Managing Office files on an iPad

Managing Office files on an iPad

Microsoft Office for iPad is closely integrated with OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud-based storage system. Sign up for a OneDrive account and you’ll get 7GB of online storage space for free (with an additional 20GB of space if you subscribe to Office 365).

The 20GB of additional space gives Office for iPad users a generous 27GB of OneDrive storage; typically this is more than enough for saving all your Office documents. You can store any kind of files with OneDrive (images, audio files, and files created by other apps, for instance), and documents created with the Microsoft Office for iPad apps are saved directly to OneDrive by default.

Office for iPad creates new documents as fully-fledged Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, and you can access and share these using OneDrive for your Mac or PC computer.

If you’ve ever used a rival cloud service such as Dropbox, you’ll feel right at home with OneDrive. With OneDrive installed, a OneDrive folder appears inside the Home folder of a Mac computer. Any files you add to this OneDrive folder on your Mac can be accessed on the iPad.

Files created using Office for iPad apps appear inside the OneDrive folder on your Mac. Each of the three main apps Word, Excel and PowerPoint have the same interface for viewing documents, but each only displays the files that are compatible with that app.

You access previously created files using the Recent and Open icons in this same window; the New icon is used to create documents.

Let’s have a more in-depth look at the process of creating, managing and editing files…

Managing Office files on an iPad

Save As and renaming files

There is no rename file option, or Save As option in Office for iPad apps. The lack of Save As and Rename is a bit confusing at first, but both are replaced with a Duplicate option.

Open a document and tap the File menu option (in the top left, just next to the Back icon). Now tap Duplicate to display the Choose Name and Location window. Enter a new name for the file, and tap Save. You will now have both the new and old file.

If you’ve used this method to rename the file, simply delete the old one – preferably before you forget!

Add a second account

It is possible to add more than one OneDrive account to each Office for iPad app. Adding multiple accounts is handy for increasing storage space or allowing multiple people to use the Office for iPad app.

To add a second OneDrive account tap on Open and Add A Service > OneDrive. Now enter your OneDrive account ID and Password and tap Sign In. The account appears underneath the main OneDrive account in the Open window. If you want to remove the second account, tap on your Account Name icon (at the top left) and slide your finger left across the unwanted account. Now tap Remove.

Managing Office files on an iPad

Which files can you open?

Only files created and used by the specific program can be opened by the particular Office for iPad app. So if you are using the Open window in Microsoft Word, you will only view Word and compatible text-based documents – not Excel, PowerPoint, or any other files such as images).

Using the Office app

Managing Office files on an iPad

1. New

The New icon in the sidebar is used to create documents. Each app’s New window displays a New Blank Document option, plus a selection of templates. Tapping on New Blank Document or choosing one of the templates switches from this document view to editing mode.

You tap the Back button (in the top left of the editing window) to return here.

2. Documents

Documents you have created appear next to the Recent and Open sidebar windows. You give a name to a document when editing it: tap the File icon in edit mode to view the Name option.

Tap Name to open the Save As window, enter a name and choose Save. One oddity is that you cannot create a new folder within the app; instead you must create folders using the separate OneDrive app. Normally we choose the Documents folder.

3. Opening documents

Tap a document in the Open or Recent menu to download it. The Office apps first download the file and cache it locally, so you will need to be online.

Documents you have saved recently will appear with a green tick next to them; these are stored locally and you can edit them without an internet connection. You switch back to the edit mode to make further adjustments to the file.

4. Recent documents

The easiest way to find a document is to tap the Recent icon. This displays documents that have been recently created or edited. Files are organised by Pinned, Today, Past Week, Past Month and Older.

To the right of each document is a File icon – tap this to open the Remove From Recent option. This removes the file from the Recent menu, it doesn’t delete it. There is currently no search option for files, so it’s best to keep them organised.

5. Pin and File

We find it best to pin documents in the Recent folder so we can quickly find them. Tap Recent and locate a document you’re working on. Now tap the Pin icon (which is to the far right of the document’s name). The Pin icon turns blue, and the item is added to the top of the Recents list.

Tap the blue Pin icon again if you want to remove the item from the Pinned area of Recents.

6. Delete and recover files

You can delete files from the Open menu. Locate the unwanted document and tap the File icon (to the right of the filename) and choose Delete; tap Delete again to remove the file completely.

Note that you can not recover deleted files from the Office for iPad app (or the separate OneDrive app), but you can recover deleted files using the OneDrive website. Tap the Recycle Bin to view deleted files.

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