WebShelf Help

Help Topics

Getting Started

WebShelf lets you collect information into your own personal Library. Libraries can have one or more Shelves, which are shown in the Bookcase. When you select a shelf by touching it the shelf's current Books are displayed in the Bookshelf. As you select books the first Page of each Book is displayed in the Page Display area.

The first time you run WebShelf it creates a new library for you entitled MyLibrary. Note: The Shelf Tools section below describes how you can change the name of this new library to a name you prefer. The initial library consists of one shelf and one book. You can use the tools described below to add shelves and books as you desire. The following sections walk you through how each of these tools work.

Context Sensitive Help

All of the WebShelf main screens have a ? button located in either the title or tool area (main screen). You can press this button on most of the screens to launch an on-page tutorial describing each available screen option. The first time you run WebShelf each screen automatically presents this guide to help familiarize you with the screen. Click on any of the animated dots to display an information window describing how a particular item is used. When you've finished with the tutorial press Done at the bottom of the screen to exit to the normal screen.

Main Screen

The WebShelf main screen consists of several areas: on the left side is the Bookcase, which holds Shelves in your current Library. At the top is a Bookshelf which displays all of the books for the selected bookcase shelf. The title of the current library is displayed at the top of the bookcase. To the right of the bookcase is the Page Display area which shows the current page from the currently open book. Each of these items are described in the sections that follow.



The Bookcase displays one or more shelves from your library. When you initially start WebShelf it creates a new library containing one shelf, with a default title. Please refer to the Bookcase Tools section below to learn more about how you can rename this new shelf.

Arranging Shelves

The bookcase displays shelves in the order they were added. But, you can rearrange this order any way you'd like by long-pressing on a shelf until the tracker symbol appears then dragging the selected shelf up or down the bookcase until you reach the desired location.

Bookcase tools

Bookcase Tools

Bookcase Tools

The Bookcase Tools allow you to Add, Remove or Edit bookcase shelves. The Search tool allows you to search for matching page description in all of the pages in your library. The Library Management tool allows you to Add, Remove, Edit, Lock/Unlock and Open libraries. The Settings tool allows you to configure various app defaults.

Adding a new shelf

Choose the add shelf (plus) tool to add a new shelf to your bookcase. You can name the shelf anything you'd like. When you're satisfied with the name you've chosen press OK.

Removing a shelf

Choose the remove shelf (minus) tool to remove the current shelf. You're asked to confirm your decision then the shelf is removed from your bookcase, along with all of its associated books and pages. Keep in mind this action cannot be undone and you're removing all of the books and pages you've added to the shelf. Choose this action carefully.

Editing/Renaming a shelf

Choose the edit tool (pencil) to edit the name of the currently selected shelf. Once you're satisfied with the name press OK to update the shelf in the bookcase.

Searching books

Choose the search tool (magnifying glass) to find pages across your entire library that match the page descriptions you specify. If any matching pages are found you're presented with this list and you can select the desire page simply by touching an entry. The corresponding book and page are automatically loaded.

Managing libraries

Choose the library tool (library building) to manage your libraries. This screen allows you to create a new library, open another library, rename your current library, delete a library, password protect a library or get general information about a library such as its size, number of shelves, books and pages. Refer to the Manage Libraries screen section for further details.


Choose the settings tool (gear) to change general behavior of WebShelf, such as whether to load your previous library each time it starts. Please refer to the Settings Screen section for additional details.

Open last library on launch

Choose this setting option to automatically load the last library you were working with each time WebShelf starts up. Keep in mind that if your library is locked (password protected), you're required to enter a valid password at startup, otherwise the Library Management screen is displayed to allow you to select a library.

Animate page turns

Choose this setting to enable/disable the page turn animation WebShelf shows as you navigate through pages.

Default to offline pages

Choose this setting to determine the initial value of the Available offline switch on the Add Page screen.

Online help

Choose this to view this online help information.

Clear browser data

WebShelf uses a built-in browser to add new pages and to allow you to view your online pages. As you navigate web sites the built-in browser collects temporary (cached) information and cookies to allow you to easily navigate, remember your login information and so forth. This option allows you to remove the currently stored cookies and cached information. Note that this is essentially the same option as Safari's Manage Website Data under Preferences. But, WebShelf's option only clears data used by WebShelf's built-in browser.

Privacy policy

Choose this option to view WebShelf's privacy policy.

Version information

This displays the current version of WebShelf. Clicking on this information displays the Welcome Screen information presented the first time you start WebShelf.




The Bookshelf holds all of the books you create for the currently selected bookcase shelf. You can long-press on a book to drag it to a new location on the bookshelf, allowing the complete rearranging of books. The Bookshelf Tools described below are used to add, remove and edit books on the current bookshelf.

Arranging books

Books are placed on the bookshelf in the order they were added. But, WebShelf allows you to rearrange your bookshelf in any fashion you desire. To move a book to a new location simply long-press on a particular book until you see a tracker symbol appear, then drag the book to the desired location and release it.

Moving a book to a different shelf

You can also move a book to a different shelf by long-pressing a particular book (as described in Arranging Books above). Once the tracker symbol appears simply drag the book to the desired shelf in the Bookcase on the left side of the screen and release it. The shelf is selected, along with the book that you just moved.

Bookshelf Tools

Bookshelf Tools

Bookshelf Tools

The Bookshelf Tools allow you to Add new books, Remove the currently selected book or Edit the currently selected book to change its Title and Color.

Adding books

Choose the add book tool to add a new book to the current shelf. You can enter the book's title, as well as it's color. WebShelf picks a random color for each new book, but you can change this by selecting the color square to bring up the color selection screen. Once you're satisfied with the books information press Ok to add the new book.

New books are always added at the end of the current bookshelf. But, you can move them to the desired location by long-pressing and dragging. Please refer to Arranging Books for further details.

Removing books

Choose the remove book tool to remove the currently selected book. Please note this action is permanent and not only removes the current book, but also all of its associated pages. Use this tool carefully.

Editing books

Choose the edit book tool to change the title and color of the currently selected book. The fields on this screen are exactly as described when adding a book, with the exception that the color selection reflects the book's current color.



You can use the Toggle button to contract or expand the bookcase area. When contracted the Page Display expands to take full advantage of the extra screen space, allowing for improved readability.

Page Tools

Page Tools

Page Tools

The Page Tools allow you to view the Table of Contents for the current book, Search and highlight specific words on the current page, Add a new page, Remove the current page, Edit the current page's title and description, Trim unwanted sections from the current page and Share (or print) the current page. Note that printing requires and AirPlay capable printer.

Table Of Contents

Choose the table of contents tool (bulleted list) to display the pages in the current book. You can jump directly to a new page by touching an entry. You can also arrange the order of pages, as described below.

Arranging page order

The arrange widget (stack) on the right side of the table of contents screen allows you to use drag and drop to rearrange the pages in your current book. Start by long pressing the arrange widget until the tracker icon appears. At this point you can drag the selected page up or down the list to change its order. Once you're satisfied with the position, release the item you're dragging and your new page order is established.

Moving a page to to a different book

You can also use the arrange widget (as mentioned in Arranging page order) to move a page in the table of contents to a different book. Long-press the arrange widget until the tracker symbol appears, then drag the page to a new desired book location and release. The page will disappear from the current book's table of contents and will instead show up when the display the table of contents for the book you've chosen to move it to.

Searching a page

Choose the search page tool (magnifying glass) to highlight specific words on the current page. When the search is completed you can scroll through the page to see the highlighted instances of the word(s) you searched for.

Adding a page

Choose the add page tool (plus) to add a new page to the selected book. The new page is added as the last page of the book, but you can use the table of contents tool mentioned above to rearrange the page order to one you prefer. Please refer to the Add Page Screen section for further details regarding this screen.

Removing a page

Choose the remove page tool (minus) to remove the current page. Note: Keep in mind this action cannot be undone. The current page, along with its associated description will be permanently deleted.

Editing a page

Choose the edit page tool (pencil) to change the title of the current page. The initial values for both of these items were pre-filled with a 'best guess' title and description when the page was initially added. It's a good idea to edit new pages as you add them to ensure they have useful titles and descriptions (which are used for searching). For instance, a new holiday cookie recipe is much easier to find with a description such as 'holiday sugar cookies', but the initial description (from the best-guess) may be little more than the web address of the page. The Address field contains the original URL of the page you added. This field is read-only, but you can select and copy this address allowing you to paste it into the browser or in the Add Page browser to return to this location again.

Trimming a page

Choose the trim page tool (stack) to remove unwanted sections of a page you've made available offline. (Please note this option is only available for offline pages). When you initially add a page there are often portions of blank areas, or sometimes comments you don't wish to save and so forth. The trim page tool allows you to select each section (a pdf page) using the thumbnail view on the left and remove it from the page. Please refer to the Trim Page Screen section for further details.

Sharing a page

Choose the share page (share icon) to share or print the current page. The sharing options are the typical system-wide sharing capabilities you should be familiar with already on your device. Please refer to specific device documentation regarding the use of the sharing screen. Please note that printing requires an AirPrint capable printer. Again, please refer to your device's documentation regarding how to configure and use printers with AirPrint.

Page Display

Page Display

Page Display

The Page Display shows the current book page in a window you can scroll up and down and pinch zoom in and out. You can also navigate through (non-zoomed) pages by swiping left or right on the page, or you can use the paging buttons on the lower corners of the page. Tip: Use the Table of Contents tool to quickly jump to pages. Also, keep in mind the Toggle tool allows you to expand the page display's reading area at any time.

Online-only indicator

You'll see a special indicator (lightning icon) to the right of the page's title for online-only pages (ones where you chose to turn off "available offline" when the page was added). This is a good way to remind you of pages which require an internet connection to view.

Navigation buttons

The normal back, forward, refresh/stop buttons are located at the top of the page display area when you're viewing an online-only page. You can use these buttons to help you navigate the live content. Keep in mind the page will always start at the original location you saved when the page was added if you switch to another page.

Moving the current page to a different book

The arrange widget (stack) to the right of the Main Screen's page title allows you to drag and drop the currently displayed page to a different book. Start by long pressing the arrange widget until the tracker icon appears. At this point you can drag the selected page to the book where you wish to move it. Once you release the dragged page it will be moved to the new book. Note that you can only move pages to books which are displayed on the current shelf.

Add Page Screen

Add Page Screen

The Add Page screen allows you to browse the internet and add a new page to your current book. This screen presents you with the following items:

Navigation buttons

The left and right facing arrow buttons allow you to move backward and forward though web pages you have visited. These work the same as your normal web browser.

Refresh button

The refresh button, adjacent to the navigation buttons, reloads the current web page. While the page is loading the circular arrow is replaced with a stop (X) button. This button also works the same as your normal web browser.

Available offline

By default WebShelf saves local copies of all pages, so you can view them whether you're currently connected to the internet or not. If you'd prefer to always fetch a fresh copy of a particular page, then turn off this option. This tells WebShelf to always display the online copy of the page, if you're currently connected. If not, you'll receive a message indicating the page is only available when you're online.

Online-only pages are a great option for dynamic content, such as videos, news, stock tickers and so forth. You can still use all of WebShelf's shelves, books and page capabilities as you normally do with with offline pages, but now have the added benefit of handling pages that need fresher content, or in some cases (such as with video content) aren't available when the page is saved for offline viewing.


The input field directly below the navigation buttons contains the URL (address) of the site you wish to visit. You can enter a url here, or you can enter items for which you wish to search. For example, you could enter "New iPads", then press Go (see below). This performs a search and returns a list of matching web pages.


The go button loads the page (or search term) currently entered in the address field. Note that while the page is loading the refresh button temporarily transforms into a stop (X) button. Once the page has completely loaded the refresh button changes back to its normal circular arrow appearance indicating the page loading has completed.


Once you're ready to add the browser's page to the current book you can press the Save button. If you change your mind you can press Cancel instead to close the Add Page screen without adding a new page.

Tips on saving offline web pages

Web pages are comprised of many dynamic elements, often those elements are loaded as-needed using such technologies as Javascript. This may present challenges when saving your pages for later reading. For example, the page may show images when you initially view it in the add page screen's browser, but the saved page may be missing some or all of these images.

While WebShelf endeavors to fully capture all of the page's content, in reality this sometimes falls short. There are certain pages that don't lend themselves to being saved for offline viewing. To ensure the most success when saving pages it is best practice to fully scroll through and view your entire page in add page's browser before you press the save button. This gives WebShelf the best chance of capturing as much of the dynamic content as possible.

Trim Page Screen

Trim Page Screen

The Trim Page screen is available for offline pages only. It allows you to trim away some of the excess/unwanted portions of a page you've saved for offline viewing.

The sections for removal consist of a series of equal-sized sections and may or may not align exactly with the content you wish to remove. Use your best judgement to remove as much of the blank/unneeded content around the sections of the page you wish to retain. If you remove more than you wish you can always use Cancel (as described below) to start over.

The screen consists of three sections: the Tool area (top), Thumbnail area (left) and Page display (center). The tool area allows you to Save or Cancel the page trimming. The Scissors are used to cut the currently selected section in the thumbnail view. As you navigate the thumbnail view the page display shows the currently selected page.

Please note Cancel closes the Trim Page screen and returns you to the main screen, restoring the current page back to its original state, regardless of how many sections you've removed. This is a good option when you've removed more content than you desire and wish to start over. Keep in mind once you choose Save your trimming of the page becomes permanent and cannot be undone, though you can continue to trim the page to remove additional sections if you desire.

Tip: If you wish to remove a series of pages, such as blank pages, or comments following the content you wish to keep, the easiest approach is to select the thumbnail which represents the end of the area to remove, then cut backwards through the sections until you've reached the content you wish to keep.

For example, suppose you have a recipe followed by ten pages of comments which you don't wish to keep. Let's assume the comments start on page 5 and continue through page 14. The easiest way to remove the ten pages is to select the thumbnail for page 14, press the Scissor tool, then continue to use the scissor tool until all ten pages are removed.

Manage Libraries Screen

Manage Libraries Screen

Manage Libraries Screen

The Manage Libraries screen contains various options which all you to control how you use your libraries. Each of these options is described in the section that follows, in the order the buttons appear on the right-hand side of the screen.


The Edit button lets you rename the library you've selected in the list of libraries. Note that you can rename the library anything you wish, but duplicate library names are not allowed.


The Lock/Unlock button allows you to add or remove a password for the currently selected library. If you don't currently have a password (the library isn't locked) you're asked to enter and confirm a new password. (You'll want to make sure you remember this password because there isn't a way to recover lost passwords). Likewise, if the library currently has a password, you can remove it by pressing the lock/unlock button and entering the current password.

Please note many of the operations on the Manage Library screen require you to enter a password if you are attempting to do something with a locked (password protected) library. For example, you may need to enter a password before you can edit the library's name.


The Add button allows you to create a new library. Once you've added the library, you'll still need to open it using the Open button at the upper left of the screen.


The Remove button allows you to permanently remove the selected library. This button is not active for the currently loaded library.


The Info button provides information about the currently selected library, such as how many shelves, books, pages it contains, along with the size of the library on the disk.


The Open button at the upper right allows you to open the selected library. This option isn't available if the library is already opened as the active library. Keep in mind that when you're adding a new library, you'll want to use open to open it and make it the active library. Also, for locked libraries you are prompted to enter a password before you can open the selected library.


The Done button at the upper left closes the screen and returns you to the main screen. Keep in mind that any actions you've taken on libraries are still retained, the Done button simply closes the Manage Libraries screen.

Files app

Files app

Sharing libraries between devices

Although sharing of WebShelf libraries between multiple iPads isn't built in, it is fairly easy to do, since each library is self-contained. You'll simply need to use the Files app on your iPad to select the library you wish to copy, then select where you wish to copy it. Refer to the following link from Apple for details on how to use the Files app (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206481).

Copying a library to the cloud

To copy a WebShelf library open the Files app then choose the option On my iPad. Once selected choose the WebShelf folder and locate the library you wish to copy. For example, the default library MyLibrary is shown as MyLibrary.db in the list of files. Click the library you wish to copy and choose the Share icon (in the upper right corner). Then chose Save to Files, which gives you multiple options, depending on how your iPad is connected. For example, if you're signed in with iCloud or Google Drive you'll see an option to save your library to either of those locations. Once you've decided where you wish to save it select Save to save a copy of your library.

Copying a library from the cloud to a different iPad

Retrieving a copy of your library is essentially the opposite of what we've just walked though to save it to the cloud. First you'll want to make sure you've installed WebShelf on the new device. Then you'll want to open the Files app, select the location for your saved library file, for example your iCloud drive. Choose the Select option at the upper right, then select the library you wish to copy. Next chose the Move option in the lower portion of the screen. Choose the On My IPad option and select WebShelf, then finally select the Copy option at the upper right. That's it. Now you should see your library listed among the available libraries in the Manage Libraries screen.

Please note attempting to copy an already existing library from the cloud to your iPad will prompt you with an option to replace or keep both copies. If you choose to replace the file you will lose any library data you currently have in your iPad's version of the library, since the file is essentially overwritten. So it's usually best to always keep both copies of the file. For example, if you're saving a file from the cloud named MyLibrary and you tell the Files app to keep both copies you'll end up with MyLibrary 2, which represents the library you've just downloaded from the cloud. (You can always rename this new library using the Manage Libraries screen's Edit option to any name you desire). Also, remember you'll need to use the Manage Libraries screen's Open button to open your downloaded library and make it active.

A note about sharing password-locked libraries

When you copy a library to a new device, keep in mind the library will retain any password locking you've enabled. Also, if you share the library with a friend (https://support.apple.com/guide/ipad/share-files-and-folders-in-icloud-drive-ipade248577c/ipados), your friend will need the password to open the library. Optionally, you can use the Library Management screen's unlock option to remove the password before you copy the library to the cloud, then add the password back after you've copied the library to the cloud.

External keyboard support

WebShelf supports external bluetooth keyboards for both entering text and by providing shortcuts to save you time when adding shelves, books, pages and so forth. The following list of shortcuts are supported. Please note that some are only available when the current book/page support such an action. For example, the PageDown and PageUp shortcuts are only available if there are additional pages to which you can navigate. Press and hold the Command button on your keyboard to see the complete list of supported shortcuts at any given time.

Command-s Add shelf

Command-b Add book

Command-p Add page

Command-l Library management

Command-e Edit page

Command-t Trim page (only available for offline pages)

PageUp Navigates to next page (if available)

PageDown Navigates to previous page (if available)

Command-down Navigates to first page

Command-up Navigates to last page

Command-shift-f Opens Find Descriptions screen

Command-f Search for text on current page

Command-? Launches on screen tutorial (same as ? button on screens)

Command-, Opens Preferences screen

Esc Closes the current screen