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7 time-saving tips and tricks for Office for iPad

Jason Cipriani | Feb. 18, 2015
Not too long ago using Microsoft's Office apps on any iOS device was nothing more than a far-fetched dream. Then the team in Redmond rocked the iOS world by releasing its Office suite for the iPad. There was a glaring issue with it, however, in the fact you could only view documents for free. To edit existing documents or create new ones, you needed to shell out for an Office 365 account.

Save local copies

Storing a document in the cloud is fine and dandy, so long as you know you're going to have a data connection of some sort. If you have a big presentation coming up, don't let something like a broken Wi-Fi network ruin it for you. Save the document to your iOS device as a backup.

To do this, while viewing the file you want to save, tap on the document icon with the two arrows making a circle. It's what I consider to look like a refresh icon. From the list of options, select Duplicate, then choose your device from the list of storage options.

Autofill in Excel

Typing a long list of repetitive dates, numbers, months, years — repetitive anything, really — into your Excel spreadsheet is a hassle. Thankfully, the time-saving Autofill feature from the desktop version has made it into Excel on iOS.

Start by filling in the first two cells, setting the pattern for Excel to understand. Then highlight the two cells, bringing up the copy menu where you'll find the Fill option. Tap on it, then drag the proper arrow in the direction you'd like to continue the sequence. When you lift up your finger, the cells are filled automatically.

Match formatting

Even when an app is touch-optimized, repeating tasks can be a bit taxing and tedious, and that definitely includes trying to match formatting between sections of your document.

Start by highlighting a block of text with the format you want to reproduce, and tap Copy in the popup. Next, highlight the text you want to apply the formatting to, and select Paste Formatting from the list of options. Too easy.

Freaking laser beams

OK, so there's actually no lasers to be found in the Office apps. There is, however, a fake laser buried within PowerPoint's presentation mode. While presenting, presumably from your iPad to an Apple TV or projector, you can tap and hold on the device's screen to bring up a fake laser icon that moves around under your finger.

You'll also notice the option to draw on the screen in various colors, for an added dramatic effect.

 

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