Aug 25, 2011

Print to PDF on Your iPhone or iPad

Update: Unfortunately, Print to PDF was removed from the app store by Apple. The developer has posted a workaround if you already have the app as well as a Mac app that makes the the app work again. Unfortunately, if you didn't download the app before it disappeared from the app store, neither of these things work.

One of the things you can do on a Mac natively is "print" to a PDF.  In other words, any application that has the ability to print can be used to create a PDF.  You simply choose the print option in that application and then "Save as PDF...".  This outputs what would be otherwise be printed to paper as a PDF that you can store later.

You can also do this on Windows by installing a program like CutePDF Writer.  It works nearly the same way except that you choose CutePDF Writer as your printer and click the Print button.

Why would you do this?  You can do things like:
  1. This allows you to do things like save bills as PDFs.
  2. You can save you airline boarding pass as a PDF for reprinting (if you lose your hard copy, for example).
  3. You can go paperless by saving anything you can print as a PDF and uploading it to a service like Evernote, a service I wrote about in this post.
What does this have to do with the iPhone or the iPad?  I saw this post on Lifehacker earlier this week and discovered the Print to PDF app.  It's a universal app designed for working on the iPhone and iPad and how it works is very clever.  It basically becomes an AirPrint server so that any app you have with AirPrint capability can save a PDF simply by you choosing "Print to PDF..." as your printer.  You have to launch the app beforehand so that it is running in the background. You return to it after printing and your PDF is there.  You can open the PDF in the app, open it in another app, or email it to yourself.  I've tried it does what it claims to do very well.

Right now the app is $3.99.  To me its worth it, but if you don't want to pay that right now, make it an app you want in AppShopper in case it goes on sale.

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