to reference while they work..

If you are a person who still does not have a tablet of some kind (a giant phone counts), you would be surprised how much you are in the minority, and it is shocking how fast that has happened.

So, my PDF books are now designed for optimal viewing on tablets – which means bigger type and photos. In fact, my own books are now CREATED entirely on my iPad, so I know how they will look and read on a tablet.

But I am surprised how many people are still confused about how to get a downloaded PDF to the device where they want it.

So, this is one of those posts that you want to bookmark and keep for reference. On a Mac, you can just click-drag the address (url) at the top of your browser window right now – off onto your desktop. That will save this link as a clickable file that you can even re-title if it makes recognizing it easier in the future.

I don’t know how you do that on a PC.

But I do know how to download and save PDFS . . .


Everybody pretty much knows how to download a PDF to the computer – except for one little thing that fools a lot of folks.

Your browser has a preference to set regarding what to do with PDFs. #1 preference is to automatically download the PDF to your desktop. #2 preference is to just load it in the browser window for viewing.

Many people see the PDF show up in the browser window and think they have downloaded it – and then they can’t find it anywhere on their computer.

If your browser is set to #2 preference, you must SAVE the PDF to your computer. Then, you will be able to find it there.


To get the PDF into iBooks on your iPad or iPhone, you have to access the download link ON your iPad or iPhone.

In the case of how my Shopping Cart works, you either order the book on your iPad in the first place, and you get the download link on checkout, or you open the Email that is auto-sent as a receipt on your iPad – because it also contains the Download Link and Order Code. If you don’t get this receipt email, check your spam folder. The email comes from

When you download, the PDF opens in your browser window (usually Safari on the iPad). If you tap the Export symbol, which looks like a page with an arrow pointing up out of it. you get a window of choices of what to do with the PDF. “Open in iBooks” is one of them. Tap that and the PDF will save itself to iBooks and open there.

On older iPad systems, if you touch the upper right corner of the page in the browser window, you will get that choice to Open in iBooks.

Reading PDFs in iBooks is great. You can zoom in to see things better, bookmark pages, search the PDF, and do everything else iBooks allows you to do to any book.

PDFs are kept in a special Collection in your iBooks Library, called, appropriately enough, “PDFs”.


I don’t have a Kindle. I have the Kindle app on my iPad.

Here is the easiest way to get a PDF into your Kindle device or app.

First, download the PDF to your computer and remember where you save it. If it auto downloads, it will go to the Downloads folder.

You have to email the PDF to your Kindle.

Tap the Settings button on your Kindle Device or in your Kindle app, and you will see the email address attached to that device or app. Each device or installation of the Kindle app has its own email address.

Attach the PDF to an email you send to that address. You do not need anything in the subject line. If you were to put “Convert” (no quote marks) in the subject line, the PDF would be converted to an ebook format native to Kindle. That would allow you to change type size, etc. but would make the pages messed up as far as what pictures go with what text. It’s not worth the trade off. The type in my my books is plenty big enough already.

You must send this email from an email address you have registered with Amazon for this to work. The email you use for your Amazon account will work fine.

Give it some time, and the PDF will show up on your Books list in your Kindle Library.

This should give everybody a level of comfort with PDF books.

If there is ever a better format, I might use it, but I still feel this very early format is the best!

The brand new Artist Journal Chronicles would be a great PDF to practice with (grin!)

One thought on “How to Read a PDF on Anything . . .

  1. Vanelly

    Hi, I’ve also noted the typos and errors that Jan reefrs to.One of the strangest errors I recently encountered (in Alex Connor’s Lagacy of Blood) was: He wiped the back of his mouth with his hand. . To my opnion this falls within the category physical impossibility .Grtz,Peter

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