As of May 2013, Microsoft hadn't made Office available to iOS users. Rumours circulating around this time suggested the software giant was gearing up to release a version of its productivity suite for Apple devices in late 2014, but the demand for Word, Excel and PowerPoint from iPad and iPhone users had already spurred third-party developers to produce their own solutions. You'll be able to work with Office documents on your Apple slate regardless of whether Microsoft decides to release an official iOS version of the software or not.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Apple MobileMe email address
Tap the "App Store" icon on your iPad's home screen, search "Documents Unlimited" and download either a paid-for or free version of the software. Documents Unlimited allows you to view and edit both Microsoft Office and Open Office files. The paid-for version is ad-free and offers support for cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive.
Open the app, tap "Network" from the "Documents" screen and toggle the "Wi-Fi Transfer" switch to "On." Then navigate to the URL you're presented with on your iPad's screen from a computer. Hit the "Choose Files" button from your computer's browser to navigate to and upload Microsoft Office documents you want to work with on your iPad.
Go back to the "Documents" screen on your iPad and tap "Downloads." Select an uploaded file to open it. Tap the "Gear" icon in the top right-hand corner of your screen and select "Import & Edit" to make changes to your file. Tap the "Keyboard" button in the top right-hand corner of the screen to bring up your iPad's keys and use the "Gear" icon to view an options menu.
Download a free or paid-for version of iSpreadsheet from Apple's App Store. iSpreadsheet will allow you to view and edit Microsoft Excel files. Open the app, tap "Wi-Fi" and enable sharing. You'll be presented with a URL at the top of your screen.
Go to the web address displayed on your iPad and hit the "Choose File" button to find and upload Microsoft Excel documents you want to access and edit on your iPad. Once you've done so, go back to iSpreadsheet's home screen, tap "Documents" and select your file from the list presented. You can also transfer Excel files to iSpreadsheet via iTunes, through Google Drive or Dropbox and by opening files from your Apple MobileMe email account with the app.
Tap the "+" icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the "Documents" screen to create a new spreadsheet. You can save new documents as comma-separated value files that you'll be able to work with in Excel on your PC.
Download SlideShark from the App Store, open the app and tap the "Register" button to create an account. SlideShark will let you view and annotate Microsoft PowerPoint presentations on your iOS device. You'll get 100 megabytes of free storage when you open an account.
Email a PowerPoint presentation to the MobileMe account linked to the email app on your iPad. Open the email on your iPad and hold your finger on the PowerPoint attachment. Select "Open in SlideShark" from the list of options displayed. Tap "Upload" to add the file to your SlideShark account. SlideShark can also access PowerPoint presentations through cloud storage services.
Tap your file from your "My Content" screen when it's finished uploading to play your presentation. Hit the "Pen" icon in the bottom left-hand corner of your screen to bring up annotation options. Swipe up from the bottom of your iPad's screen to see thumbnails of your slides and functions such as auto-play, looping and sharing options.
Tips and warnings
- Buy an external keyboard for your iPad to make it easier to work with Office docs on your tablet.
- You can view Office docs from the Internet and those attached to emails in most iOS web browsers and email applications.
- Most iOS productivity apps allow you to produce files you'll be able to open and work with on PC versions of Office programs.
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