How to PDF Microsoft Office files on your iPad

Are you a Microsoft Office user on the iPad? Given how many downloads Microsoft has had since their release I am sure than a few of you out there. If so, have you noticed that Microsoft does not provide a Save-as PDF option in any of its Office apps for the iPad? I discovered this myself the hard way recently when I was working up a few presentations and a document for a board meeting. Being the iPad person that I am I was determined to find a way to do this on my iPad rather than breaking out the laptop. After much trial and error I came across two ways, one extremely simple and one a bit more complex. It would be easier for me to just describe the easier one, but the more complicated process has some value as well. Read on to learn two methods to create PDFs from your Office documents directly on your

There are two methods to create a PDF from Microsoft Office files, the first involves the use of apps called FileBrowser and PDF PROvider as well as OneDrive and Dropbox. The second process only involves creating your file and then locating that file in I will be reviewing FileBrowser in the near future, but in summary it allows you to see all of your various cloud accounts in one place and like a PC allows you to move files been the various services, including OneDrive. I have been using the second app PDF PROvider for several years as a way to convert Office files emailed to me to PDF using “Open-In”. There are surely other apps that can accomplish the conversion, but this is the one I am most familiar with and one I know can access Dropbox directly. The basic process using FileBrowser and PDF PROvider is as follows.

  1. Download and installed FileBrowser and PDF PROvider. Connect FileBrowser to your OneDrive and Dropbox accounts. Connect PDF PROvider to your Dropbox account.
  2. Create a Word, Excel or Powerpoint document on your iPad and save it a OneDrive folder.
  3. Open FileBrowser and locate your file in OneDrive, select it by hitting the small icon to the right of the file name. Select the Copy option. FB
  4. Navigate to Dropbox and select a directory to copy the file to.
  5. Open PDF PROvider and find your file in Dropbox after clicking the Documents button on the top left-side of the screen.
  6. Click the arrow to the right of your file name and select Convert to PDF. convertPDF
  7. Click the PDF button on the top right of the screen. Find your file and click the arrow again to the right of the file.
  8. Select Open-in and navigate to OneDrive and select the appropriate location to store the file. You could also choose Dropbox if you would rather store the PDF here. However, you could skip this step and simply email the file where ever you need it. However, if you want to save the file elsewhere follow this additional step. As you will notice, PDF PROvider does not allow you to move the file back to your Dropbox account for some reason, it keeps the files it has converted resident within the app.
  9. That’s it!

Check out this short video that walks you through the steps:


The second way to create a PDF from an Office file on your iPad involves accessing your OneDrive account from Here are the steps.

  1. Create a Word, Excel or Powerpoint document on your iPad and save it a OneDrive folder.
  2. Open, click on the OneDrive icon an navigate to your file. one
  3. Open the file and click Print. Microsoft automatically converts the file to a PDF and presents you with the option to preview the file. PDF
  4. Click Preview and then click Open-In. Select OneDrive and upload your file to your chosen directory.
  5. You now have a PDF version of your Office file in OneDrive!


Check out this short video that walks you through the steps:


That’s it. Yes, the first process is a bit more involved, but it does show you how to move files between cloud services using the very useful FileBrowser. However, the second process is a lot easier and quicker.

Have you noticed the lack of a save-as PDF option in Office for the iPad? Have you found an easier method to convert files?

DISCLOSURE: The links above are affiliate links. This means that I earn a few cents if you click the link and purchase the app. This costs you nothing but it helps me keep this site running.


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SEVEN reasons to choose Microsoft Onenote instead of Evernote

I love Evernote, in fact I credit my Evernote productivity journey on the iPad as being a big reason for my blog’s growth over the years. I even published an ebook focused on leveraging Evernote on the iPad. But, the sad reality is that many corporate executives can not use Evernote to organize their notes across their own devices due to corporate security policies. Unfortunately for me my company is one of them. However I do have access to Microsoft Office 2010 at work and with it Microsoft Onenote. I also am able to use Microsoft Onedrive as well. Because of the potentially large numbers of corporate users that can not use Evernote on their iDevices and the fact that Microsoft Office is still the corporate standard for many people, I figured it was time to check out Onenote. Can I leverage my iPad and Onenote to access my work notes without using the public cloud? Can I manage my tasks using Exchange and Onenote on my iDevices? Can Onenote leverage my work Sharepoint sites and allow me to share notes and information as easily as Evernote allows me to? These are the questions I will seek to answer in my next series of posts.

Have you ever tried Onenote? Ever heard of Onenote? I had noticed the icon on my desktop and most all screens in MS Exchange since upgrading to 2010 a few years ago. Being the Evernote nerd that I am, I never felt the inclination to try Onenote out until recently. The Evernote hack as well as the growing realization that there are many people who can not access Evernote from their work computers has me thinking twice about Onenote. In addition to more security, there appear to be many additional reasons to consider Onenote as a valid notetaking app. Here are seven that I have come up with so far.

  1. Microsoft Onenote is included with corporate editions of Microsoft Office.
  2. Onenote 2010 and later versions have a very simple interface and is easy to use for Evernote veterans.
  3. Onenote is cohesively integrated with most aspects of Microsoft Office including Exchange, Sharepoint and Onedrive.
  4. Onenote includes some of the important features of Evernote including notebooks, tags, tasks, note linking and searching capabilities.
  5. Onenote can integrate across iOS devices via Microsoft Onedrive.
  6. Onenote integrates directly with Exchange Tasks. This means that tasks created within Onenote automatically create tasks in Apple Reminders if you have integrated your Exchange Account directly on your iDevices.
  7. As I mentioned, Onenote can sync via the public Onedrive which has the same security challenges that Evernote and Dropbox do. However, Onenote also supports sync’ing via Onenote Business and Sharepoint. This means that if your company supports Office 365 or provides internet access to Sharepoint, you can leverage Onenote securely and have the same convenience that Evernote provides.

That’s my seven reasons and I am sure there are more. Check out this post for some further thoughts on Onenote on the iPad as I have been using Onenote now for almost a year across my work laptop and my various iPads. I can’t say that I like Onenote as much as Evernote, but I can say that Onenote has provided me a secure way to access my work notes across all of my devices.

Have you been using Onenote on your iPad? What has worked? What hasn’t?

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Project Management with Trello on the iPad


Its been a few weeks since my Trello review and its seems that Trello is starting to work quite well for my team. As a review the goal of the Trello is to provide graphical representation of projects as well as a place to document progress and further define work. I originally tried Trello to improve our antiquated Excel-based project process adding the ability to access project information on iOS devices. I also wanted a tool that would allow my disparate team to access project documents irrespective of whether the team member is connected to the corporate network. Trello is absolutely meeting these goals and is beginning to increase the collaboration of my team members. What follows is a summary of the way we are using Trello to manage each of our projects. Hopefully the following will provide you some ideas on how Trello can be used to manage your own projects.

  1. Each board is organized with the following lists; Inbox, Critical, High, Medium, Low, Doing, Done and Future. With new tasks we quickly categorize them into one of the categories. The point of the Inbox card is to provide a place for capture until we have had the time to define where the task/card sits.
  2. Once work begins on a card/task it is moved from one of the priority categories to Doing. This allows us to know what is in process vs. what is on the backlog waiting to get done.
  3. Once a card/task is done move it to the Done List.
  4. If a particular card/task has multiple steps a checklist is added to further break up the work. If an item on a checklist is too large we use the option to breakup a checklist to a task/card. checklistcard
  5. We are just starting to use the attachments functionality within Trello. This is really useful to have reference and other material for a task available from within a card.
  6. The comments section of each card is a running commentary of notes and discussions across team members. I think the comments section is one of the most useful features of Trello.
  7. We are using the due date feature to define work that needs to be completed by a certain date as well as to define what needs to be completed this week. Once the date is set you can filter Trello by entering this query in the search box; due:week. Unfortunately you can only do this in the web version. However, this does work from the browser on an iPad. filter
  8. Trello provides some other cool ways to filter and search boards. Just place your cursor in the filter box and click learn more for additional ways to filter. Information on search filters can be found on this page.

That's it for now. Hopefully the above will give you some ideas on how to setup Trello for your own projects. However, if you are using Trello now and have some better ideas on project setup please feel free to share in the Comments.


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10 reasons why 1password is the best password manager for the iPad


1Password is the best password and security manager I have used. I resisted 1Password for years due to its relatively high price compared to some of its competing products, but after using KeePass for years I finally decided to take the 1Password leap. The switch to 1Password took a bit of time to transfer passwords between apps, but once completed I have been pleasantly surprised at home much functionality 1Password has compared to the open-source KeePass. What follows are 10 reasons why I think 1Password is superior to most other password managers.

  1. 1Password is produced by a stable company with a solid business model. It is has been reviewed by some well-known sites and is recommended by well respected internet authorities.
  2. 1Password has versions across most technology environments. I currently use 1Password on my iPad, iPhone and home Mac and I bet many IT organizations would allow 1Password on work computers simply because it seeks to make password practices more secure.
  3. 1Password’s included browser works extremely well and I have not found one site that hasn’t worked. In fact, 1Password is a faster way to login and access sites that I use frequently. I have added my work email Outlook access as well as several other blog-related sites that I access frequently. Instead of having to remember multiple passwords I simply delegate this to 1Password logging once into 1Password and then clicking on each site’s link. This launches 1Password’s browser and then automatically logs me into the requested site.
  4. 1Password shares data either via iCloud or Dropbox. This could be an issue for those of you hoping to install 1Password on a Windows machine and share it with your iOS devices. If this is what you want to do, check out this tutorial on the 1Password site.
  5. 1Password makes it easy to organize and find your passwords. If you are like me, you have many passwords across your professional and personal lives. 1Password has a folders function where you can organize passwords in any way that makes sense to you. Additionally, 1Password includes a search field on the top of each screen throughout the app.
  6. Not only does 1Password store your logins and password, it also stores notes, router info, database info, SSNs, etc. In fact, take a look at the current options 1Password has for storing sensitive information. Each of these different categories is basically a form customized for each piece of information.types
  7. 1Password supports multiple data vaults. This is especially convenient for those who like to keep information organized into separate buckets or its a great way to share the same install of 1Password across multiple family members on one computer.
  8. 1Password will automatically take a URL in the clipboard and ask whether it should be opened in 1Password. Once you open a URL into 1Password just click on the key in the upper right side of the screen to have 1Password apply your userid and password.
  9. 1Password will generate strong passwords using your own recipe that can be adjusted according to password length, digits and numbers. Allowing 1Password to create your passwords eliminates the drudgery of coming up with your own strong passwords. newpwd
  10. And finally, 1Password for the Mac has a cool password auditing feature that reviews all of the passwords in your cabinet according to strength, duplicate passwords and passwords you have not changed in a while. audit

That’s all I have come up with so far and I am sure there are more reasons why 1Password excels as a password manager in this age of internet risk. Have you tried 1Password yet? Do you have additional reasons why 1Password is the best password manager?

DISCLOSURE: The links above are affiliate links. This means that I earn a few cents if you click the link and purchase the app. This costs you nothing but it helps me keep this site running.

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Yes, you can manage complicated projects on the iPad with Trello!

I have been struggling to find a good project management tool at work that is better than our current spreadsheets. I have employees that are both inside of and outside of the corporate firewall which makes it difficult to share project information without the need for emailing. I have embarked on a quest to find a better project management tool that also allows for easy collaboration on the iPad. There are many options out there including Basecamp, Asana, Producteev and Flow, none of which I have tried. In addition to these well-known options I ran across an app called Trello which is a combination of a project tracker and a team collaboration tool. It appears to have equally robust web and iPad versions along with an interesting design. Will Trello solve our project management woes; read on to find out.

Trello is a free online collaboration tool that makes its money either by upgrading to Trello Gold or upgrading to Trello Business Class. Trello Gold adds the ability to have larger attachments, custom card backgrounds, card “stickers” and emoji. For an individual Trello Gold is $5 per month or free if you invite other users to Trello. In addition to Gold, Trello Business Class adds the following:

  • Additional security
  • The ability for administrators to fine-tune access and security for team members
  • Connectivity to Google Apps
  • Bulk data export to CSV and JSON
  • Easy board sharing with clients and non-members

Even with all of these additional features, I am surprised at how full-featured the free version of Trello is. With the free version, Trello has included most of the key benefits of the service including the ability to create cards on a board via email. This makes me a bit nervous on how things will evolve for Trello from a monetization perspective; i.e. will they have enough paying customers? And I worry about getting dependent on a product not backed by a larger and more established company. A perfect example of this is the closing of the Springpad service.


Trello is very flexible and is organized by creating boards for major projects. Each board can then have a number of cards that represent individual tasks within a project and each card has checklists, attachments and comments. This organization is what I find most compelling about Trello. With individual rows in a spreadsheet or project plan, a project manager or team member only has very limited abilities to further break down and classify tasks. Trello provides an extremely flexible way to dig down into the details on all aspects of work. The interface works just as well between the iPad app and the web version as well as the iPhone version. The best way to think of the distinction between the versions is that the web is used for overall administration in addition to project management and the iPad/iPhone versions are used for just project management with limited administration features. The good news however is that the administration features can be accessed via Safari on the iPad; great for those users that prefer to work iPad-only.


After using Trello now for over a week and after having added one of our critical projects I can definitely see how powerful Trello can be as a project management tool. It is extremely easy to use for the average user and it almost makes project management fun. The difference between the web and iPad versions is minimal and as I mentioned above it is very easy to move cards between lists within a board. This is cool and makes it much easier to manage more complicated projects and absolutely more fun than using Excel or even MS Project. Plus, the ability to add endless comments on each card by team members as well as checklists and attachments makes for a very powerful work organization tool. Trello does not really replace high-end PM tools like Project as it does not do things like effort, percent complete, create Gantt Charts, etc. However, for team-based projects that require interaction across many team members Trello appears to be a very easy and fun way to keep track of projects with multiple tasks. I am ready to upgrade my organization to the Business version to show my support for this great product.

Have you tried Trello? If not, are you using an iPad-based project management tool for yourself and/or your team?


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The BakBone, a great way to hold your iPad on the go!



Have you ever struggled to hold your iPad when walking around or simply wondered why it had to be so slippery? Have you encased your iPad in a bulky case to insulate it from the risk of being dropped? I certainly have; of the three iPads we now have one of them is in the uber-protective Otterbox Defender, the second is in an old Brookstone pseudo-leather case and my new iPad Air is in a Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio. Even with all of this protection, I still struggle to hold each of them when I want to be standing while tapping and swiping. This is where the BakBone comes in, to create a solid and elegant way to hold your iPad when on the go. And, the Designed and Made in the USA BakBone provides a great way to prop up your iPad for reading and typing. Read on to hear more thoughts on this great little accessory.


The BakBone was design by an ER Physician who needed a solution to securely hold an iPad while rounding. Additionally Dr. Paul Webber needed a solution that did not have any porous features or nooks and crannies that could harbor germs and fluids. Not only that, Dr. Webber needed a solution that could sterilized between patients. Having worked in a hospital myself for over seven years, I am very familiar with the pace ER physicians practice at and the diversity of patients they see and care over a short period of time. Being in the iPad industry now, since 2011, I am somewhat familiar with what is out there in this space. I reviewed a product called the Tablet Claw back in 2012. Looking back at that post and the Tablet Claw I can honestly say that there is absolutely no comparison in design and usability between these two products. One is a giant piece of plastic that must be forced onto an iPad and the other is a small little handle that can be quickly and easily removed. Both products do exactly the same thing, one svelte and understated and the other is overbuilt and bulky.


Given the huge difference in design between the two devices, you may be wondering how the BakBone works. The secret is the combination of a magnetic disk that is affixed to the back of the iPad using a 3M adhesive patch. The process is to clean the back of the iPad using an included alcohol pad (hopefully not swiped from central distribution at one of Dr. Webber's hospitals), remove the backing on the 3M adhesive patch and then press and hold the handle for a few minutes. According to the instructions, the BakBone will be safe to use within 20 minutes and then will be completely set for hard core use within 24 hours. That's it. After having surpassed the 24 hours on my iPad, I can definitely say that the handle feels plenty secure. The disk does not feel like it is going anywhere and the magnetic handle is more than strong enough to adequately hold your iPad at whatever angle you chose. This brings up another feature of the BakBone, 360 degree adjustability; just twist it until you find the perfect angle for your needs. When removed, the disk is only a few millimeters high and it is definitely thin enough to fit with existing cases like the Brookstone or the Logitech.


Overall, I am surprised at how well such a simple design solves a problem. I remember hearing David Sparks say that sometimes the best products are the ones that an inventor creates to “scratch his own itch”;. Dr. Webber certainly had an itch that I am glad he scratched. Even though I am not a clinician myself, I do have a need for the BakBone for the presentations I give and more importantly for my little league scorekeeper sessions using Game Changer. If you want a bit more detail on Dr. Webber's story, check out this wonderful review and interview.

Have you ever wanted a solution for holding an iPad while standing or presenting?

DISCLOSURE: Dr. Webber generously provided a free BakBone for this review. However, I receive no affiliate income from your purchase if you choose to buy one yourself.


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