WOiP Tip – Reduce PDFs For Quicker Access

On October 31, 2008

Here is a little tip that I am finding rather useful.

The proliferation of apps such as Briefcase, AirSharing, and A.I. Disk (just to name a few of this growing genre), make storing files directly on an iPhone or iPod Touch, or accessing them remotely, incredibly simple. Add to that the fact that Evernote now allows off-line storage, and the number of choices for storing and accessing files on the handhelds is huge.

Over the past year I have been moving toward a "paperless" work-style. Most of my important documents and text are now in electronic format – most of the time PDF. As a result, I can literally have an entire reference library with me at all times on either my iPhone or iPod Touch. Unfortunately, PDFs can be huge, and that is where the problem begins.

The handhelds seem to be able to handle rather large files but, unfortunately, they can take a long time to load. Try to resize them and you end up waiting a long time. Moreover, flipping from one page to the next is at best, a slow process.

That’s where the tip comes in…

Shrink PDFs!

Most PDF programs offer the option to shrink PDFs. Unfortunately, the quality is often rather poor. Apago’s PDFShrink for the Mac, however, offers a huge degree of control over the compression and quality. After a bit of experimenting I found a setting that provided excellent compression but maintained the high degree of image quality that I want when reading documents. A 7MB PFD files was reduced to just 1MB. The result? It loads super fast on my iPhone and, once loaded, is much easier, faster and stable when resizing or flipping pages.

The software costs $35 and while other solutions might be cheaper, the degree of control over the process provided by the software can’t be beat.

I was so happy with the initial results that I am in the process of shrinking my entire library of PDFs. When that is done I will start doing the same thing with those files already stored in Evernote.

It works incredibly well. If you are using your iPhone or iPod Touch for storing and viewing documents I strongly recommend looking into it.