Using URL Schemes with PDFpen for iPad and PDFpen for iPhone

The desire for Automation in the iOS-sphere by hungry power users is strong. To feed your hunger, several months ago we added support for custom URL schemes to PDFpen for iPad and PDFpen for iPhone

If you are not familiar, a URL scheme allows an action in an app on your iPhone from within another app. It’s what allows you to tap on a street address on a website, or in an email, and have the Maps app open and show you that address. If you are interested in learning more, there’s a nice intro article over at MacStories on automating Drafts.

What does this mean in terms of PDFpen on iOS? As part of some URL action, you can open a specific document you have in PDFpen, or even open to a specific page. This means you can open documents in Dropbox too, since PDFpen allows you to sync specific Dropbox folders.

Here are the details you need to use PDFpen’s custom URL scheme.

Open the PDFpen app.


Open a document, named “Panther”, stored locally in the main Documents view.

  • Three slashes /// are used for locally stored files.
  • The file name is case sensitive.
  • A file extension is needed along with the file name. This will usually be “.pdf”.
  • When used with an invalid file name this will just open the app.

Open a document, named “Panther,” to a specific page, page 3.

  • Append “?pg=” and the page number.

Open a document, named “Leopard”, stored locally in a folder named “Big Cats.”


Open a document, named “Grey Wolf,” in a Dropbox synced folder named “Wolves.”

  • Use two slashes // with files not stored locally.

For sub-folders, extend the file path to include them.


We hope the PDFpen URL scheme helps bring a new level of power to your iOS automation efforts. If you have a clever workflow you’d like to share, please write us and let us know.