I am continuing to get the iPad (s aapl) more integrated into my production routine, and finding it pretty useful at many things. The iPad lacks a file system as many will point out, and that does present a challenge for building a fully productive environment. I am getting around that shortcoming using a tool I recently implemented for file-sharing among multiple computers. SugarSync is a cloud service that keeps folders on computers in sync, while providing a cloud backup of the files. There is an iPad app for SugarSync that works well with the service, and I am using it to access my files from the iPad.
Once the SugarSync app is installed, a simple login is all that is required to get access to every file I have in sync with the service. This is all of my documents, photos, movies and music that I use on both the Mac and Windows PC. Most of the documents are Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint (s msft) and Adobe PDFs (s adbe), all of which I can use on the iPad.
I have over 20 GB of files on SugarSync and I don’t want them on the iPad with the limited memory. I don’t even want a few of them, I prefer to just grab a file as needed. I open the SugarSync app on the iPad and search for the file I want. Tapping it gives the option to view it or email it. If I only need to refer to something in the file I simply view it. The viewer handles DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, PPT and PDF formats with ease and displays them nicely. It probably handles other formats, but these are the ones I have tried.
If I need to edit the file, I send it to myself via email through the app. This is handled internally in SugarSync and works OK, although I wish it remembered common email addresses I send files to. Once it’s sent I open the Mail app and tap on the document link in the preview pane. This opens the file in the web browser, along with a button to open it in the appropriate iWork app if installed. You have to be really quick to hit this button, as once it disappears it’s gone forever. If you miss it you have to go back and hit the email file link again to hit the button. Once the document opens in iWork, the full editing features are available and the file is saved locally.
This method has worked well so far, and I am using it more than I thought I would. I always have various files in progress on the Mac, and just keeping them in the Documents folder automatically syncs them to SugarSync. I wish the process was as simple as pushing a single button, but it will do for now.
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