15 Serious Productivity Tips for new (and old) iPad Owners - TabletProductive.com

15 Serious Productivity Tips for new (and old) iPad Owners


Productivity Tips for new (and old) iPad Owners

I have come to a revelation lately, that most people have no idea how to use their iPads for things other than surfing the internet. Regular readers of my blog are the exception of course. I know this for two reasons. First, most professionals do not have the time to sit down and master their surprisingly simple yet truly complicated devices. And two, the iPad is a very different user experience than the PC most everyone uses for work. Yes, my iPad Productivity eBook will help those already comfortable with their iPads; but, what about those people who would not even think to search the Internet for iPad tips? Consider this post a prequel to my iPad Productivity eBook and a sequel to your first or second Genius Bar Session.

NOTES: The first step in getting efficient on your iPad is to get comfortable taking notes.

  1. My recommended option for new iPad people is Apple Notes. First, Notes syncs with your iCloud account. Second, Notes is very quick and conceptually (and visually) similar to using a legal pad. Once a note is done, you can email it to yourself for further processing. Or, you could keep your notes on your iPad and then access them from iCloud from your computers. Here is a great resource on iCloud on Apple’s Website.
  2. For those already comfortable with Apple Notes and the iPad the best solution for taking and storing notes on your iPad is Evernote. Mastering Evernote requires setup on all your devices and presumes that your IT department has not blocked your ability to install Evernote on your work computer. There are excellent eBook options that teach you how to use Evernote, specifically Daniel E. Gold’s eBook. The other reason to use Evernote to track your notes is that you can use any number of front-end apps to get information into Evernote including hand-writing apps and text editors.
  3. If you are not comfortable typing on your iPad give MyScript Memo a try. This is a hand-writing app that translates your writing to text. The free version works just as well as the paid one, but forces you to write in portrait mode. The workflow is that you write a note, convert to text and then send to yourself (or Evernote) via email.
  4. There are many other notetaking apps to try including Paper, Penultimate, and NotetakerHD; try any of these and choose the one that you like.

TASKS: Have trouble keeping track of your to-do lists? Your iPad can help!

  1. Just like Apple Notes is a great place to start with Notes, Apple Reminders is a great place to start with tasks. First, Apple Reminders syncs well between your iPad/iPhone using iCloud. Second, if you are an Microsoft Exchange user, Reminders syncs well with Outlook. If you are using Exchanges Tasks, turn off iCloud Task sync’ing and then default to Exchange. If you don’t use Exchange, Reminders sync’s reliably using iCloud to your iPhone. There are tons of other task managers out there, but using Reminders/Tasks is the simplest and cheapest (FREE).
  2. Evernote is a wonderful way to track tasks, but it used to be complicated until Evernote finally released its own Reminders functionality. If you are interested in Evernote for task management check out this post as it provides an overview of my own task management process as well as a few others. Some other resources including Daniel E. Gold’s eBook and The Secret Weapon eBook.


  1. There are two options for document access that I use regularly, iWork and QuickOfficeHD. iWork is Apple’s iOS productivity suite that is compatible with their own MAC-based Suite and iWork is also compatible with Microsoft Office Documents. That said, I have found issues editing large, chart and picture-heavy documents in iOS Pages. I can edit the documents in Pages but once I try to access them back on my work computer the formatting is often altered in negative ways. The most recent update of iWork has added track changes support which does work well.
  2. I find myself using QuickOffice a lot more than iWork as QuickOffice seems to do a better job with graphics-heavy documents. Another excellent feature of QuickOffice is that it allows you to save and access documents from different locations including Evernote, Dropbox, Box, Shareplus, etc.
  3. I have had excellent success with Keynote over the past few years including developing complete presentations from the ground up on my iPad. Keynote also allows for remote slide control using a paired iPhone which is very cool if you are presenting while standing up with your iPad connected to a projector.

Work Files

  1. I use Sharepoint extensively and have my own Sharepoint Site for all of my projects. This allows me to edit/access documents for work without taking the documents outside of my work network. I love cloud services like iCloud, Dropbox and Box, but for confidential work documents I prefer to keep files within my work network.
  2. As I wrote in this post Shareplus and QuickOffice are great tools to access corporate documents on the go.
  3. If you do not use Sharepoint at work, using QuickOffice alone is a great option for iPad document access. Check out this blog post for some instructions on how to connect QuickOffice to Dropbox and other document sharing services.


  1. There are many PDF document options with GoodReader and PDFprovider being an excellent combination. I use both of these apps constantly with my workflow documented here. Another great resource to compare PDF apps is this post on iPad4lawyers.
  2. In summary, Goodreader allows you to access/view/annotate PDFs that are sent to you via email, are stored on Dropbox or on some other cloud service. You can then access, annotate (i.e. sign documents) with Good and then forward the documents via email. As you can see in the ipad4lawyers post, there are many other PDF tools for the iPad, but Good is a great tool that has been around a long time and one that I use constantly. Good also allows you to view and access other document types and sync them via Dropbox.
  3. PDFprovider allows you to convert non PDFs to PDFs from your email and then access these documents on using GoodReader. Think of PDFprovider as the gateway app to allow you to leverage PDFs on your iPad whether you use Good or some other PDF app.

Do a search on iPad Productivity and you will see pages and pages of posts on apps to buy and processes to implement…kind of overwhelming really. If you want to use your iPad at work, ignore all of the noise and decide on your own system using the above categories. Everyone works differently, everyone has a different aptitude for technology, and EVERYONE is capable of getting more efficient with the iPad. At a minimum start taking notes and then evolve from there.

Are there other productivity categories you find important on your iPad?

Have I missed some apps for the new iPad Business User? Let me know what you think.

DISCLOSURE: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means that if you click the link and buy the app I earn a few cents. This costs you nothing, but helps me keep my blog running.


About the author

    Chris Lee

    I am a healthcare administrator interested in being productive. I believe that the combination of a tablet (iPad Air 32GB) and a smartphone (iPhone 5 in my case) can drastically improve how we do work without adding too much complexity. The “how” of accomplishing this productivity is the focus of this blog. Here are just a few of the topics I hope to cover. Even though I use iOS devices currently I am in no way totally tied to Apple. I have used a Surface 2 for an extended time and am currently considering replacing my HP laptop with a Surface at some point, so keep reading to find out when this happens. Heck, I may even write a post some day on getting efficient with a Kindle Fire HD given that my daughter just got one for her birthday awhile back.

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