How to Get Text Files on an iPad


Getting any file type onto an iPad requires a different approach from computer file management. The iPad has no disk drives or ability to support USB drives, so you must transfer your documents through the Internet or iTunes. Emailing simple text files to yourself is a good way for small single-file transfers, but if you need more than that, you will need to get the right apps on your iPad to allow cloud file storage and transfer or USB syncing from your computer.

Things You'll Need

  • iPad sync cable
  • Computer

iTunes Sync

  • Browse the App Store on your iPad and choose an app to use for your text-file needs. The iPad's native software supports viewing many types of text files, including plain text, rich text and Word documents. However, these files are read-only and have no folder-style file management to organize them. Look for an app that has folder management and iTunes file transfer support.

  • Download and install the app onto your iPad.

  • Plug your iPad's sync cable into the iPad and into the computer where the text files are stored.

  • Launch iTunes on the computer and wait for it to recognize your iPad.

  • Click your iPad under the "Devices" menu in iTunes and then choose "Apps" and move down until you see the file-sharing area on the screen.

  • Click the app you downloaded for your text files where it appears in the file-sharing area, not in the main app listings. A file area will appear next to it.

  • Drag and drop your text files into the file area in iTunes. Click "Apply" and then "Sync" -- or just "Sync," if that option is available -- after all files are in the sharing area. Allow your iPad to fully sync with the computer and then disconnect it and open your text-file app. Your text files will be stored within this app on the iPad.

Cloud Transfer

  • Sign up for any reputable cloud sharing service on your computer after you make sure the iPad supports that service by checking the App Store for a companion app. Supported services include iDisk, Dropbox, and SugarSync.

  • Load your text files into the cloud sharing service interface on your computer. This usually requires only a simple drag and drop. Organize the files within your sharing pane on the computer the same way you want them to appear on your iPad. For example, create folders and organize your documents into these folders. Some sharing services allow file organization from the iPad app, but others do not, so it is easiest to start with the files organized.

  • Download your sharing service's iPad app onto your iPad. These are generally free in the App Store.

  • Launch the app and sign in to your account through the app after it installs, using the same user name and password you used on your computer. All of the text files you loaded into the sharing service are accessible through the iPad interface.

  • Tap a text file within the app to open it in preview mode. In the preview pane, tap the "Send/Share" button in the upper-right corner and choose an app to send the file to for further reading and editing if you want to work with it beyond simply reading the text. Any app compatible with your text file type (.txt, .rtf, .doc, etc.) will appear in the options list for opening the file.

Tips & Warnings

  • Choose a text-file editing app that supports the cloud service you use, if possible. This allows you to keep all files in the cloud so the versions on your iPad and computer sync up each time you update the file.

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