Why would I want to do that, you ask? Well, for one thing, I'm sick of Syriac displaying as square boxes : ) For another, now that Dropbox integrates with M$ Word—and you don't have to pay them a fee!—it would be nice to have the option to edit manuscripts containing Greek and Hebrew on the iPad.
But the iPad already displays Greek and Hebrew, you say. Indeed, it does. But, when I'm editing, one of the things I need to do is make sure that the Greek and Hebrew are in the proper font. In most cases, that is SBL Greek or SBL Hebrew. Neither of those are included in the iPad's default fonts.
By now you are probably wondering how to do it, right? I've whet your appetite by giving you good reasons and you're sick of my delaying. Well...
Last night I did a handy-dandy Google search for "adding fonts to an iPad." The first hit was the Mac Observer from last June. He recommended a little app for $1.99. So, I went off to the App Store and did a search for it. Low and behold, there was also a free app called iFont that seemed to do the same thing. (Note: you need to look for iPhone apps to see it; for some reason it doesn't show up under iPad searches.) I figured I'd give it a try.
iFont allows you to access the desired fonts in various ways, but for me the easiest was Dropbox. I opened up Font Book on my MacBook, copied the desired fonts over to Dropbox, and waited for them to synchronize. Then I opened up Dropbox on my iPad, found the first font, SBL Hebrew, clicked on it, chose Open in, and then selected iFont (it was the first option). I clicked User Fonts, and there it was, listed as uninstalled. I clicked on install and wham! I was sent through a dizzying array of apps opening and switching until I was in Settings. OK, that's an exaggeration, but it seemed that way...I don't remember what else I did, but it was very straightforward. When I got back to iFont, it listed the font as installed. I repeated the procedure for SBL Greek and Estrangelo Edessa (Syriac).
Now for the test...I switched back to Dropbox and clicked on Final_Corrections_HBCE_Proverbs.doc. This file is loaded with Greek, Hebrew, and Syriac. Bummer! The text in Dropbox didn't show the Syriac font. Well, let's see what it looks like in Word. Hey! It's there! Sweet! The Syriac displayed correctly! I checked the font on the Greek and Hebrew. Sure enough, it was correct. Even better, I didn't get the notice at the beginning saying that the requested fonts weren't available.
So, now I can edit on the iPad. I'm not sure how much I will—I usually have too many windows open on too many desktops for the poor iPad—but it is nice to have an alternative. I can see using it for quick changes, too. By the way, about 6 months ago I bought a great keyboard for the iPad, the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. I had been eyeing it for some time, but there was no way I would pay $100! But one day I saw it for $25.00—now that was a price I could justify. So, I ordered it and have been using it ever since. I've only had to charge it once, so it's easy on the battery life. Highly recommended. And it makes the iPad look like a small MacBook Pro with the metal casing on the keyboard.