3 Amazingly Useful iPad Tips for Lawyers

3 Amazingly Useful iPad Tips for Lawyers

Today I want to share 3 amazingly useful tips that will make you an iPad iWizard!

I call these “practical productivity tips” because they will be so helpful in how you incorporate your iPad into your practice every day.

And if you like these 3 tips, then stayed tuned at the end for a brief announcement about a new course I’m launching called iPractice on an iPad.

But first … the TIPS!!

Tip #1: Close Your Eyes and Let Your iPad Read To You!

Do you ever get tired of staring at a screen, but you gotta read through some documents? Just sit back and relax, close your eyes, and let your iPad read to you.

This is called “Speak Selection” and it’s part of the superb accessibility features in iOS.

You’ll need to turn it on first by going to Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech, and turn on “Speak Selection.”

Now pick a voice that tickles your fancy – male or female and a variety of accents (some you may have to download). Lately I’ve been keen on Kate (enhanced) from the UK, but Tessa from South Africa is also delightful.

I also like to turn on “Highlight Content” so that words are highlighted as Kate reads them to me, but if you plan to close your eyes I guess this doesn’t matter too much.

You should also play with the “Speaking Rate” slider to test out the voice you selected and how fast you want it to read. Keep it slow if you’re just starting out, you can always go to chipmunk speed later.

Now go to an e-mail, or a web page, or a document, and simply select some text.

In the secondary, pop-up menu you should now see a “Speak” option. Tap “Speak” and the iPad will commence to read the text you’ve selected.

If you want to change the speed of the “Speaking Rate,” you’ll need to go all the way back into Settings, but I’ve got another quick tip for you on this.

If you turn on “Speak Screen,” you can swipe down from the top of the screen with two fingers and the iPad will start reading the page. A small pop-up control panel offers controls right on the screen … including the “Speaking Rate.”

The controls auto-hide themselves after a while and just tap the arrow to bring them out again.

The “Speak Screen” feature is great, but sometimes it will literally read EVERYTHING on the screen. On a web page, for example, it will read the whole menu at the top – which is great if you don’t have the sense of sight.

But you can tap that little “fast-forward” button on the control panel to jump ahead to sections of text. Or just go back to selecting text for the iPad to read.

Oh, one more quick tip – if you’re in Safari, go into “Reader Mode” (the little paragraph button up in the URL box). This gets rid of all the menus, and ads, and other junk on the page. The “Speak Screen” features works even better here.

Tip #2: Paste the Formatting, NOT the Text!

I know many of you use the Microsoft Word app on your iPad so I wanted to include a great tip for Word. This should work even if you don’t have a subscription to Office 365.

Most of you know how to copy text on the iPad – you tap and hold on a word (or you can use the two-finger trackpad tip to select the text), and you can move those little dots to select the text that you want.

Then you simply tap in another location to paste the text somewhere else.

But let’s say you don’t care about the text, and instead would like to copy the FORMATTING from one section of text to another section.

You go through the exact same motions to select and copy text – sub-tip here: you can tap with one finger 3 times to select an entire paragraph. Now you tap the same “Copy” button.

Next go select a sentence or paragraph that you want to LOOK the SAME as the paragraph you just copied. But instead of hitting the “Paste” button (which would copy the TEXT), tap the “Paste Format” button. Your text won’t change, but the formatting will mirror the section of text that you Copied.

This only works in Microsoft Word, but it can be an incredible time-saver when you’re editing a document.

Tip #3: Easy-Peasy “Print” to PDF on the iPad

Some of you may know the trick on your iPhone 6s or iPhone 7/7+ where you can use Force Touch / 3D Touch to create a PDF. And even though we don’t have 3D Touch on the iPad (yet!) this trick is still possible – and it’s so incredibly easy.

Let’s say you want to create a PDF of an e-mail you received. You make like you’re going to PRINT the message (which is under the “Reply” arrow), but instead of selecting a Printer, place your thumb & finger on the Print Preview and spread them apart, or zoom-out, or pinch-out.

And behold what wizardry do you see before your very eyes!! – it turns into a PDF file!!

Now you can use the “Share menu” in the upper right corner to upload this PDF file to Dropbox, or Open it in another app like PDF Expert so you can highlight text.

Or let’s say you want to convert a web page into a PDF. Use the “Share menu” to “Print” it, zoom-out on the Print Preview, and you have a PDF!! (Again, going into the Reader Mode in Safari gives you a cleaner PDF without all the ads and junk.)

Now you could attach this to an e-mail message to send to a colleague or client, or upload to OneDrive.

You can do this from the Notes app, or virtually any app where you have the ability to “Print.” It’s even a good way to quickly export a note from Evernote to PDF.

I’ve long used apps like PDF PROvider and PDF Converter to convert files and text to PDF, and I still use those apps from time to time for their additional features.

But this easy, BUILT-IN to iOS, “Print to PDF” option is so incredibly handy!

iPractice on an iPad Course

If you found these tips helpful, then you’ll learn even MORE in my iPractice on an iPad course.

It’s August 2017 right now, and I’m finishing up the content for the course, which should be done in a couple of weeks.

But you can pre-order the course RIGHT NOW and save some money. All the information is at www.ipracticeonanipad.com. All one word – www.ipracticeonanipad.com.

Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for watching and Happy iPad!


  1. Neil Squillante - August 7, 2017 4:13 pm

    Nice! Regarding Tip 1, even better is Instapaper, which is free. Sending an article to Instapaper strips everything except the article. You can create playlists with several articles. Press play and listen while your hands are otherwise occupied.

    • Brett Burney - August 7, 2017 4:35 pm

      Fantastic tip Neil! Thank you! I used Instapaper way back in the day, and more recently on Pocket, but either way that’s a terrific tip to strip away all the junk. Thanks!

  2. Cindy Perusse - August 23, 2017 6:24 pm

    Great tips! I would have never figured that out by myself.

    • Brett Burney - August 23, 2017 6:29 pm

      Thank you Cindy! I’m glad you found them helpful! Let me know if you’d like to see anything else along these lines. Thanks again.

  3. John Upton - September 11, 2017 9:12 am

    Brett: Just got an iPad Pro and can’t wait to try these tips, particularly #1 and #3. Was actually wondering what was the best way save something from a web page, not to mention the best way to read with my eyes closed! So thank you.

    • Brett Burney - September 11, 2017 10:24 am

      Hi John thanks for your comment and I’m obviously thrilled that you found the tips helpful! I mentioned in tip #3 that I sometimes will use an app like PDF Converter or PDF PROvider to convert a web page to PDF, but the “print to PDF” tip is so much easier! And don’t forget to try the tip by going into the “Reader” mode in Safari so that you get a “cleaner” PDF without all the ads and stuff. Thanks again John!

  4. John Upton - September 11, 2017 10:18 am

    One more thing-for those using the Chrome browser on their desktops/laptops, there is an extension from a company called Noosfeer which puts webpages in a reading list which then allows them to be read on any device using Chrome, including iPads.

    Going to take a look at the Instapaper option.

    • Brett Burney - September 11, 2017 10:27 am

      Nice tip on Noosfeer John, thank you – I had not heard about that option before. It’s at http://www.noosfeer.com for anyone that wants to check it out.

      I’ve used Instapaper (www.instapaper.com) in the past which is great, but today I mostly use Pocket today (www.getpocket.com) which both look similar to Noosfeer.

      Thanks again John!

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