Help! Offline Word Editing on iPad

Discussion in 'iOS 11' started by Sofarsolar, Mar 14, 2018.

  1. Sofarsolar macrumors newbie

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    Mar 14, 2018
    #1
    I just got an iPad Pro to replace my 12” MacBook for travel. I love it, but it doesnt seem to do the following very basic thing: I want to be able to open any file and edit it while offline (on an airplane, for example) do my work, and then have my changes uploaded to the cloud when I next connect so I can continue working on my iMac when I’m in the office. I would like all my files stored on the device and I don’t care if I use Dropbox, iCloud, or OneDrive. But I want to open a Word file while offline and make edits to it (ideally using the Word iOS app) and I don’t want to create a copy of the document stored locally — I want to work on the document and then have those changes reflected in my cloud account when I’m home.

    It seems I need to be online to use Word, which is crazy. Perhaps there’s another app?

    This seems like very basic functionality, so perhaps I’m missing something? Thanks for any advice you can give.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 14, 2018 ---
    Ps: for reference, it seems I’m having the same problem as this person:
    https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...o-ipad-and-edit-offline-with-ms-word.2062829/
     
  2. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #2
    I've never used MS Office, but it's always worked that way with Pages (the way you want it)
     
  3. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #3
    I suspect that when you open Word, Microsoft has coded it such that it has to check with a Microsoft server to make sure you are authorized to use it.
     
  4. 370zulu macrumors regular

    370zulu

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    #4
    Admittedly I haven’t used it in a while, but I thought Dropbox did this natively? I mean cached locally and updated changes to cloud incrementally.
     
  5. Sofarsolar thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 14, 2018
    #5
    I will look into Pages. If that’s the way it works, I’ll switch my iPad word-processing to Pages. It seems pretty lame not to be able to open a file that I can plainly see on my iPad. But that might be a limitation of the ms Word app on iOS.
     
  6. NoBoMac macrumors 68020

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    Jul 1, 2014
    #6
    Pretty much so. Just tested this.

    Tie the mobile MS Office app(s) to Dropbox account. Pull up file from Dropbox with the MS app, the file will now be cached under "Recents". Put device into Airplane Mode. Pull-up and edit document from Recents, exit out of document and file will be listed as "Upload Pending" pending back on a network.

    ADD: oddly, MS's own apps seem to not be able to handle offline mode with their own Live/One drive in a nice manner (ie. file disappears from Recents when offline, shows back up when back online).
     
  7. Sofarsolar thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 14, 2018
    #7
    Right. But this is *not* a solution for those files that haven’t ever been opened on the iPad. Here’s the workflow: start a document on desktop and save to Dropbox folder. Grab laptop, jump on plane, and ALL files are available on the laptop including the recently created one, and can be edited on the laptop without having first been opened on the laptop. Not so for the iPad, which seems really odd.
     
  8. NoBoMac macrumors 68020

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    Jul 1, 2014
    #8
    Not odd. Just a reasonable design choice.

    Something missing from your workflow: turn on laptop before getting on plane to get documents synced. So in that regard, closer to iPad-like in that the documents won't magically be there when it's powered up on a plane.

    That aside, the design choice is that the mobile device will most likely be more constrained on storage vs. pc, especially if one already has put a ton of pictures, music, apps on the device. And you might also be "constrained" to cellular networking. So, to help prevent going over network caps (not everyone and or country has "cheap" unlimited plans) and to prevent filling up the device with something that is not needed (eg. the sync process might bring over some of the documents, but might fill the device before getting the important/needed ones) it's up to the user to determine what is needed.
     
  9. Sofarsolar thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 14, 2018
    #9
    There’s nothing about this that is a reasonable design choice.

    Look, I can get my files on the iPad using one of the cloud services. The thing I can’t seem to do is open them and work on them with the MS Office iOS app while offline. That seems silly, and it has nothing to do with design choices about iPad or iOS. It is likely attributed to either: (1) MS not being great or (2) MS wanting to confirm my 365 subscription online every time I open a new document.
     
  10. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #10

    If the cloud thingy has already locally stored the document when you try and open it offline in Office, that's definitely MS being bollocks
     
  11. CrashTestWalrus, Mar 14, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018

    CrashTestWalrus macrumors regular

    CrashTestWalrus

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    Mar 1, 2018
    #11
    I was trying this out myself because I have a long plane ride on Saturday. My setup is my files are in OneDrive and I marked a couple folders to be available offline. I can open them directly from inside of OneDrive, or the files app on iOS 11. If I open Word and want to work with the files I have to open it from the more spot and then find my OneDrive files in that interface. It all seemed to work fine, though. The changes get saved locally then synced once I reconnect. What type of setup are you looking to work with?

    On second thought, maybe it doesn’t sync properly. The files I opened show up in the recents and the location text say more. The changes I made open with the files directly in word, but they don’t seem to be syncing to anything. I am going to submit some feedback to Microsoft about it, they have been fairly responsive about that sort of thing in the past.
     
  12. Mayanja macrumors regular

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    Jun 30, 2017
    #12
    The only safe way to do this is to store the files in iCloud Drive using the More option from within Word. Make sure to only select iCloud Drive. Although theoretically all storage providers should work offline, their implementstions are buggy and faulty, and don't work well offline.

    iCloud Drive is very stable to work with offline files. Make sure you place your files there before you go offline, and open them from within Word using More. That will work.
     
  13. CrashTestWalrus macrumors regular

    CrashTestWalrus

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    Mar 1, 2018
    #13
    You would think that Microsoft’s own OneDrive would let you do this properly but it doesn’t. When I have files stored for offline use then go into airplane mode I can view them fine, hit edit and it tells me I need to be connected to the internet. Super frustrating. I’ll try moving some to iCloud Drive and see if that works any better for me. The only problem in my workflow with using iCloud Drive is that at some point I will need to move them back to onedrive since that’s what my team uses so the file has to make its way back at some point.
     
  14. Mayanja macrumors regular

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    Jun 30, 2017
    #14
    That you can do from within the Files app once you are back online.

    One other solution you could use is Documents 5, which also integrates into the Files app, and therefore can be used in Word under More. From there you can also move the file back to OneDrive.

    And yes it's silly. It's also silly that Word still doesn't support open in place, i.e. opening and edit a file in Word directly from the Files alp (rather than a copy).
     
  15. CrashTestWalrus macrumors regular

    CrashTestWalrus

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    Mar 1, 2018
    #15
    Yeah, I get that I could do it from the files app. It’s still silly that I would need to, though. I also agree with the word not being able to edit in place. I wonder if that is a sand boxing thing in iOS, though?
     
  16. macfacts macrumors 68040

    macfacts

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    #16
    Or (3) a limitation of iOS.
     
  17. Mayanja macrumors regular

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    Jun 30, 2017
    #17
    Supposedly, Microsoft prefers their 'backstage' view which isn't fully compatible with the Files app or the document picker. Although I think there are ways they can do both.
     
  18. 960design, Mar 15, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018

    960design macrumors 68030

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    #18
    I use Pages, Keynote and Numbers and Files App to work offline on iPP10.5.

    I'm surrounded by 15,000 Windows computers, it is hell to work here:
    https://960design.com/macrumors/DellNHell/
     
  19. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    Horsens, Denmark
    #19

    I can say for a fact that isn't the case. iOS has its limitations, but with iOS 11 at least, what the OP wants is totally possible. I don't know how far back it's been possible, I think it hasn't really been fully achievable (easily anyways) before iOS 11, but with iOS 11 it's actually fairly trivial to do, if you use Apple's APIs for documents.
     
  20. Mayanja macrumors regular

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    Jun 30, 2017
    #20
    Correct. I have been doing it since iCloud Drive and the document picker were introduced in iOS 8 I believe. But only on iCloud Driveor using the Documents 5 app. None of the major storage providers (Box, DropBox, OneDrive, Google Drive) implement offline scenarios correctly. But it can be done.
     

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19 March 14, 2018