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My iPad 2 is better than my old PC laptop in many ways, except one. As a businessperson, I still need to work with Microsoft Office files on a daily basis. What do I have to do to edit Office files on my iPad? And is it possible to sync them back when I’m done?
While the world (well, our corner of it, anyway) waits patiently for Microsoft to finally bring an official iOS version of Office to the iPad, other companies have already stepped up. Apple’s iWork iPad apps -- Pages ($9.99), Keynote ($9.99), and Numbers ($9.99) -- are all compatible with their Office counterparts and transfer files via email, WebDAV services, and iTunes file sharing. This last method is built into iTunes 9.1 and later -- just connect your iPad to your Mac, then select your iPad in the iTunes sidebar and click the Apps tab. Select a File Sharing–compatible app, then add your files and sync. After you’ve worked on your documents, simply sync again and your edited apps will be copied back to your computer.
Only the iPad could make spreadsheets magical.
For even greater flexibility, there are tons of third-party Office-compatible apps in the App Store. We like Documents To Go Premium ($16.99, universal), Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite ($14.99), and Office2 HD ($7.99), which all provide different options for moving your files back and forth, including transfers over Wi-Fi through dedicated desktop applications, Dropbox and Box.net syncing, and more. If those don’t click with you, explore the App Store a bit—you’ll surely find other apps that work for your particular workflow.
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