Three ways to save web pages as read-later PDFs on iOS

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A metaphorical view of my badly-organized PDFs
A metaphorical view of my badly-organized PDFs
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

With the demise of Instapaper — in Europe at least — you may be looking for a good way to save web pages for offline reading. The obvious built-in tool for this is Safari’s Reading list, but it’s very limited. Instead, consider turning the web page into a PDF. This lets you read the page anywhere, as well as mark it up with highlights, and search its entire content using Spotlight.

The thing is, there are three different way to save a webpage as a PDF, all of them built-in to iOS. Let’s take a look at how to use them, what the differences are, and which one is best for you.

The best Apple Pencil apps that aren’t for drawing

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apple-pencil-jar
Don't leave your Apple Pencil in the jar.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You have a new iPad, and you have a new Apple Pencil. Time to learn how to draw, right? Not necessarily. Just like a regular pen or pencil, there are ton of other things you can do with an Apple Pencil. You can write, of course, but you can also play games, compose musical scores, do coloring in books, edit photos, and even play the Apple Pencil like a musical instrument.

Let’s take a look at the best non-drawing apps for Apple Pencil.

How to add sketches and diagrams to emails in iOS 11

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Drawing
If you misspell your markups, you can even go back and edit them before sending.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel / Cult of Mac

If you’re explaining something to another human in person, you’ll often reach for a pencil and paper to make it easier. Perhaps you’re drawing a map, or a quick diagram of that chest of drawers you think would look great in the guest room.

And that’s in person, where gestures and feedback from the listener help communication. Given the limits of email, then, wouldn’t a sketch, chart, or diagram be even more useful? The answer is a resounding “probably,” and the best news you’ll hear today is that it is dead easy to add a drawing to your emails, even without an Apple pencil, and even on an iPhone.

How to find the hidden printing options in Preview app

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Printing a PDF isn't what it used to be.
Printing a PDF isn't what it used to be.
Photo: Thad Zajdowicz/Flickr CC

Today’s tip is a simple one which might help some of you from going nuts trying to find hidden pricing options on your Mac. Did you ever try to print a PDF in Safari? Usually when you click on a PDF link in the browser, Safari opens it up right there. This seems great if you want to quickly print the PDF, but you should stop right there. Safari’s printing sheet, the one that opens up when you hit Command-P to print, is a cut down version of the regular one.

Even worse, the missing features are exactly the ones you’ll want to use if printing a PDF — especially if you’re printing tickets, or boarding passes.

How to print anything to PDF without touching a mouse

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print to pdf
Printing is so easy now that you don't even need paper any more.
Photo: Cult of Mac

One of the neatest tricks built into the Mac, and now into iOS, is to print to PDF. In short, anything that can be printed can also be saved as a PDF. But doing so on the Mac means using the mouse to click a little drop-down picker in the print dialog. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just tap Command-P — the keyboard shortcut for printing — twice instead?

How to drag-and-drop content between Readdle’s iPad apps

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drag-and-drop readdle iapd
You'll wonder how you ever used your backwards iPad without inter-app drag-and-drop.
Photo: Cult of Mac

If you want to get an idea of how drag-and-drop could work on the iPad, then take a look at Readdle’s latest updates to its iOS productivity apps, which now allow you to drag files between the apps in split-screen view. That’s right, thanks to some very clever hacking, you can seamlessly drag a PDF, photo, or other document, from one app to another. For instance, you can drag scans from Scanner Pro to an email you’re composing in Spark, or you can take an attachment from Spark and drag it into a folder to save in Documents. Let’s take a look at how to do it. Spoiler: it’s pretty easy.

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pdf expert term paper
PDF Expert isn't just a view. It's a great way to create documents, too.
Photo: Readdle

Scan text with your iPhone and make the real world searchable

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scanner pro in action
Scanning with your iPhone is almost as quick as taking a photo, and way more useful down the line.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Paper is still great for a lot of things. It’s lightweight, it’s fairly water-resistant, and is just about the best tool available for reducing the number of trees in the world. But it doesn’t sync with iCloud, and anything written on it is not searchable.

Luckily, there’s an easy way out of this dark age. You can scan all those clipped recipes, and those receipts, all those sheets and scraps you have laying around, and which annoy you until you ned one, at which point it disappears. Today, we’re going to use Readdle’s excellent Scanner Pro to turn your paper into pixels. You may be surprised at just how easy and useful this can be.

Shrink PDFs without losing quality for easy emailing, with ColorSync Utility

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colorsync-banner
You probably never even noticed ColorSync Utility was on your Mac, but if you work with PDFs, it may turn out to be the most useful app you have.
Photo: Cult of Mac

PDFs are fantastic. If you send somebody a PDF, you know it will look exactly the same on their computer as it does on yours. Same if you print it. But if your PDF contains a lot of images, it can quickly swell to an impractical size, making email impossible. Today we’re going to find out how to shrink that huge PDF dramatically, while making almost no difference in quality to the images therein. And we’ll do it using an app that’s already on your Mac, hidden in the Utilities folder: ColorSync Utility.

Use Apple Pencil to mark up PDFs in Mail app

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PDF-markup-in-mail
Fixing up a PDF in Mail is way easier than you might think.
Screenshot: Cult of Mac

Today we’ll learn how to open and edit a PDF right in the iOS Mail app, and then send it on its way, all without opening any extra apps. Given that a lot of PDFs we receive are documents that need to be checked over, or signed, and then returned, this tip is a real time-saver.

Instead of waiting until you get back to your Mac, you can take care of things right from your iPhone.