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Mobile devices have altered the way we work. More than half of American workers do some work remotely or from home, and almost a quarter perform job-related tasks at home every day. A big chunk of that work is done on tablets or smartphones. While these devices are welcome advancements, they’re a long way off from delivering work-anywhere bliss. Some of the snags we face when working on a mobile device are compatibility issues and limited editing capabilities.

Until software makers deliver the aforementioned work-anywhere bliss, those of you who work remotely will have to make do. Here are a few iPad tips to help you along.

Working with Pivot Tables on the iPad

One of the most useful features of Excel is the pivot table. Naturally, there may be times when you will want to work with a pivot table on your iPad. Though the technology is still new, there are some options for doing so.

If all you need to do is view the static data in a pivot table on your iPad, you can use third-party apps or the built-in attachment viewer of the Mail app to view your Excel spreadsheet containing your pivot table. To manipulate the filter drop-downs to change the data displayed in the pivot table, you can view the file online using the Microsoft Excel Web App. You cannot modify the pivot table fields or structure with any currently available iPad apps.

The following instructions describe two methods for viewing Excel files online with the Microsoft Excel Web App:

To view Excel workbooks with pivot tables that were previously uploaded to your Windows Live SkyDrive:

(Note: Steps to set up and move files from your PC to a free Windows Live account are outlined in another eTip.)

  1. On your iPad, tap the icon for the Safari browser app on the home screen.
  2. Tap the address bar at the top of the screen and type office.live.com. Tap the Go button on the keyboard.
  3. If you are not already signed into your Windows Live account, do so now by entering your Windows Live ID and password.
  4. If the site has limited graphics, you may be on the mobile version of it. If so, look for a PC site link at the bottom of the page and tap it.
  5. Tap the name of the file or the folder where you stored your Excel documents on the site.
  6. Tap the name of the file to view it in the Microsoft Excel Web App.
  7. Tap the down arrow next to the drop-down filter on any pivot tables to modify the filter.

To view Excel workbooks with pivot tables that were forwarded as attachments to an email address that is associated with your Windows Live ID:

If you have this set up correctly, you will not need to use your PC to transfer them to the site in advance. (Note: The steps for setting up email in your Windows Live account are covered in another tip.)

  1. From any email program, including the iPad, send or forward the Excel workbook to the email address linked to your Windows Live account.
  2. On your iPad, tap the icon for the Safari browser app.
  3. Tap the address bar at the top of the page and type office.live.com. Tap the Go button on the keyboard.
  4. If you are not already signed into your Windows Live account, do so now by entering your Windows Live ID and password.
  5. If the site has limited graphics, you may be on the mobile version of it. If so, look for a PC site link at the bottom of the page and tap it.
  6. Tap the Hotmail link at the top of the page. If a drop-down menu appears, choose Inbox or the folder which contains the email with the spreadsheet in it.
  7. Tap on the email that has the Excel workbook attachment.
  8. Tap the View Online link next to the attachment to view it in the Microsoft Excel Web App.
  9. Tap Edit in Browser to edit the document in the Microsoft Excel Web App.
  10. Tap the down arrow next to the drop-down filter on any pivot tables to modify the filter.

Choosing Fonts and Bullets That Will Display Properly on the iPad

Microsoft PowerPoint 2003, 2007, 2010

The iPad is a natural choice for running presentations without having to carry a bulky laptop, but sometimes fonts and bullets do not display properly on the device. Consider the following tips before sending your PowerPoint file to someone who will run it from a tablet. In all cases, allow enough time to review and tweak the presentation on the iPad, as some translation issues are likely.

Fonts:

The following list of fonts (or a close substitute) are available in many installations of Microsoft Office on the PC and in Keynote on the iPad. When working in PowerPoint, choose from these fonts if you want your text to look the same in both PowerPoint and Keynote. While you still may get a warning about missing fonts when the presentation is opened in Keynote, the font will most likely appear unchanged:

Arial, Arial Rounded MT Bold, Courier, Courier New, Georgia, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Trebuchet MS, Verdana, Papyrus.

NOTE: Calibri, the default font used by Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010, is not available on the iPad and Helvetica will be substituted. If you choose Calibri (or any other unsupported font) when creating your presentation in PowerPoint, Helvetica may be substituted on the iPad.

Bullets:

Only the first two bullet types from the default Bullets and Numbering dialog in PowerPoint will appear correctly on the iPad. If you want to use a bullet other than Filled Round or Hollow Round, follow these steps:

PowerPoint 2003:

  1. Select the text that requires a custom bullet.
  2. Right-click on the text and choose Bullets and Numbering in the context menu.
  3. Choose any of the gallery positions in the second row of the dialog box, and click either the Picture or Customize button. For the Picture button, select a Picture Bullet, then click OK. For the Customize button, click the Font drop-down list in the Symbol dialog box that appears and choose one of the fonts available on the iPad as listed in the Fonts section above. Scroll through the characters available for that font and choose one to use for your bullet. Click OK in both open dialogs.

PowerPoint 2007 and 2010:

  1. Select the text that requires a custom bullet.
  2. Right-click on the text and choose Bullets and then Bullets and Numbering in the context menu.
  3. Choose any of the gallery positions in the second row of the dialog box, and click either the Picture or Customize button. For the Picture button, select a Picture Bullet, then click OK. For the Customize button, click the Font drop-down list in the Symbol dialog box that appears and choose one of the fonts available on the iPad as listed in the Fonts section above. Scroll through the characters available for that font and choose one to use for your bullet. Click OK in both open dialogs.

How to Minimize Text and Objects Moving on Slides Designed in PowerPoint

Microsoft PowerPoint 2003, 2007, 2010

The easiest way to make sure a presentation looks good on the iPad is to design it from the ground up on the device itself using your favorite app. But if you do not want to work exclusively on the iPad, you can make some changes to settings in PowerPoint that will reduce the amount of fine tuning needed when moving the presentation to your iPad.

TIP: Prevent objects from disappearing off the screen.

Setting the Slide Show resolution to the same dimensions as the iPad screen can reduce some formatting problems.

PowerPoint 2003:

  1. Click the Slide Show menu and choose Set Up Show.
  2. Change the Slide show resolution drop-down box at the bottom of the dialog box to 1024×768.
  3. Click OK.
  4. Save changes to the presentation before exiting.

PowerPoint 2007 and 2010:

  1. Click the Slide Show tab on the Ribbon.
  2. In the Monitors group, change the Resolution drop-down box to 1024×768.
  3. Save changes to the presentation before exiting.

TIP: Reduce the amount of AutoShape shifting.

On the iPad, sometimes lines and other objects created in PowerPoint 2007 or 2010 will shift position. Reduce this problem by saving your file to the PowerPoint 2003 file format.

PowerPoint 2007:

  1. Click the Office button and choose Save As.
  2. Click the Save as type drop-down arrow and choose PowerPoint 97-2003 Presentation (*.ppt).
  3. Choose your folder location and change the filename, if desired.
  4. Click Save.

PowerPoint 2010:

  1. Click the File tab and choose Save As.
  2. Click the Save as type drop-down arrow and choose PowerPoint 97-2003 Presentation (*.ppt).
  3. Choose your folder location and change the filename, if desired.
  4. Click Save.

TIP: Prevent text from getting cut off at the bottom of the page when previewing presentation attachments in the Mail app on the iPad.

PowerPoint has a feature that will fit text within a placeholder without the user manually altering the font size or line spacing. When this is enabled (as it is by default), PowerPoint slides with a large amount of text may not preview correctly on the iPad. Before creating presentations that will be viewed on an iPad, turn off this feature by following these steps.

PowerPoint 2003:

  1. Click the Tools menu and choose AutoCorrect Options.
  2. In the AutoCorrect dialog box, click the AutoFormat As You Type tab.
  3. In the “Apply as you type” section, uncheck “AutoFit body text to placeholder.”
  4. Click OK.
  5. Save changes to the presentation before exiting.

PowerPoint 2007:

  1. Click the Office button and choose PowerPoint Options.
  2. Choose Proofing from the categories on the left.
  3. Click the AutoCorrect Options button.
  4. Click the AutoFormat As You Type tab.
  5. In the “Apply as you type section,” uncheck “AutoFit body text to placeholder.”
  6. Click OK twice to close both dialog boxes.
  7. Save changes to the presentation before exiting.

PowerPoint 2010:

  1. Click the File tab and choose Options.
  2. Choose Proofing from the categories on the left.
  3. Click the AutoCorrect Options button.
  4. Click the AutoFormat As You Type tab.
  5. In the “Apply as you type section,” uncheck “AutoFit body text to placeholder.”
  6. Click OK twice to close both dialogs boxes.
  7. Save changes to the presentation before exiting.

Preventing Unwanted Font Substitutions and Layout Shifts When Viewing Presentations on an iPad

Microsoft PowerPoint 2007, 2010

Sometimes fonts in PowerPoint presentations will not display properly on the iPad. Also, some objects such as AutoShapes or pictures may not align correctly when viewed on the device. If you don’t have animations in your presentation and don’t anticipate editing it on the iPad, PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 offer built-in ways to save presentations in a format that will display correctly on the iPad.

NOTE: These methods will not allow you to edit individual slides of the presentation from the iPad. Because of this, perform the following steps only after you have completed your edits and are ready to email the file to someone who will view or run the presentation using an iPad.

Saving as PDF:

PowerPoint 2007

  1. Click the Office button and choose Save As.
  2. In the Save as type drop-down choose PDF.
  3. Browse to the desired folder location and change the file name if you wish. Click Save.
  4. Using your email program, attach the PDF file to a message and send it to the iPad recipient.
  5. PDF files can be previewed from the Mail app on the iPad or opened in many third-party apps that support the file type. However, PDFs cannot be opened in Keynote.

PowerPoint 2010

  1. Click on the File tab and choose Save and Send.
  2. Choose Create PDF/XPS Document, and click the Create PDF/XPS button.
  3. Browse to the desired folder location and change the file name if desired. Click Publish.
  4. Using your email program, attach the PDF file to an e-mail and send to the iPad recipient.
  5. PDF files can be previewed from the Mail app on the iPad or opened in many third-party apps that support the file type. However, PDFs cannot be opened in Keynote.

Saving as a Picture Presentation with PowerPoint 2010:

  1. Click the File tab and choose Save As.
  2. In the Save as type drop-down choose PowerPoint Picture Presentation, which is near the bottom of the list.
  3. Browse to the desired folder location and add something like “pictures” to the file name so you can differentiate from the standard version. Click Save.
  4. Using your email program, attach the file to a message and send to the iPad recipient.
  5. This type of file can be previewed from the Mail app on the iPad or opened in the Keynote app or any other third-party app that supports the PPTX file type.

Tips were researched and written by Brian Choplick.

2 Comments
  • Robin

    Alternatively if you want a really simple way to use pivot tables on your iPad, just download iPivot, an app specifically built for the purpose!!! Easy to use and very powerful.

    Reply

  • Scott

    iPivot is not even remotely close to usable. Installfree nexus actually is perfect as it is an exact replica of Excel and the ability to drag information in and out of your pivot table mirrors that of the desktop application. CoudOn is another app that is almost exactly like the desktop application. The problem with both is that they use an online version of the software so you are, in effect, streaming your data to your iPad. It’s laggy and non-responsive if you don’t have an excellent connection.

    The beauty of pivot tables is that options are unlimited in how you slice and analyze data. It’s a 3 dimensional look at the numbers. I hope someday to have Excel Pivot tables for real on the iPad. It would then render my laptop as a stay at home device. 🙂

    Reply

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