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Help: Folders

With PDFpen you can organize your documents using folders. Folder stored locally, those in Documents view, can only be one folder deep. Synchronized folders, those stored in Dropbox, can be multiple folders deep.

Create a Folder

  1. From documents view tap “Edit” in the upper right.
  2. Tap a document you want to place in a folder to select it.
  3. Tap down and drag that document on top of another document you want to file it with. When you release, a new untitled folder is created containing both documents. You can rename that folder by tapping its name.

Navigating in and out of Folders

  1. Tap on a folder to open it.
  2. To navigate back to Documents, tap the folder name or icon in the toolbar. A menu appears showing “Documents”. Tap “Documents”.

Copying Documents in and out of Folders

Move a document into a folder:

  1. Tap “Edit” in the upper right.
  2. Tap the document you wish to move into an existing folder to select it.
  3. Tap down and drag that document on top of the folder you wish to move it to.
    Tip: Drag more than one document at a time by tapping and selecting multiple documents prior to dragging.

Move a document out of a folder, and into documents View:

  1. Open the folder with your document and tap “Edit” in the upper right.
  2. Tap the document you wish to move back to documents view to select it.
  3. Tap down and drag that document into the folder name or icon in the toolbar. A menu appears showing “Documents”. Drag the document onto “Documents” in the menu.

Note: PDFpen does not allow empty folders, if you empty out a folder by deleting documents, or moving them all into Documents, PDFpen will automatically remove the folder, and display Documents.

Documents view only supports folders one level deep, you cannot create a folder within a folder.

move folder

Linked PDFs

This folder contains documents stored in supported cloud folders for quick access. In comparison, an imported PDF is a copy of the original that can be edited. That copy can then be exported. The files in the Linked PDFs folder are linked to the original documents. These documents will be updated (synced) with the originals only when that document is opened or closed. In comparison, a document in a Sync Folder may sync and update at any time, even while that document is open for editing in PDFpen.
To date, not all popular cloud services support this feature.

Create a linked PDF:

  1. From Documents view, tap Documents in the menu bar and tap Linked PDFs to open that folder.
  2. Tap “+” in the upper left.
  3. Tap the sync service your PDF is stored in, then login with your user name and password. If you do not see your service, tap More and switch on that service. If you cannot find your service in the More list, it is either not an app installed on your device, or that service does not support this feature yet.
  4. Once you open your sync service folder, locate your document and tap on it to place it in your Linked PDFs folder.

Synchronized Folders with Dropbox

With PDFpen you can use your Dropbox account as a synchronized service with documents stored in the cloud.

Add a Synchronized Folder

  1. Tap “Documents,” or the folder title or icon presently displayed in the navigation bar. A menu appears.
  2. Tap “Edit Sync Folders.” Follow the prompt to choose a sync service and login.
  3. Navigate the following dialog and select a folder for synchronizing. When you’ve found the folder, tap “+ Sync Folder.”

    PDFpen begins to sync the contents of the folder depending on your settings (see below).
    To navigate between folders see Navigating between a Synchronized Folder and Documents below.

Only PDF documents in a Sync folder show in PDFpen. Documents that are not PDFs are not listed. A folder that contains no PDF documents will appear to be empty.

By default none of the documents from the cloud actually download unless you tap one to open it, which prompts a download, or enable the setting to sync automatically (see below).

The Sync Menu

sync menu

When a synchronized folder is showing, the sync icon appears as a double rounded arrow in the upper right toolbar area. The icon animates while transferring data. When it is tapped a menu appears with two options:

  • Synchronize changes
    Download or upload any documents that have changed. This only applies to documents you’ve already downloaded.
  • Download all
    Download all documents in the current folder and subfolders that have not already been downloaded. The latest edits made locally are uploaded.

Settings for Synchronization

Set folders to sync automatically:

  1. Open “Tools” > “Settings” > “Dropbox.”
  2. Switch on “Automatically Sync.”

Turned On:
All the folder's documents download to the device automatically. This means…

  • Syncing requires very little input from the user, and rare manual prompting
  • A local copy of every document is always available


  • All the document data in the cloud is copied to the device, taking up equal space in both places
  • Bandwidth is used to transfer all the data

Therefore “Automatically Sync” is switched off by default. The Sync server is checked for changes every 5 minutes. Prompt a sync by tapping “Download All” from the sync button menu in the toolbar.

Turned Off:
All syncing requires a tap of the sync icon in the toolbar. This means…

  • Very little bandwidth is used, and only when prompted


  • Documents are not stored locally unless the sync button is tapped

A document that has not been downloaded appears with a downward pointing arrow on the upper right of its thumbnail. A document with changes not yet uploaded appears with an upward pointing arrow on the upper right of its thumbnail.

Navigating in and out of Synchronized Folders

  1. Tap the folder title or icon in the navigation bar, and a menu appears.
  2. From the drop down menu of available folders and documents view tap one.

Copying Documents in and out of Sync Folders

Documents can be copied to and from a synchronized folder and Documents view, but not moved.

  1. Tap “Edit” in the upper right.
  2. Tap a document to select it.
  3. Tap down and drag that document to the icon in the toolbar and when the drop down menu with other parent and synchronized folders appears, drop it onto a folder name.



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