iPhones, iPods, & iPads forum

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Can an iPad store, view, edit, and create MS Word documents?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / July 12, 2013 8:57 AM PDT
Question: Can an iPad store, view, edit, and create Microsoft Word documents?

I am an on-call coordinator and work 7 days per week for a medical
agency. They are giving me an iPad to carry around. Can I transfer
my Word docs from my laptop to the iPad, to view the docs and also
edit and create new Word documents? Also, is there a connecting
cable I can use from my laptop to the iPad to transfer all the
Word files? Please let me know. Thanks!

--Submitted by Sylvia B.
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The iPad cannot read or write MS Word files natively,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 12, 2013 9:32 AM PDT

but Pages, an iPad app, can open MS Word Documents and create documents that can be exported as MS Word documents.

The connecting cable thing is another problem. There is a cable but it does not transfer files in the manner you are wanting.

A possible solution would be to email these documents to yourself and save them on the iPad
get a Dropbox account and put the documents up there so that they would be accessible to you.


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iPads can read, write and create valid MS Documents
by gbosan / July 20, 2013 12:54 PM PDT


Your answer regarding reading or writing MS Word files is correct, if by the term "natively" you mean in a program created by Microsoft. As you know, Microsoft has not written a version of Office for the iPad. I doubt they will. So "native" in that sense is not possible, but valid Office documents can be opened, created, imported and exported in one of several Office apps for iPad. No need to rely on Pages. I use Pages, too and actually prefer it, but often I need to create Word documents and conversion between Pages and Word is perfect. By the way, I should mention that I don't work for makers of Quickoffice, but I have been using it since I got my first iPad (gen 1) and use it now on the new iPad (gen 4).

Quickoffice Pro does have its limits. As another responder mentions, it does not have all the bells and whistles that the desktop version of Microsoft Office has, but it is very capable for most daily applications.

You are incorrect about the use of the charging/syncing cable. I use <span id="INSERTION_MARKER">the charging/syncing cable that comes standard with an iPad to transfer files frequently. You can even mount your iPad as a drive then drag-n-drop files to and from many apps individually. Quickoffice is one of those apps. While many like to import documents via email, iTunes, Dropbox and SugarSync (I use these methods also), you can also use iTunes to import Word documents directly into your chosen Office app using your charging/syncing cable or via a WiFi connection.

Using iTunes, you can drag-n-drop multiple documents into your app window in the "File Sharing" section under "Apps" tab on a connected device. Click "Apply" to transfer all dragged files over. After a transfer you can view, open and edit your files from within the app on your iPad. You can even create folders within the app to organize your files. You can do this with most apps that save files to your iPad. I often transfer larger documents this way. It works in reverse also. I drag files directly from app file sharing windows directly to my desktop.

Additionally, there are applications to zip, unzip and download files. Those applications will allow you to unzip files then use the iOS "Open in..." function to open the unzipped file(s) in your chosen Office app.

Finally, some apps (again, Quickoffice Pro is one) will allow "on-the-fly" ftp access through your browser. When the function is turned on, you are given an address an address to point your browser to that will show a list of files you can click on to download. There is a great deal of flexibility in methods of putting files on adn taking files off of an iPad.

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by walldoo99 / July 20, 2013 11:17 PM PDT

While I use this service a lot they do reserve the right to examine and use any and all items stored there.Example: if you store a picture and save it as bobby's first bath and someone google bobby or first bath and hit images it could come up.

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Oh Come on now walldoo99
by waytron / July 22, 2013 10:39 PM PDT
In reply to: Dropbox

Unless you deliberately share your photo albums with someone and that person posts the photos online somewhere, this could not happen. First of all, your data is all encrypted, and even if Google's search engines somehow found their way into to your data, it could not be deciphered without the key. Come on now, you are just being paranoid. It is far more likely that someone will steal your iPad or you will lose it or leave it in a Cab and then there is no telling where your photos and data will end up.

DropBox is a great service and I and hundreds of my clients have been using it for several years now without a single problem. As with any data, it is always important to evaluate the risks that are involved and assume that no data is 100% save. If you take care to create quality passwords or even take advantage of DropBox's Two Step Verification option, I personally would not worry about it. If you have some real sensitive data then feel free to use your own data encryption before saving your data online.

Wayland Computer

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docs to Go
by dbchamber / July 12, 2013 11:11 AM PDT

Try Docs To Go. You use the PC program to sync to your IPad and then can edit all of your Word, Excel and other Office Files. It is well worth the money.

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No Problem
by rmalone1602 / July 12, 2013 11:23 AM PDT

I use my iPad for traveling and meetings where it might not be convenient to take my laptop. I 1st loaded the iOS tools: Pages, Keynote, etc. I did not like the format since it was different from what I was used to. I kept trying different apps and finally found a solution that I am happy with.

1st it is difficult to load and manage files between your computer and an iPad. I found that Dropbox provided a perfect solution. I am able to retrieve files from the cloud on my iPad, laptop, my Android phone or anyone else's computer that has access to the internet. Dropbox loads as a folder on your iPad and laptop and files that you create or edit on one device is automatically changed on the other devices.

2nd, since MS does not make an iPad version of Office I had to find an alternative. The best program I found to substitute was QuickOffice Pro HD. This app costs about $30 but well worth it if you are a MS fan. I can access files I create on my iPad, files I uploaded (by the way the end of your charging cable had a USB plug you can plug into your computer) and most importantly for me my Dropbox account. I just open up any MS Office file and can read or edit the file on my iPad. You can also create new files in QuickOffice although it does not have all the bells and whistles of the real Office but comes close enough.

I hope this helps.

Note: Message was edited by: Lee Koo (ADMIN) 07/19/2013 8:49AM to fix typo made by OPs to lessen the confusion: "MS does not make an iPad version of Office"

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Dropbox and CloudOn But Check If...
by franciemr / July 12, 2013 11:43 AM PDT

your company will allow since nothing is absolutely secure. I learned that when asking CNET Community for suggestion about a secure way to save important personal data!
Download the Dropbox program to your iPad and laptop. When saving a document, save to your laptop documents and then also save to Dropbox. Now you can access any document on iPad. But in order to change, update, I use CloudOn. CloudOn iPad app works with Dropbox, Box, Google Drop, and SkyDrive. I open CloudOn, select Dropbox as the "cloud" storage site, and there are my documents that I can edit and save using CloudOn. When I get to my laptop, I copy my updated Dropbox documents to my laptop docs. Sounds like a lot of steps, but it'll get you there. If sure someone who is more savvy than I will have a better solution, but this one is free.
Again, will your company allow you to use cloud storage?

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Actually, there is
by Dominick / July 19, 2013 1:51 PM PDT

one very secure way to keep your files "in-the-cloud". It'll actually become your own, personal, cloud. It's a device called a Pogoplug Series 4 device. You connect it to your router and hang one or two USB hard drives from it. You can then load any and all documents to it ... including music, pictures and movies. I have one 1.5T USB3 HD and one 500G USB2 HD hooked to it. You're not limited by size. There are Android and iPhone/iPad apps to run with it. Good luck on your quest!

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Security and Privacy
by Hforman / July 20, 2013 12:20 PM PDT

Since the OP mentioned "medical" information, this use may be subject to HIPAA and other government rules regarding privacy.

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by noakes1 / July 12, 2013 11:48 AM PDT

Get CloudOn from the App Store. Great app works with MS Office files you store in DropBox or other cloud apps. Lets you edit, view mark-ups, and save or share docs.

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Office Document on iPad

Yes, you can. It is reasonably easy. There are a couple of programs out there to handle this task. Only trouble is, since Apple locked the device so aggressively, you have to email the documents in and out to use the offering from M$ and Savy Soda. However after getting used to the transfer mechanism, you should be OK and productive quickly.

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Yes, using Pages and iTunes
by pgrobin / July 12, 2013 8:54 PM PDT

This is not as difficult as some have made it sound. Using Pages you can load Word docs on the iPad and read them, as well as edit them and export them as Word docs. To get them on the iPad you use iTunes. In iTunes you can load the docs into the Pages app, then transfer them when you synch the iPad to your desktop. It that's not how the company has set things up then Dropbox or Cloudon are the best options.

Two things to keep in mind. One is company policy, what will they allow from a security aspect? Another is formatting in that Pages is not Word so conversion back and forth is not always accurate. Another possible way to view Word docs on the iPad is to convert them to PDF, then import them using one of the many PDF apps such as Goodreader.

Note: Message was edited by: Lee Koo (ADMIN) 07/19/2013 8:53AM to remove call out on typo by malone1602 which has since been corrected.

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Yes, there are apps that do this
by Graupner / July 13, 2013 1:32 AM PDT

There are many apps that do this, some free, some costing little, some, more. I used office hd2, to do this with MS office docs, spreadsheets, etc. but be advised, you get what you pay for. I've used several free versions and several very low cost (less than 2$), but have not been satisfied with the results until The app I use now.

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Google Docs

Could use Google Drive (formally Google Docs), has an iPad app.

You upload the files, use the Google apps to edit, then you can download in different formats, including ms, if you need to.

You can even email them as attachments as ms, open office or pdf format.

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#1 Answer
by ppsm / July 19, 2013 2:24 PM PDT
In reply to: Google Docs

This is easily the easiest and the #1 Answer to the issue!

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Ipad Word Docs
by sam4sons / July 19, 2013 9:59 AM PDT

I use Documents to Go and can access all my Word docs and make any changes to them I need. Works very good also you can use Documents these are both free Apps that work Keep it simple my motto so I look for the easiest also you can load On Line Desktop and Print Central Pro to print your Docs. I have all of these on my Ipad and they all work

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YES, with a great app
by jerzypapa1 / July 19, 2013 10:18 AM PDT
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Short answer, Yes
by ackmondual / July 19, 2013 11:44 AM PDT

If you want free solution and have wifi or good cellular connection, then using Google Documents directly is one way. I myself have not tried this, and am guessing that since wireless connections are never THAT reliable and steady (not to mention secure), this is only good for intermident updates and access.

Huh... that's a shame, QuickOffice has been removed

iWorks, interestingly enough is by Apple

Documents To Go
I first used this for Palm OS 5.x. They've had a decade of Office software for mobile apps (they also have versions for Windows Mobile {NOT Windows 8, but also the one back around 2003}, and Android). Used this with my Ipod Touch 3, 4, and now IpT5. Works across ios3 to ios6. Got the Standard edition. I've synched some files and folders back when on my IpT3 with the free desktop component (I used this as a gallery since IpT3 photo gallery folders was so bugged). It was straightforward enough (and better and useful than ITunes for managing music and apps I'll add). When I updated ios from 3 to 4 on my IpT3, I had to recreate all the folders. Since then, I haven't had to touch it, even when upgrading to the next generation IpT (IpT3 to 4, and IpT4 to IpT5). Restoring has always maintained that info.

Premium ed.
Also has cloud features and password protection

Std. ed.

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Quickoffic removed but Quickoffice Pro...
by gbosan / July 20, 2013 1:00 PM PDT
In reply to: Short answer, Yes

is still available for purchase and download in the app store. its far superior to the less expensive version that was removed. I have used both.

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The Cloud?
by 1garyallen / July 19, 2013 12:05 PM PDT

In my opinion this cloud thing is nothing more than another sham by the industry. The M/S docs I create are indeed business sensitive, therefore, cloud computing is out of the question for me and probably many others. I wonder; if one purchases a software program they have it to use forever ( theoretically speaking ). So, if I pay a monthly or perhaps a yearly fee to someone, how long before I've overpaid for the use of the cloud version - The Cloud, no, I don't think so.

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You're in luck
by yuniverse / July 19, 2013 1:36 PM PDT

Apple is currently upgrading everyone's iCloud account to use their well-reviewed iWorks suites for free via web-browsers on Macs and PCs.

iCloud account is free to make is comes with 5GB of space. iWorks includes three applications:
1. Pages - word processor
2. Numbers - spreadsheet
3. Keynote - presentation

You can import all MS Office document types (docx,xlsx, etc.) into it and save it as either iWorks documents, PDF, and or MS Office documents.

Even though these are web-browser based, they are exceptionally good - much better than googledocs or skydrive.
Create your iCloud acct and it may not appear right away (if you see one iWorks icon, it's not there yet. If you see three different apps with their own names as Pages, Numbers and Keynote, then you have the new iWorks)

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by momofmaxx / July 19, 2013 1:46 PM PDT

This app is amazing and I tried the free version first. It makes everything run smooth. Anything you need from your laptop you can put in Dropbox. And of course updating your iPad you must plug it in to your laptop to update anything on it on it or transfer something from one to the other.
Just look around under the PRODUCTIVITY areas in the App Store to see what's right for your needs.
Enjoy your ipad, it's am awesome device.
Good luck!

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Why not, but..
by KPACOTKA / July 19, 2013 3:20 PM PDT

First people who answer your question are far away of real knowledge of iOS and how iDevices work. I am sorry for them but it is always a fact than less you know than more you willing to share your little knowledge. It is absolutely true you can copy, open, read and write MS Word documents on iPad or any other iDevices. Do not listen to people who tell you need Cloud, they just making money on Cloud advertisement because it doesn't bring enough money to companies. Not at all. Every iOS application can allocate own space where it can store own data as Word documents. It is up to application how to transfer your document to iPad, it can be USB connection, it can be WiFi. One problem is here only do not expect the solution will be free. You will need to buy a program to store, read and edit MS Word documents. Which one to select? I won't suggest because people will think I'd like promote some product for money. Decide for yourself. And BTW Blackberry device have Word reader and editor out of the box. So tell your employer to take better devices next time. At least to do some research on CNET before waste money for crappy devices.

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Use Office:mac
by brushcut / July 19, 2013 11:11 PM PDT

Buy Office:mac You will have Word and be able to use it just as you do on your PC (well, almost all of the functions).

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OK, tell us where you can purchase Office:Mac
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 20, 2013 10:17 AM PDT
In reply to: Use Office:mac

for the iPad and we will all thank you


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Not !!
by birdmantd Forum moderator / July 20, 2013 9:38 PM PDT
In reply to: Use Office:mac

That product is for a Mac Book, not an iPad.

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Not #1
by Hforman / July 20, 2013 12:24 PM PDT

It would be easy if the OP didn't mention that this was medical data. That data has to be encrypted even on the iPad as they might receive huge fines from the government if the iPad is lost or stolen and that data is accessible. I think the best advice was to check with the employer. Google has been fined many times for privacy violations.

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Medical Data
by Hforman / July 20, 2013 12:30 PM PDT

Since you work for a medical agency, your employer must be familiar with HIPAA and HITECH rules that will fine your employer a lot of money not only if PII medical data is exposed but also if there is no sufficient level of protection for the data down to the field level. We recently had a single field that was not protected from the right people and it cost us only $1200. Since sites like Google and Dropbox claim they can publicly display your data and can give uploaded data to their 3rd-pary associates as well as that they read everything that you upload, I would check real carfully with your employer to make sure that keeping this information anywhere (cloud or iPad) without proper encryption is allowed in case the data is protected.

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iPad for business practices and issues.
by reevesgail723 / July 22, 2013 1:00 AM PDT
In reply to: Medical Data

I am still not understanding why businesses continue to buy iPads and then put them in the hands of end users.
There are way to many products out there now in the tablet arena that will allow end users in the field to have a streamlined mobile device to handle their needs. They will also have Win7/8 on them so no issues with using MS Office suite. Win 8 gives you 7GB of cloud storage with Skydrive, if your company has no security issues using it. If they do use it for yourself. I have a VPN connection to my office desktop utilizing it and love this. They will have the IT department happy in that they can administrate them and keep all the compliance requirements in check. Need some advice? Let me know I can help you out. Lenovo also has Sugar Sync so if you get Win 8 and Lenovo you have two ways to have cloud storage.

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To Answer Why iPads are Being Used for Business
by Hforman / July 22, 2013 2:39 PM PDT

We had a whole discussion on tablets with another thread and there are many reasons. First of all, some claim that the desktop is dead. From where I work, it is not only not yet pushing up daisies but there is still a trend away from mobile computing. Others claim productivity by being allowed to work from home or during travel. Finally, there are those that need to actually travel and require portable equipment.

A "study" was done on CNET and 60%+ respondents said that data given to the individual belonged to that individual and not the company. This sounds strange since the data can never belong to the employee except that the employee has certified in employment documents that he will protect that data (Acceptable Use Agreement, Non-Disclosure Document). Needless to say, if a laptop, jump drive or any portable device is lost or stolen, most states have laws that say that this loss has to be reported to the proper authorities and the individuals have to be found, notified and be given credit protection. As I keep mentioning, some data is protected by the federal (USA) government such as medical patient records (HIPAA/HITECH), criminal records (CJIS) and financial records or credit card information (PCI-DSS). In these cases other reporting is necessary, notification must usually be by snail-mail (sometimes certified) and various government agencies pay you a visit to review your security protocols. In one case, a laptop was stolen and it cost $500,000 in postage alone (non-governed data). Where I work now, a lost laptop caused a visit by Homeland Security and the FBI. A major sheriff's department was shut down over a weekend so the FBI could supervise patching of systems. On top of all this, the issue gets the attention of the press.

The bottom line is that "data leakage" often results in not only purchases of security software such as encryption software but software just to keep track of where data actually resides and even checking email looking for items like account numbers or social security numbers. So the cost is high especially if there is an issue of criminal activity or loss. You just can't say "I'm sorry" and move on.

So, various companies or agencies want to keep their data on a leash. That means, no working from home or while travelling. Checking employees at the metal detector for any media and taking other measures.

Having said all this, some people are seeing the productivity and ease of use as major benefits and are willing to take the risk. Some just have not had "The Experience" yet or have not been sued by someone who has lost everything owned due to I.D. theft.

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