Reading documents on the iPad is a pleasure: the intuitivity and portability of it make it a classy and entertaining task. But sometimes it can get messy when you don’t have support for certain file formats, or when you’re not sure where your documents are being stored.
Today we are going to review an app called ReaddleDocs that could very well be your default go-to application to store and organize all of your files; whether they are PDF books, photos, videos or any other type of office application document. Let’s take a look!
Getting StartedI guess the best way to describe ReaddleDocs is as an “all-round file manager”, as vague as that sounds. At first sight, it’s a simple document viewer just like the rest, but it actually goes way beyond that. Besides supporting a multitude of file formats, it also syncs with services like Google Docs, and can connect to your computer via Wi-Fi to transfer files. That, and much more.
The best way to get to know it is probably by reading the included 20 page PDF, which covers pretty much the functionality of every feature inside the app. We’ll go through the very best of them.
Main MenuThe main menu’s interface is divided into a main section and a sidebar. In the sidebar you can navigate between the Documents, Recent, Network and Browser menus. The Documents menu is where all of your files are stored, and it can be arranged by folders. The Recent menu stores all of the recently opened documents, arranged by date and with a few of them displayed below the “Recent” title in the sidebar.
The “Internet” menu is where it gets a little techy, as you can add servers by yourself to share folders through FTP or WebDAV. The last one is the “Browser” menu, and it’s pretty self-explanatory. In it you can browse and save webpages to read them later.
Adding FilesYou can download documents directly from the built-in browser, or by using the “Open In…” button that comes on when you hold your finger on a link to a document. Once you use the Open In feature to send a document to ReaddleDocs, you’ll be notified that it has been saved under your ReaddleDocs Documents folder, available for you to read it anywhere.
NavigationAs many features as this app has, the document reader is the most important of them, and it does a good job at complementing the rest of the app. You can choose between the regular iOS interface or the “Readdle PDF Expert”. You already know the iOS Reader, so I’ll just cover the features of the ReaddleDocs reader.
First off, it lets you customize it much more, you can tell it how to scroll through pages and how to display them. By default, the pages will fill the whole screen and you can navigate them by scrolling up and down. To change pages you scroll left and right.
You can take notes and highlight text by tapping with one finger, and you can do the usual pinch gestures to zoom in and out.
When you are reading, everything but the iOS status bar will fade out. If you tap the screen, the display will come up. On the bottom you have the scrolling bar, which lets you quickly jump between pages. On the top toolbar you have a few buttons like the notes and annotations, search, bookmarks and outlines, and the tools button.
In the tools button you’ll find the usual “Open In…”, “Send by Mail”, “Print” and “Go To Page” buttons; but you also have some newer cool stuff, like the “Night Mode” button, which will make everything a little grey instead of glowing white.
Other FeaturesBesides the browser and the other cool things that I’ve talked about, ReaddleDocs has a few more pleasant surprises up its sleeves. For example, it has full iTunes support for file sharing when you plug your iPad in the computer, with it you can transfer files from and to ReaddleDocs. There are also the features I mentioned earlier about mounting ReaddleDocs as a Shared Network Drive through some WebDAV utility. In addition, you can access several web services like Google Docs, Dropbox and MobileMe directly from the app.
The app also doubles as a text editor, as it quickly lets you bring up a new text file and Email immediately if you need to see it in your computer. It even lets you access and modify files if you are connected to an FTP server. There are some search features too, both inside the documents and from the main menu.
It even lets you do actions with multiple items through the main manu, like compress them, email them and organize them by folders.
Also notable is the impressive list of compatibility with files, such as iWork, Microsoft Office and Open Office documents, as well as .html, .pdf, Rich Text Files, and image and audio formats. The only area where it falls short is in the video department, as it uses the standard iOS player to display your movies, so the support for any other format isn’t there.
I honestly don’t see how ReaddleDocs could get any better. You do have to understand that it isn’t a document maker, it’s just a document reader with some capabilities for creating text files. And as a document reader, it really goes beyond the requirements.
It does a great job at giving you a go-to place for all of your files, instead of having them spread around all over your applications. Instead of having pictures spread all over the Photos application, and your PDFs in iBooks, you can keep them all neatly arranged in here. But the real question, is it worth it?
$5 is a reasonable price for an app that goes above and beyond in its field, although many of the functions are duplicated by other apps – you’ll have to decide whether the coherence and pleasure of having everything in one place, coupled with the extended functionality, is worth the price!