Digitizing Your Paper Manuals

Trying to go paperless here. While I can definitely see the prize to be won, I am finding the process quite cumbersome. It has been made more difficult by the unanticipated rupture of a main water line and unwanted intrusion of a great deal of water into my basement office where Scan Central previously was located. While I struggle with insurance adjusters (nothing like being on the other side of the fence), my scanning project has hit “hold” status.

So, I of course was attracted to an article over at Apartment Therapy about finding and saving product manuals into the iPad-friendly iBooks format. This is a very cool process that doesn’t require a scanner.

If you have ever lost a manual and needed to recover it, you probably are familiar with the process of searching for the manual online in your favorite search engine of choice. For the most part, I have been successful in finding the manuals I have needed. Expand that effort to include all manuals you may someday need (take a look at that bursting at the seams paper manual file for a decent start on your list). Search, find and download. Then toss the paper.

Open iTunes, hit the File Menu and select Add To Library. Find the documents you have downloaded and select them. Grab the iPad and connect it – make sure you have books selected to sync and check all those manuals you captured. After they hit the iPad, slot them all into a Collection / Category within iBooks on the iPad itself. After you organize within iBooks, sync again and that organization will transfer back into iTunes for easy filing and reference. Because they are already saved on the desktop, you need not keep them all in iBooks, but they are there and available if you want to shift them on or off the iPad for ease of use. And, because I am a search-head, digitizing this way makes it easy to jump right to the section you want with a keyword and a click.

Voila! Instant manual order. Thanks, Apartment Therapy.

From eBook to iBook

With an iPad equipped with iBooks (or iPhone with iOS4), I have wondered – how do I get run-of-the-mill variety PDFs and eBooks into iBooks. MakeUseOf has answered my unspoken call to action. Check out their primer (link here) on how to drop or convert ePub and PDF eBooks into an iBook-friendly format. They cover the topic beautifully with screenshots, so that even a dummy like me can do it. Points of interest from the article:

  • If you already have lots of ebooks or PDF formatted material already, you can drag and drop them into the Books tab in the left column of iTunes.
  • You can convert your other digital literature materials into ePub or PDF so that you can put them in the library.
  • Buy books from the iBooks store (see the “store” link in iBooks on your iDevice). Find free ones by typing “free” into the search box in the store.
  • Load PDFs attached to emails into iBooks by tapping on the PDF attachment, selecting “open in iBooks” along the top of the open attachment, and view it there.

Great tips to get you started on your iBookshelf.