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Genius Fax 2.0 Can Now Receive Faxes

Genius FaxOn the rare occasion that I need to send a fax, more often than not I use the Genius Fax app which I have written about in the past.

Just two weeks ago I needed to sign and fax something, and I did it all from my iPad.

The makers of Genius Fax have just released version 2.0 of Genius Fax, and it is a nice update. A new feature is the ability to receive faxes.

Genius Fax Receive Faxes

For $3.50-$4 per month (depending on how long you sign up for) you can have a reserved fax number in the U.S. or Canada. Receiving faxes will use the same credits that you use to send faxes.

Speaking of credits, they’ve also lowered their prices. Now if you buy credits in bulk, they can be as low as .40/page.

I like the products the Grizzly Labs puts out, so it is nice to see Genius Fax get some new development.

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Readdle’s Web Of Interconnected Apps

Readdle Booth At Macworld 2014On my trip to Macworld/iWorld 2014, one my first stops was the Readdle booth. My goal was to get an answer to a question that has been on my mind for a while: what is the difference between the free Documents 5 and the paid PDF Expert 5? What is the deal with having two apps?

In talking to the Readdle folks, what they are up to is more interesting than I had expected. The question is not the Seinfeld-esque “what is the DEAL with all these apps?” but the real question is “where is all this going?”

Instead of thinking of Readdle’s products as a bunch of standalone apps, it makes more sense to think of them as an interconnected web of applications that can work together, each one accomplishing specific tasks.

I Love You iOS, but…

iOS is a great mobile operating system, but it has some limitations. These are arguably for the user’s benefit security-wise, but they can be annoying. For example:

  • You don’t have access to a “file system” on the iPad the way that we are used to with computers. Each app is siloed and can only access its own data.
  • Apps have an extremely limited ability to talk to each other. Usually this is accomplished by the “Open In…” menu option, but that isn’t ideal because it creates a whole other copy of the file in the target application. Whatever changes you make are not reflected back in the original app.

Hub And Spokes

Readdle Documents 5

Readdle intends to address these limitations by having Documents 5 act as the iPad’s file system. You can store any type of file in the possibly-unfortunately-named Documents 5, and use that app as a hub.

In addition, they have baked in the ability for their apps to talk to each other and send information back and forth.

In Documents 5, Readdle calls their other apps Add-ons. These apps are all fully featured applications on their own, but when Documents 5 detects that they are installed, it exposes additional menu options.

Readdle Documents 5 Add-ons

I first noticed this ability in Scanner Pro, one of my favorite mobile scanning apps. I was using it on my iPad, and after I had installed PDF Expert 5, I noticed a button I hadn’t seen before.

Scanner Pro PDF Expert 5

When I pressed the button, it opened the scanned PDF directly in PDF Expert 5 for storage/annotation. No need to go through the whole Open In… dance.

Call And Response

Having a one button document transfer is nice, but what is more interesting to me is the way that Readdle has given their apps the ability to pass data back and forth.

For example, if Documents 5 detects that PDF Converter is installed and you are viewing an image, Word doc, HTML file, or the like, you will see a Convert to PDF menu option.

Readdle Convert To PDF

When you tap that, it will send the file to PDF Converter, let it do its magic, and then bring the PDF back to Documents 5, all within a second or so. No muss, no fuss.

Their Printer Pro app works similarly. If Documents 5 detects that it is installed, you can send your file there instead of relying on an AirPrint printer.

Readdle Printer Pro

The interesting thing about this is that they have somehow embedded the Printer Pro functionality inside Documents 5.

One Ecosystem To Rule Them All

This is the first time I can recall seeing an app vendor create such a tightly integrated web of apps. Each one works perfectly well on its own, but it becomes even more powerful and convenient when they work together.

Do you have any other examples of apps that work together like this? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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How To Rename PDFs in iBooks for iPad

iPad iBooksiBooks is an app from Apple that allows you to read books, but it also makes a fairly decent PDF reader.

An awesome DocumentSnap reader asked if it is possible to rename PDFs stored in iBooks and it turns out – it is! It is just not exactly obvious how to do it.

View the video below, or click here to watch it on YouTube. If you are able to, I recommend that you watch it with HD turned on.

This video on renaming a PDF in iBooks is part of a series of quick videos on paperless tips and topics. View more in the series here.

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How To Scan Business Cards With Evernote iPhone And Add To Your Contacts

Evernote iPhoneThe Evernote iPhone app recently added the ability to scan business cards and create a note with the information from the card.

Did you know that you can have the information automatically added to your phone’s contacts?

The option is a little buried, so this video shows how to set it up.

View the video below, or click here to watch it on YouTube. If you are able to, I recommend that you watch it with HD turned on.

This video on scanning business cards in Evernote is part of a series of quick videos on paperless tips and topics. View more in the series here.

(Photo by Heisenberg Media)

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PDF Expert 5

PDF Expert 5Long time DocumentSnap readers will know that I am a big GoodReader user. It has been the file system for my iPad for years, and the new iOS 7 update is quite nice. However, recently I have moved to PDF Expert 5 as my PDF application of choice on the iPad.

Readdle’s apps are getting more and more polished, and PDF Expert 5 is no exception. Since I am using it more and more, I thought I’d do a bit of a runthrough.

PDF Expert 5

Getting PDFs Into PDF Expert

Like any other iOS app, you can “Open In” a PDF from an email or other application and select PDF Expert.

This works well, but the real power is in PDF Expert’s integration with a number of cloud services. You can access documents from Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive, Windows SMB shares, Box, and a whole host of other sources.

PDF Expert Cloud Services

You can either open documents from these services, or you can sync entire folders. If you do that, changes that you make to a document on one side are automatically reflected on other devices.

It would be nice if PDF Expert supported AFP shares like GoodReader, but it’s not the end of the world.

If you use PDF Expert for iPhone, you can store your documents in iCloud and they will automatically appear on all your iOS devices in the PDF Expert apps.

Organize PDFs

PDF organization is one of my favorite features of PDF Expert 5. The way they have done it really takes advantage of the touch interface.

If you want to move a document, you can tap and hold on the PDF. You can then drag it to a folder, or you can drag it to the sidebar and send it to one of your cloud services.

If you drag one PDF on top of another one, it will create a brand new folder. Nice touch.

If you hit the Edit button up at the top, you can select one or more documents and do a number of actions such as Copy, Move, Rename, Delete, Merge, Zip, Email, Upload, and Open In.

Many of these you can also do by dragging PDFs around, but this gives you a way to apply an action to multiple PDFs at once.

PDF Expert 5 Edit Mode

You’ll also see that you can star and tag documents, but don’t get too excited. These don’t translate over to Mavericks tags. Maybe someday.

Read PDFs

Until I bought an iPad, I was one of those people that needed to print out documents to read them.

I have found that tablets have changed all that, and I actually prefer to read PDFs on my iPad now.

PDF Expert 5 Reading

Reading in PDF Expert 5 is great. You can either swipe or tap between pages horizontally (my preference), or you can do vertical scrolling if that floats your boat.

A great touch for us old people is you can set the PDF to Night or Sepia mode to make reading a bit easier on the eyes, especially in the dark.

One of the more incredible features to me is the Text to Speech support. Just tap the reading button and turn on the Text to speech switch, and the app will read the text to you, highlighting each word as it goes. It works very well.

PDF Expert 5 Text To Speeech

Annotate PDFs

You can do the normal annotations on the PDF. You can add text, highlight text, draw shapes, strike out text, and there is a nice signature feature.

You define your signature in PDF Expert, and then you can drop it in a PDF. You can also add an image as a stamp and use that.

PDF Expert 5 Annotations

You can view a summary of all the markup you’ve made in the document, and you can send a “flattened” copy of the document which protects the annotations and ensures they are viewable on any device.

Edit and Manipulate PDFs

As mentioned earlier, you can merge multiple documents, and this works very well.

When you are viewing an individual PDF, you can work with the pages. When you tap the thumbnail button, you can delete pages, add a new page, and even copy and paste pages from another PDF.

If you want to split up a PDF into multiple documents, you can highlight and extract the pages you want as well.

PDF Expert 5

When you think about it, it is remarkable that you can edit a PDF to this level on a tablet.

PDF Expert 5

As you can imagine, I have many, many PDF apps on my devices. When I want to read, mark up, and manipulate documents, more often than not I find myself using PDF Expert 5 by Readdle. It’s $9.99 on the app store, and if you work with a lot of PDF documents on your iPad, it may be worth it to you too.

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Password Protect Files and Folders In GoodReader

GoodReaderThe iOS app GoodReader is great for working with all sorts of files on the iPad and iPhone.

You can create a startup password, but you can also create an extra password to protect extra-sensitive files and folders. This video shows how to set that up.

View the video below, or click here to watch it on YouTube. If you are able to, I recommend that you watch it with HD turned on.

This video on password protecting files and folders in GoodReader is part of a series of quick videos on paperless tips and topics. View more in the series here.

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Google Cloud Print

Create A PDF From A Web Page Or E-Mail On A Mobile Device Using Google Cloud Print

Google Cloud PrintSo you are on your iPhone, iPad, or (I think?) Android device, and you want to save the web page or e-mail to PDF.

If you are using Google apps like the Google Chrome browser for iOS, or the Gmail app for iOS, Google makes this easy using their Google Cloud Print and Google Drive services.

(I assume this is all more built-in with Android, but my Android device is stuck on Gingerbread so I can’t test it properly).

I’ll show you how it works with Chrome, but it is similar in the Gmail app.

Let’s say I am viewing a web page, and I want to save it to PDF. I tap on the little menu icon up near the top.

Google Chrome Menu

Google Chrome Menu

I then choose the Print option. I could send this to a printer, but obviously I cannot condone such behavior.

Google Chrome Print

Google Chrome Print

I then choose Google Cloud Print, as that is what will be doing all the work.

Google Cloud Print

Google Cloud Print

From there, if I had printers and other devices set up I could send to those, but in our case I want to choose Google Drive so that it will save it as a PDF.

Save To Google Drive

Save To Google Drive

After I choose this, I hit Save on the next screen.

In a few seconds, voila. The PDF appears both in my Google Drive account and, since I am running the Google Drive application on my computer, it magically appears on my computer.

Google Drive show PDF

Google Drive show PDF
Google Drive PDF Finder

Google Drive PDF Finder

If you live in the Google ecosystem, this Cloud Print feature can be really handy. How do you save PDFs on your mobile device?

(Photo by Reeda)

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Video: Extract A Page Out Of A PDF On The iPad Using PDFpen

PDFpen iPadThere are many, many ways to extract a page out of a PDF and create a new document from it.

The other day I was speaking at a conference, and an awesome DocumentSnap reader asked me a question. I think I surprised her when I pulled a page out of one of my existing documents and sent it to her right there at the table.

I used an app called PDFpen on my iPad to do this, but I could have done it on my iPhone as well.

This video shows you how I did it.

View the video below, or click here to watch it on YouTube. If you are able to, I recommend that you watch it with HD turned on.

This video on extracting a page from a PDF using PDFpen for iPad is part of a series of quick videos on paperless tips and topics. View more in the series here.

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Evermanic Creates Repeatable Evernote Note Profiles

EvermanicThere are lots of quick ways to capture notes to Evernote when you are on the go, but the problem is they are usually unstructured.

You can capture the notes quickly, but then later you need to name and possibly tag them.

I was recently contacted by the folks at Cloudmanic about their new tool Evermanic that promises to solve this: you can create repeatable templates for Evernote, and then use them to quickly create named, tagged notes on your mobile device going forward.

The Cloudmanic folks threw me a review copy of Evermanic so that I could check it out. At the moment it is iPhone only, but their site shows that the Android version is coming soon.

I can see an app like this being really handy for people who need to create the same type of notes over and over again when they are away from their computers.

Set Up Your Profiles

When starting up Evermanic for the first time, you are asked to sign in with a Cloudmanic account or create a new one. Why do you need a Cloudmanic account? To be honest, I am not exactly sure. I am guessing it is to support future integration with their other products, but it’d be nice if there was an option to just use Evermanic without an account.

With that out of the way, you create your first Profile.

Evermanic Get Started

Evermanic Get Started

When you create your Profile, you give it a name, then you give the notes a default Title, and then you assign the Notebook and Tags that this note should be given.

Evermanic Create Profile

Evermanic Create Profile

One minor nitpick: it doesn’t seem as if you can create tags when you are creating a Profile. It’d be nice to have that ability to go beyond your existing tags.

Create Notes

Once you have a Profile (or Profiles) set up, and for subsequent launches, you are presented with a screen to choose your Profile and choose which type of note that you want to create: Text, Audio, or Photo.

Evermanic Choose Profile

Evermanic Choose Profile

Let’s create a Text note. Once you choose your Profile and you tap the type of note that you want to create, you can type your note and customize the title (In this example I have typed - 1234 Wark St. at the end of the existing Property Inspection title from my Profile.

You can not choose the Notebook or modify the Tags. Those are coming from your Profile.

Evermanic Create Note

Evermanic Create Note

When your note is created, it is uploaded to your Evernote account, tagged and titled.

Here’s what that note looks like in Evernote.

Evermanic Evernote Note

Evermanic Evernote Note

Here’s a Photo note. Since I used the same Profile, it is tagged and titled appropriately.

Evermanic Photo Note

Evermanic Photo Note

Issues And Suggestions

I think that Evermanic is a nice first version of an app that many people will find handy.

I did come across one possible showstopper issue. Remember how you are able to create three types of notes: Text, Audio, and Photo? For some reason, Photo notes did not work for me. I tried it at home on my wi-fi and at Starbucks on 3G, and the note seemed to upload but never actually appeared in Evernote. Very odd.

I don’t know if there is a bug or some sort of service issue. For me, this wouldn’t be a big deal because I would use this for text notes (which worked perfectly), but it is something to be aware of.

Update: This was a temporary server glitch. Photo notes now work for me.

Some suggestions for future releases:

  • It’d be nice if you could use Evermanic without needing a Cloudmanic account, unless there is a really compelling reason to need one.
  • It’d be nice to be able to create templates for the note contents themselves when creating a Profile. For example, you might be creating a Support ticket and want to have “Problem: Steps To Replicate: Resolution:” pre-populated in the note.
  • To be super useful, the delineation between “Text” and “Photo” notes could be eliminated. In my Property Inspection example, someone would want to be able to create a Text note, but then would want to be able to attach photos.
  • When creating a note, it’d be nice to have the ability to add additional tags. For example, you might want to have a Profile pre-populated with Tags to be applied to all instances of a certain type of note, but then for individual notes you might want to be able to add a certain customer’s tag.

Who me, greedy?

Despite my suggestions, I think Evermanic fills a need and I look forward to seeing how it grows over time. At the time of writing it is $1.99.

What sort of Evernote templates could you see yourself creating?

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How To Back Up GoodReader

GoodReaderGoodReader is a great application for managing and working with PDFs (and many other types of files) on the iPad. It tends to be what I use.

A while ago, I did a little video showing how it works.

At Macworld this year, I had the great fortune to meet up with awesome DocumentSnap reader Donna and she told me about a time that she had to take her computer in to the Apple Store. After a strange chain of events, she ended up losing everything that she had stored in GoodReader on her iPad.

I still am not sure exactly how that could have happened, but I promised that I’d do a blog post about how to back up the documents stored in GoodReader.

As with everything, there are many ways to do this. Here are a few.

iCloud and iTunes Backup

If you have iOS 5 and later, you are in luck. Your GoodReader data may already be backed up for you with your regular iTunes or iCloud backup.

When/if you have your iPad plugged into your computer, check the Backups section in iTunes. There are 1,001 good reasons to make sure that your iPad is being backed up on a regular basis, and backing up your GoodReader data is one of them.

iPad Backup Settings

iPad Backup Settings

You can also control the iCloud backup settings from the iPad without involving your computer.

You may or may not know this, but you can actually control which applications are backing up to iCloud. Go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup > Manage Storage and then tap on your iPad. Wait a minute or so, and you’ll see what is backing up and how much storage is being eaten up.

iCloud Backup Settings

iCloud Backup Settings

If you can spare the storage, make sure GoodReader is On.

Beware The Downloads Folder

While it is true that GoodReader’s files should be backed up with your regular iPad backup, there is one important caveat.

Starting with iOS 5, there is a special folder in GoodReader called Downloads. Anything stored there is not backed up with the iTunes or iCloud backup.

This is a way to save space, but you will want to make sure that any files that are important to you and that you want backed up are not saved here.

GoodReader Download Folder

GoodReader Download Folder

GoodReader Settings

There are some GoodReader settings that can impact this as well. You are able to turn iCloud backup off from GoodReader, and you can stop it from using the Downloads folder by default altogether.

GoodReader Settings

GoodReader Settings

Copy To Dropbox or Other Service

If you don’t have iOS 5 or want to have a bit more control, one of the good things about GoodReader is that it can connect to a whole whack of cloud and local services.

You can automatically synchronize your documents with Dropbox for example, or upload them to an FTP server or a network share on some sort of regular basis.

Copy Manually Through iTunes

You can also use good old iTunes File Transfer. When your iPad is plugged into your computer, go to iTunes, then navigate to your iPad, then click on the Apps tab. Scroll down to the bottom, and you will see the File Sharing section.

Click on GoodReader on the left, and you will see your folders and files. You can then download them to your computer without having to do it over the network.

GoodReader iTunes

GoodReader iTunes

So, if you run into a situation where you think your GoodReader documents are gone, you may have options. Just take a few minutes every once in a while to make sure that your backup settings are the way that you want them.

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