Share office documents between Windows and an iPad, Part II

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The answer I gave Richard Wiringa in my September 10 post is already out of date. Here's a new one.

[Email your tech questions to or post them on the PCW Answer Line forum.]

Apple's improvements still doesn't match the built-in Dropbox support in third-party iOS office apps, such as my favorite, Office2 HD. But they're nevertheless a big improvement.Earlier this month, I explained to Richard Wiringa why the iOS versions of Apple's iWork office apps--Pages, Keynote, and Numbers--can't share files over Dropbox. Since I wrote that piece, Apple has updated these programs to make them considerably more Dropbox friendly.

Quick review: In iOS, data files can only be stored with and by their apps. And each app controls what other apps they can send files to. The Dropbox app can send files in the various office formats (.doc, docx, .xls, and so on) to the appropriate iWork apps. For instance, they can send spreadsheets to Numbers and documents to Pages. But when I wrote that first post, the iWork apps could not send the files back to Dropbox.

That's changed. Updates to all three iWork apps, now available at the App Store, let you send files to Dropbox.

If you know how.

After the update, you would still copy files from Dropbox to an iWork app the way I previously explained: To send, for instance, a spreadsheet from the iOS Dropbox app to Numbers, tap the Share icon near the Dropbox app's upper-right corner and select Numbers.

The improvement comes when you want to move the file back to Dropbox (and from there to your PC). Here's how to move a spreadsheet from Numbers back into Dropbox:

  1. In Numbers, go to the home page displaying your spreadsheets, tap and hold down on a file until all them jiggle.
  2. Tap the spreadsheet you want to send back to Dropbox.
  3. Click the Share icon in the upper-left corner and select Open in Another App.
  4. When asked to choose a format, tap Excel.
  5. Tap Choose App, and select Dropbox.
  6. iOS will bring you to Dropbox, where you can change the file name and the location within the Dropbox folder.

Those same basic instructions work for Pages and Keynote, as well.

Unfortunately, the iWork apps still don't support the newer standard office formats--.docx, .xlsx, and .pptx (which are really not all that new). That spreadsheet you save in the Excel format will be in the older .xls format.

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