I had just settled down for a long winter’s nap, after making a list of how to be productive with this new iPad. There’s no question that it’s fun to use. Typing is fun, iBooks are fun, the new MythBuster HD app and the new CNN app, wow, even Weather is FUN. Now call me a Scrooge, but we need some Productive Fun, and not just FUN fun. The absence of WORD, PRINTING, or easy file transfer to another computer where you can find these things, really bogs productivity down. Hopefully I’ll get this fix-list out to you in time for the holidays.
First of all, thank god for DropBox. It’s a locker on the web for all your files, it’s free, and someday I’ll thank the 8th grader who told me about it. You should subscribe (www.getdropbox.com) even if you hate Macs and never plan to buy an iPad, and move all your files there. You’ll thank me.
And then there’s Pages, Apple’s $10 app, that substitutes nicely for Word. It handles complex layouts with text and images, in fact it’s amazing what you can do with 2 fingers, but most importantly, it saves documents in Word’s (.doc) format. You see where we’re heading.
In this wired world, it would make sense that these 2 programs would just love each other. And if a 3rd grade class wanted to save files, or maybe PRINT, they could just send their files to DropBox, avoiding the agony of emailing themselves (my 3rd graders don’t have email) or transferring with cables and iTunes, something NO 3rd grader is gonna do.
Well, they can’t!
Or at least I couldn’t, sitting there, all snug in my bed… until Black Friday, when things changed: Apple enabled printing from the iPad, the iPad price dropped for one day (so I could replace the one I’d “lost”), and DropDAV appeared.
That last one’s the biggie. At the risk of getting too technical, think of DropDAV as EasyPASS for Pages. It gets you over from Pages to DropBox in a much faster lane. And unlike EasyPASS, it’s free.
To use it go to DropDAV.com and sign up with your DropBox username and password. Back in Pages, when you export your document, tap Copy to WebDAV, an option that never worked before. In the box that opens, type your DropDAV credentials (just this one time) and your file is wirelessly copied to your locker in the Cloud.
And how do you OPEN a Word documents in Pages, you ask?It’s is a snap. Open the DropBox website on the iPad and double click the file. When a black button appears asking “Open in Pages?” click it. Aside from a minor font substitution, Pages does a nice job of keeping your Word formatting. Works for PowerPoint and Excel too, if you have Keynote and Numbers ($20).
So now go to DropBox and load your files. I’m sending this there as we speak, knowing productivity can happen, anywhere, anytime …except now, as I just settle down for a long winter’s nap.