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Make the most of MS Office on your iPad

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iPadAt just over a year old, the MS Office app remains a relatively new option for iPad users, but one that can really help you boost productivity when you can’t use your laptop or desktop computer.

To help you get the most out of the app and related functions, technology journalist Jeff Bertolucci explains how to:

• Open Office files from Dropbox. Tap the Office document you want within the Dropbox app, select “Open in ...” to open the Office app. Be careful: Office for iPad won’t let you save the doc back to Dropbox.

• Type faster. Take advantage of a third-party keyboard. If you’re more comfortable with Swype on your Android, try it on your iPad.

• Play a PowerPoint presentation using Dropbox. Tap the presentation you want to open. Then tap the “Share” icon, “Open in ...” and select PowerPoint. When it’s loaded, tap “Slideshow.”

• Tap OneNote as a scanner. This lets you get quick images and save them in a notebook. Activate the cursor by tapping the page in the OneNote notebook. Tap “INSERT” and then “Camera,” then snap your image. Crop, then tap the checkmark to add the image to your note.

• Export PDFs. Hit the “Share” icon, upper right, and select “Email as attachment” and “Send PDF.”

• Employ the laser pointer and ink pen tools for presentations. If you’re mirroring an iPad screen to a projector or monitor, tap and hold the screen to access the laser pointer. To annotate a slideshow, tap the pen icon and use your finger to write.

• Avoid a lot of typing by using voice dictation. Tap the microphone icon on the keyboard and speak carefully and clearly.

• Learn keyboard shortcuts to save time. For example, to use the apostrophe key, press and hold the comma/exclamation point key. Use the same technique for accent marks.

• Manipulate large spreadsheets with “freeze pane.” Tap to the right or below the columns and rows you want to freeze. Tap “View” and select “Freeze Panes,” and then choose what you want to freeze.    

— Adapted from “Office For iPad: 10 Tips,” Jeff Bertolucci, InformationWeek.

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