Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Creating & Reading on the iPad: PDF vs. ePub

A cart of 30 iPads showed up at my school the other day & I get to organized the deployment and classroom use, a daunting task.  Prior to the 30 iPad cart, I have been working with teachers and students to use 4 iPads, primarily in two math classes.  I have blogged about both ideas here and here.

Now, to the purpose of the post.  One of the most easily accessible and applicable functions of the iPad across the curriculum is to use it as a reading & note taking device and there are two fantastic websites, that when used in conjunction with the iPad, make it incredibly easy to turn any web based content ( blogs, websites, articles, primary source documents, etc...) into either a PDF or ePub document, right on the iPad.

Creating & Annotating a PDF on the iPad

Here is a screen shot of an article on an iPad from and ESPN the Magazine that I used in my Sports in Society class.  There is little you can do to a web based reading on the iPad...

Here is that same article that has been converted on the iPad to a PDF document using Joliprint.  To convert a web page into a PDF document on the iPad, simply follow the instructions on the Joliprint link provided above.  The process is quite simple

1. Bookmark the page
2. Copy the code on the page
3. Edit the Bookmark - remove the URL & substitute it for the code that was copied

From the very same web site article from ESPN the Magazine, just click on your Bookmarks & select the Joliprint bookmark...let the code do its thing and you will then have a PDF version of the article.

This will appear when you click on the Joliprint bookmark.
Tap the "Click Here" to open the next menu.
 Tap either Download to open the PDF or
copy the link and paste it into a new tab.

The website above is now a PDF file

Now that the PDF has been created, you can select to open or view the PDF from any app on your iPad that can open PDF choice is GoodNotes.  (tap the document once to get the menu bar to pop-up that allows you to select the app you want to read the PDF document in)

Here is the same PDF document that is open in GoodNotes...with notations.
You can export the PDF with notations via email or to DropBox

Creating and Annotating an ePub on the iPad

Along with creating a PDF document on the iPad, you can also convert any web site into an ePub file.  ePub is the file type that is used on most mobile reading devices & iBooks on the iPad.  To convert any web site into an ePub document go to Dotepub and follow the process that is outline on the front page of the site.  The steps are the same ones that were used for the Joliprint bookmark

1. Bookmark
2. Copy the code on the page
3. Edit the bookmark - remove the URL and substitute the code that was copied.

When you visit any web page and then bookmark the page using the new Dotepub bookmark that was created, the page will instantly turn into an ePub document that can be opened in iBooks.

Here is the ePub version of the same web site that was used above with a few of the notations that are possible within iBooks.

ePub documents in iBooks allow for highlighting, underlining
and inserted notes that minimize automatically.

Now that you know how to convert web sites and create notations on the iPad, this post about integrating iPad notations into the classroom may be helpful.

I hope these two tips help on your adventures with using iPads in the what should I read, a PDF document or an ePub???


  1. Thanks for the great sharing with the great clearance.Hope to find some more update here.Keep it up here.
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  2. How do you "Copy the code on the page"?

  3. Tap your finger on the code provided, and then double tap, select all & copy.