Review : ReaddleDocs for iPad

ReaddleDocs handles a variety of file types well.

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Product Manufacturer: Readdle

Price: $4.99 US

The Good

  • Reads a number of file formats well.
    Can load files using a variety of methods.
    Do not have to use iTunes to put files on the iPad.
    Can read PDF table of contents for easy navigation.

The Bad

  • Gestures don't work as you would expect.
    Some movements happen when you don't expect them.
    No PDF side-by-side (two-page) mode.
    Clumsy server connect because you have to type in IP address.
When you want to read files on your iPad, ReaddleDocs for the iPad gives you all the features you need. It supports text files, PDF files, MS Office files, web pages, iWork files, image files, as well as a wide selection of other types. Choosing a file to view is easy; you just pick it from a list of files that you have pre-loaded onto the iPad. Tap on the file that you want to read and it opens in ReaddleDocs.

ReaddleDocs does a very good job of displaying many different kinds of files. PDF files rendered flawlessly, image files and web pages rendered fine, and Excel and Word files opened and displayed without any errors. One of the Word documents that I tried did not display correctly though, because two pieces of text overlapped.

View PDF

Viewing PDF ReaddleDocs Guide

File Transfer

You can transfer files from your Mac to your iPad using the wireless connectivity of the iPad. You have to know the IP address of your iPad, but ReaddleDocs shows it to you in the Network tab.

 Network Tab

Network Tab

To connect to the iPad, choose Connect to Server from the Go menu in the Finder on your Mac. You enter the address shown in the network tab in ReaddleDocs. It will look something like You can connect as Guest or, if you have set a username and password in the ReaddleDocs preferences, you need to enter those credentials when you connect. Once you have successfully connected, the iPad shows up on your Mac's desktop, just like a file server. You can copy files onto the iPad, delete files, create folders, and organize your files however you want. This works very well, except for the awkward part of typing in the numeric address. Transferring over wireless would be much easier if Readdle used Bonjour, because picking a name from a list of servers is much nicer than typing in an IP address.

Document List

Document List

Readdle also runs a free service named Readdle Storage. You can upload files to Readdle Storage from any computer with a web browser, and then can read them over either the Wi-Fi or 3G connection of your iPad. You can also copy files to your iPad from MobileMe, or from any WebDAV server.

If you use a web-based email service, such as GMail, HotMail, or MobileMe, ReaddleDocs can retrieve attachments from your email and open them. It also knows how to download attachments from POP and IMAP email accounts. It would be very nice if ReaddleDocs could also read the attachments of mail messages that you have downloaded in the iPad's built-in email program, but I'm not sure that is possible.

Web Browsing

ReaddleDocs contains a web browser, and after you navigate to a page, you can save it to your iPad to look at it later. You can choose to save just the HTML, or a web archive. The first image below shows an HTML.

HTML Image Cropped

HTML File Cropped

A web archive includes images and other resources, so the file is larger, but looks more like the original.

 Network Tab

Web Archive File Cropped

PDF Viewers

ReaddleDocs has two different PDF viewers. In the settings, you choose either the iPhone OS viewer or the Readdle PDF Expert viewer. The iPhone viewer supports continuous mode, where you can scroll smoothly from one page to another, as opposed to single page mode, where you can only see one page at any given time. The Readdle viewer supports adding bookmarks and will read larger files. It also reads the outline structure from PDF files that contain them; this is very nice for navigating large documents. I loaded a 370-page software manual into ReaddleDocs, and all of the chapter headings and sub-headings showed up in the bookmarks. I could not get either one to show me two-up pages, in which I could see two full pages at the same time.

Table of Contents

Chapter Headings Displayed

I was surprised that flicking to the sides didn't do anything; that gesture seems very natural to me. Also, there is a bit of a disconnect in the page turning up and down gestures. You tap and start moving your finger, and suddenly the page "squirts away" from your finger and you are on the next page. This works, but destroys the illusion that you are controlling the movement of the page with your finger. It also does not do what you want if you tap, move down, and then back up. You should end up on the previous page, but you end up on the next page instead.

Good Choice

ReaddleDocs 1.1.0 is a good choice if you want to read documents stored on servers, and save local copies of those documents for later reading. Readdle storage lets you build up a library of documents, which you can access from anywhere that you have a network connection. ReaddleDocs for the iPad costs $4.99, and is available in the iTunes store. There is also a version for the iPhone/iPod Touch.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor