When Apple developed and released the iPad, it came furnished with its own tools. Most Mac and iPad users are adept and competent in using the iWork suite, which includes Pages, Numbers and Keynote, which are the equivalent of Microsoft’s Word, Excel and PowerPoint. For the most part, one can create, edit and alter a document and even co-author it with other Mac and iPad users on the iWork suite’s Pages. Whereas the iWork suite works most effectively on Apple products, Microsoft Office is usable in many cases – it would be an injustice to neglect the fact that Microsoft Office can also work on Apple products (iPad, Mac, etc.).
This feature unlocks the ability to create a Microsoft Office document through collaboration via iPad and also between a computer and an iPad. All you need is an Office 365 subscription, which unlocks the ability to create and edit documents and files. If you don’t have the subscription, you can still view (without editing or co-authoring) an Office document. Take your abilities further and share or collaborate on Office documents with your colleagues from your iPad.
Here are some basics on how to share Microsoft Office files on iPad:
- If you’re using an iPad Mini or a 9.7-inch iPad (both fall under mobile devices because their screen sizes are less than 10.1 inches), you can fully use Office. Without paying for an Office 365 subscription, you can create and edit documents and share them with your friends and colleagues directly from your small iPad.
- When using an iPad with a bigger screen, the conditions slightly change. Without an Office 365 subscription, you can only view documents. You will need a paid subscription to create and edit any documents or files.
- To work on your Microsoft Office documents on your iPad, you also need a OneDrive account. Fortunately, an Office 365 subscription comes with an astounding 1TB of OneDrive storage.
Now the question is, “Should I always subscribe to Office 365 to gain full access and be able to create and edit documents?” The answer is yes and no. If you prefer simple solutions for everything and would like to sync your Office account on all your gadgets, then there is absolutely no reason not to get Office 365. But if you are already subscribed to and paying for other platforms, you might find an Office 365 subscription an unnecessary expenditure.
If you don’t have any Office app on your iPad, launch Safari and browse to the Get Office for iOS website. Depending on the kind of document or file you would like to collaboratively work on, select the link for the product you want (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher, etc.). Download the product from the App Store. You can choose to download the entire Office Suite by clicking the other product links and downloading the programs one after the other.
Share to View Only
After getting Word installed, launch it and open the necessary document from OneDrive. You should be able to see the list with options for sharing and collaborating on the document. These include sending a static copy of the document. The recipient cannot make any changes to a static copy but can only view it. To send the document:
- From OneDrive, tap the Share icon in the upper-right corner.
- From the list of commands, select Send a Copy.
- A separate window opens and offers a choice of document formats.
- Select the desirable format, then choose how you want to send the document: Email with Outlook or Send With Another App.
- If you select Email with Outlook, the email will be sent directly from your Outlook account. The second alternative takes you to the iOS Share Menu, where you can use either the iOS Mail app, the iMessage app or an online backup service, such as Dropbox, Airdrop or Google Drive.
Now that you are learning how to collaborate on Microsoft Office documents on iPad, you might be willing to find out more about how to use cloud storage services.
Share to View and Edit
If you want to collaboratively work on the document in full and have the recipient edit the document, then from OneDrive, tap the Share icon but select Invite People. Type the names of the recipients for them to get the invitation and gain access to the document. If you change your mind about the amount of access you want to give, then you can turn off the switch for Can Edit. Otherwise, you can just select Share to View only.
Share as a Link
Instead of sharing from OneDrive, you can generate a link. To do this, tap the Share icon in the upper-right corner and select Copy Link then from the next window. Select whether you want the recipient to be able to View only or View and Edit the document. After your selection, a permanent link is copied to your clipboard and can then be sent to the recipient via email, using a messaging app or in another file.
Collaboratively Working on the Microsoft Office Document on an iPad
Once you have sent the invite or email for the other person to gain access to the document, they will get the link to view it in OneDrive. Tapping on that option opens up the document in Microsoft Word. It can be edited or viewed depending on the type of access you gave when sharing. When you and the other person both work on the same document at the same time, editing it, a message will pop up on the screen to alert you. The same happens on the other end, and the recipient also gets a notification of your presence.
After sharing the document, Track Changes is automatically enabled. The feature comes with all the commands that you can use and see even when working from the computer. You and those working on the document get the same features at the same time.
The document has features that enable you to track and see the work being done by the other person. You can approve or reject the suggested changes in the document. All familiar track commands remain the same even when on iPad. This is an important feature that makes the work process easier and more professional in cases where a collaborative effort is involved.
You can open the document when your colleague closes it and be able to see all the changes and suggestions made. To do this, tap the Review menu, select Display for Review. Depending on the type of collaboration (colleague, overseer, lecturer, etc.), you can then select how you want to review the edited file: All Markup, No Markup or Original.
The different markup elements, including Comments, Insertions & Deletions, Ink and Formatting, will help you easily find the edited parts of the document. You can accept all the changes at once or go after each change, accepting or rejecting the alterations. Once the collaborative work is done, you can stop sharing the document. From the Share icon, select Shared With, select all the recipients currently on the list and select Remove. After doing so, you will be the only one with the ability to view and edit the document.