How to Use iCloud with Microsoft Office Files

Microsoft has recently updated the Microsoft Office apps for iOS and now makes it possible to use iCloud Drive to sync Office files from a Mac or PC to an iPad or iPhone. We’ll show users how they can take advantage of the new feature so they can work on Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint files on a Mac or Windows PC and then open them on an iPad or iPhone.

This guide assumes the user has Microsoft Office 2013 or Office 365 for Windows or Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac. It should also work with older versions of Office for Windows. The user must use the latest versions of iOS apps.

Get Microsoft Office for iPad or iPhone using the following App Store links:

We assume that the user will start by creating the document on their computer. It is possible to create a file on an iOS device and then open it on a computer, but the user must save the file to OneDrive or Dropbox and open the file from OneDrive or Dropbox on their computer. iOS apps do not yet allow users to save to iCloud on their iPad or iPhone.

To save files to OneDrive or Dropbox, create a document, spreadsheet, or presentation, then tap the back arrow in the upper-left corner of the Word, Excel, or PowerPoint application. This opens the screen where users can save their files. Choose OneDrive or Dropbox to save the file. Open the file from OneDrive or Dropbox folder on Mac or PC.

Install the appropriate software by downloading it from: Dropbox or OneDrive.

Saving Files to iCloud on Windows

User needs to set up iCloud on Windows machine first. Use the steps Apple provides Download Windows software this adds iCloud to Windows. Install the software and log into an Apple iCloud account.

icloud on windows

The iCloud settings app will create a link to iCloud Drive within the Windows User folder. It also sets up the synchronization of Photos, Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Tasks and Bookmarks for their default browsers.

Users who expect to store too many files in iCloud Drive should consider upgrading. Click the Storage link in the dialog shown above to upgrade. The service comes with 5GB free. Upgrade for a monthly fee.

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iCloud storage options

Buy 20GB for $0.99/month, 200GB for $3.99, 500GB for $9.99 or 1TB for $19.99.

Now that we have iCloud on Windows PC set up, go ahead and open one of the Microsoft Office programs and open a file or create a new document that you want to use on an iPad or iPhone. Then save this file in iCloud Drive folder on PC created by iCloud Drive installer. Find it in the Windows Users folder. For example, the installer put mine in C:\Users\Kevin\iCloudDrive.

I put a shortcut to iCloud Drive in my Quick Access section in Explorer by opening Explorer and dragging the folder to the Quick Access section on the left side of the Explorer window.

create an icloud drive shortcut in quick access

Open the C:\Users\YourUsername\ folder and drag the iCloud Drive folder to the Quick Access section on the left side of the Explorer window.

I’m doing this in Windows 10 Technical Preview, but Windows 8 and Windows 7 should look very similar to the screenshot above.

Now, from a Microsoft Office application, click and and and . This opens a dialog used to save the file. Use the Quick Access shortcut to easily find the iCloud Drive folder or locate it inside the User folder. Hit it and it will save the file and then upload it to iCloud Drive.

If you want a local copy of the file and an iCloud copy, save the file in your default documents folder as well.

How to Save Files to iCloud on Mac

Saving files on Mac works like Windows, but OS X Yosemite users don’t need to install any software. This will not work on OS X versions older than Yosemite.

To save a file from a Microsoft application, first create the file or open one from the computer. When you’re done editing the file, click the menu and then select .

save files to icloud drive on mac

Find iCloud Drive in the left column and select .

These steps will save the file to iCloud Drive and make it available in Microsoft Office apps on an iPad or iPhone. It will also make it available for any other computer with iCloud Drive.

To save a local copy and an iCloud copy, make sure to save it in the default documents folder as well as iCloud Drive.

Saving Files to iCloud with a Web Browser

Some people may want to upload files to their iCloud Drive from a computer that does not have iCloud Drive. Maybe the person is using a friend’s computer or a shared computer.

Open a web browser and navigate to: Sign in and click iCloud Drive from the icons table.

icloud driver on

The screen shows the folders of all iCloud Drive-enabled apps installed on your iOS devices. Users can also create their own folders.

Click the upload button at the top of the screen to upload a file to sync with other computers or an iOS device.

icloud driver in a web browser

The upload button looks like an arrow pointing to a cloud. It’s just above and to the left of the word iCloud Drive in the top picture. Clicking the button opens a dialog. Find the file and then click on it and the site will upload the file. It’s now available on iPad or iPhone apps and on any computer with iCloud Drive, or through any browser.

Accessing Files on iPad or iPhone

Open a Microsoft Office application such as Word. Tap (left on iPad version and bottom on iPhone version) and then tap .

microsoft word for ipad icloud driver

The Open button appears to the left of the iPad app, as seen above or at the bottom of the screen on the iPhone.

Tapping on it opens the iCloud dialog (see iPad version below). Find the file and tap to open it.

microsoft office for iphone icloud drive folder

Edit the file after opening it and then tap the back arrow in Word, Excel or PowerPoint; the app will automatically update the file in iCloud. The Mac or PC then updates the copy stored on the computer from the cloud, keeping it up to date.

Moyens Staff
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