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Available from the App store for free


Books is provided free on the iPad. It may be suitable for some candidates for viewing and reading a question-only DQP, but there are diffifulties with typing into answer boxes, so it's not the best for question-and-answer papers. SQA Digital Exams on iPad has more detail about using Books for digital papers.

1. Opening papers

Copy the DQP into a 'cloud file storage' solution such as OneDrive or Google Drive; go to the app on the iPad, find the paper and open it in Books.

2. Viewing the paper

Pinch to zoom in or out, or double-tap on a page to have it fill the screen width. The PDF papers are not reflowed when you zoom in and so if you need a very large font, you will probably have to scroll the paper around to read it.

You can't change the colours in the app - use the iPad Invert Colours or Colour Filters

Viewing several PDFs at the same time in Books is not possible, so it's not a good option for reading a DQP and typing into a PDF answer booklet - you'd want to read the paper in Books and type answers in a word processor.

3. Navigate around the paper

  • Turn pages: tap or flick at the left or right edge of the screen.
  • Table of contents: tap the Bullet List in the top left then the Bullet List button to see the index of questions.
  • Page thumbnails: tap the Bullet List in the top left then the Grid button.
  • Go to a specific page: tap near the centre to show the controls. Tap the page navigation slider at the bottom to go to the page you want.
  • Search: tap the magnifying glass to search for a word or page number.
  • Bookmarks: tap the ribbon to add a bookmark. This could be helpful to mark a paragraph or a question. Tape the bookmark to remove it.

4. Reading with text-to-speech

  1. Set up the built-in iPad Spoken Content tools, select the text to be read, then tap 'Speak'.
  2. Avoid the iPad 'Speak Screen' and 'VoiceOver' tools - the text is often not read out in the correct order.

5. Typing into answer boxes

You can type into answer boxes but there are a few irritations which means it's not really viable.

When using a hardware keyboard, hitting the space bar will move you to the next page, which isn't exactly helpful.

You can't just tap to place the text caret for editing your text and I couldn't find a way to use a mouse either. You can use the trackpad mode to move the caret and select text though, but requires the touch keyboard and so you lose half the screen area. 

6. Drawing, comments and annotation tools

Books has good drawing and annotation tools and the iPad ruler is useful for drawing straight lines at accurate angles. Tap the Pen button in the top right to open the drawing toolbar.