How to Edit Documents on an iPad


Like any computer, the iPad comes with a basic operating system. To enable features beyond basic operation, you need to load additional software onto the device. Editing documents on your iPad requires installing an application that can edit the document format you use. Fortunately, apps for an iPad are far less expensive than computer software packages, with most document editing apps available for well under $20 as of May 2011. Getting the documents to and from your iPad easily can be done with native software, but if you frequently need to move documents between your iPad and a computer for editing, a cloud sharing service app is a good idea.

  • Browse the iPad App Store for an app that allows you to edit the type of documents you need. Specific word processing editors include Pages for iPad and Doc2, while spreadsheet editing apps include Numbers or Sheet2. For a full-service productivity suite, try Documents to Go, Quickoffice Connect or Office2 HD. All of these apps can open and edit common Microsoft Office document formats, as well as limited other formatted documents. Each app offers different features, so read the app descriptions carefully before making your purchase.

  • Download and install the app of your choice on your iPad. If you currently use a cloud sharing service, such as Dropbox, SugarSync, iDisk or Box dot Net, download and install that service's app as well. Cloud service apps are usually free for existing accounts or limited size new accounts.

  • Move the file you wish to edit onto your iPad, either by emailing it to yourself, transferring it through iTunes and syncing your iPad to your computer or by uploading it into your cloud storage account and then downloading it to the iPad.

  • Tap the file to open it in the iPad's basic preview mode, and then tap the "Open in" button to send the file to the editor app you installed.

  • Edit your document using common iPad gestures, such as double-tapping to select a word and dragging the selection handles to modify the highlighted selection. Replace selections by typing over them or insert text by tapping in your preferred insertion spot, then typing your new text. Press and hold your finger on the text to get precise cursor insertion through the magnification feature.

  • Save your changes with the app's "Save" feature. Some apps, such as Pages, automatically save your work with each change, so you do not have a manual save option.

  • Send the edited document via email or restore it to your cloud service by tapping the action button (a rectangle with a curved arrow) and making your selection.

Tips & Warnings

  • New apps appear in the App Store daily, so to find the best app for your purposes, try searching for "edit [your document type]" to find relevant apps. Always read the descriptions carefully to ensure the app has the features you need before you make a purchase.

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  • Photo Credit Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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