SkyDrive lets you store Word and Excel documents online in the cloud. You can edit them directly using a web browser on your PC, but editing them on an iPad is a challenge. We show you how to do this for free.
For many iPad owners, the ability to edit Microsoft Word and Excel documents on their shiny Apple tablet is an elusive hope. Or at least, it is if they fancy doing it for free.
SkyDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage service. It lets you store documents, including photos, music files, and Word and Excel docs safely online, where you can access them from any computer.
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Microsoft’s SkyDrive iPad app
The SkyDrive iPad and iPhone app is a frustrating fellow. It’s neatly designed and works well enough for what it does, but has some serious limitations.
It lets you view all of the files you have stored on SkyDrive, which is handy for sure. But it doesn’t let you edit Word or Excel files at all.
This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, I suppose. Why would Microsoft willingly give Apple iPad users the keys to Word and Excel free of charge?
Editing SkyDrive with Google Chrome for iOS
Since you can’t edit Word or Excel files saved on SkyDrive through the iPad Safari web browser, a change of browser can help.
Install Google Chrome to your iPad or iPhone (free from the Apple App Store), then log into your Microsoft account through Chrome. Select SkyDrive from the top menu once you’re logged in, then select to view the full web page, rather than the mobile version.
In practice, however, this gives you a fairly unsatisfying editing experience. The browser runs slowly even editing a simple Word document, and you’re left with precious little screen space, particularly if you attempt this on an iPhone.
Success! – editing SkyDrive documents on an iPad with CloudOn
Salvation comes in the shape of a completely free app called CloudOn. Personally, I could hug the developers for pulling this app off without charging a penny.
CloudOn lets you log in to your SkyDrive account (or Dropbox or Google Drive, for that matter), and edit documents directly through the app.
Editing Word documents on an iPad is a breath of fresh air. Any changes you make will be saved and synced via your SkyDrive account .
You can insert comments, track changes, format fonts and paragraphs, and above all, edit away to your heart’s content.
It’s a much smoother experience on an iPad than on an iPhone, and the smaller iPhone screen doesn’t lend itself so well to editing documents like this. But it puts a smile on my face to even have the option!
Do you have any tips and tricks for editing Microsoft Documents on an iPad? Have you abandoned Microsoft for Google Docs and never looked back? Let us know in the comment box below.