Using Dropbox for Word Editing on iPad (or, living without Quickoffice and using Pages)

As I noted last week Google’s loving update of QuickofficeHD has removed the connectivity with Dropbox. (They did make the app free, but you are stuck with Google Drive as your only cloud option.) The problem is that I was too optimistic about Office2HD as a replacement. It is incredibly buggy and useless. So, what am I to do?

I have Pages and, to be honest, it is a very nice word processor. I know! Who would have thunk? But what about the fact that I use Dropbox to connect all my machines, work, and collaboration together? Well, it is kind of kludgy, but you can actually make the round trip from Dropbox to Pages and back, albeit leaving bread crumbs behind.

  1. In the Dropbox app simply open the file in Pages.
    Dropbox to Pages
    Dropbox to Pages
  2. Do your edits in Pages (with pages automatically saving to the iPad and to your iCloud account, that was the “breadcrumbs” I mentioned). Then us “Open in Another App” to “open” the file in Dropbox. The first step is to select your exported format:Then select Dropbox as your app.
    Selecting Dropbox as your app.
    Selecting Dropbox as your app.
    First step in exporting within Pages.
    First step in exporting within Pages.
  3. Because you already have a version of the document on Dropbox you will be asked by the Dropbox app if you want to replace the version on the server. Say “Yes” if you do and “No,” obviously, if you don’t want to.

NB: It appears that Pages exports only as .docx so if your original version on Dropbox is a .doc you will end up with two copies, one .doc and the revised one as a .docx. Not a big hardship and some may never even notice since so many folks are now using .docx as a default.

This is not an elegant or easy solution, but on the other hand Pages is the most elegant word processor on the iPad and its exported version seems to be highly compatible with Office. Now I do not do a lot of formatting, I am mostly taking notes when I do this, so going back and forth doesn’t cost me anything in formatting.

Finally, I should note that with the iCloud versions of iWork apps now available simply staying in Pages format is becoming a real possibility, even when I am collaborating with the rest of my office which use Windows machines. Even the joint editing features seem to be working relatively well. We had a few folks in the office editing a document at the same time and it did a fair job of keeping up with revisions.

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Google Drive for iPad adds rich-text editing for docs | TUAW

This is very welcome news for many if it means you can, in fact, edit RTF files. It will probably be this weekend before I can play with it to offer a report.


Google Drive for iPad adds rich-text editing for docs

Google Drive for iPad adds richtext editing for docsGoogle released Google Drive in April, which gives users 5 GB of free online storage for their Google documents, photos, videos, PDFs and more. There’s a Mac appavailable, and earlier this month,Google updated Google Drive for iOS (free, universal) to include rich text editing.

This update, version 1.1.0, lets you create new documents, edit existing ones and style text. There’s more good news if you use Google presentations, as this update will let you view your decks complete with presenter notes. If that’s not enough, you can also create, modify and move folders.

You still can’t edit presentations or spreadsheets within the app, but the functionality should be on the way.

Pretty sweet! Check out this free app now and get to work.

via Google Drive for iPad adds rich-text editing for docs | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog.

Posted in iOS, iPad, Note Taking | Tagged | Leave a comment

Deleting all footnotes from Nisus Writer Pro – Easy!

I made some tweaks and updates to my translation of Targum Ruth and I wanted to update it on the site. Before I did that I wanted to delete all the footnotes. You see, I use notes in my translation as my the basis of my commentary so they are fairly expansive and full of lots of rhetorical questions not really fit for public consumption. But how to delete them all in one go?

I use Nisus Writer Pro for my academic writing and have done since 1994. Back in the day, the old version of Nisus had a very nasty bug that bit me in my doctoral viva. If you didn’t delete a footnote properly (from within the text, not in the note itself) the numbering would go haywire. There is even still an FAQ about it on their site. Once bitten twice shy, as they old codgers say (that would be me), so I did a quick search to find out how to delete all footnotes in NWP. I found some neat macros to move all the notes inline (and back again), macros and scripting are some of the real strengths of NWP, but not hints about deleting them all in one go.

I girded my electronic loins (I had backups) and simply highlighted all the notes and hit the delete key. NWP asked, “Do you really want to delete XXX of footnotes?” And I said “Yes!” Voila! All the footnotes were gone, not fuss no muss.

NB: I know many use Mellel, as I did when it first came out and before Nisus had NWP running on the new OSX. Today they released version 3.0!

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“Facebook IPO: Good for the Jews?” or anyone?

This is a very curious article by Uriel Heilman. He begins with something interesting:

If the Talmud were written today, would it look like Facebook?First, the rabbis of the Mishnaic period post a Jewish legal rule. Then, Talmudic sages weigh in with their comments, all pithy and lacking punctuation. Almost immediately, the comments grow far longer than the original post. Eventually, outside links to the Shulchan Aruch and Maimonides’ compendium of Jewish law appear on the right side.It may sound too cute by half, but if you look closely, the Talmud and Facebook actually share similar layout.

And then goes on to ask the question in the title.

For a few in the Jewish community, Facebook’s IPO raises the $64,000 question — or in this case, the $64 billion question — of how much of that newly created wealth will go to Jewish causes. The jury’s still out on whether Facebook’s Jewish creator, Mark Zuckerberg, will turn into a major Jewish giver following the IPO, when the just-turned 28-year-old figures to become one of the richest people in the world.

There is something (not a lot really) in the first observation. Years ago by colleague Greg Spinner pointed out that midrash (and all rabbinic works containing it) is very much like the web. The “speaker” will drop a single word or short phrase into his exposition and like a hyperlink in a webpage it takes the audience immediately to the referenced text. Of course the audience had to know that “when you lie down and when you rise” is a reference to Deut. 6:7 and all that it entails. Facebook does provide a place for community engagement, but I think Biblioblogs are more akin to the rabbinic traditions.

His second point, and to be fair to Heilman he quickly dismisses it and moves on, is not surprising to those of us who regularly work in development (fund raising). When we see a college football player sign a major contract in the NFL I promise you there is someone from his alma mater making sure he is aware of how proud his school is him and that they would be happy to help him reduce his taxes through charitable donations.

But as I said, Heilman recognizes that this is not really the point of impact for the Jewish world and in fact, his opening comments notwithstanding, I think does get at what Facebook is doing for communities, religious and otherwise.

But the real story of Facebook’s impact on the Jewish world ultimately is likely to be more about the ways it is prompting Jews to change the way they think, behave, organize, and even mourn and celebrate than it will be about Zuckerberg’s tzedakah.

I do not think (and apparently GM agrees with me) that Facebook is going to be worth the financial evaluation it will receive tomorrow. That being said, it is proving to be a valuable tool of finding new communities and restoring old ones. The diaspora needn’t be so dispersed any more.

via Facebook IPO: Good for the Jews? | JTA – Jewish & Israel News.

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From TUAW: Inkling to sell iPad textbooks in over 900 college bookstores

Inkling is an e-book publishing platform thats currently running an app on the App Store, and while Apple has been making an official push for more textbooks in iBooks, Inkling is strengthening its own holdings. The company has made a deal with Follett to bring hundreds of Inkling titles into college bookstores, where students can buy the ebook content right there in person.

via Inkling to sell iPad textbooks in over 900 college bookstores | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog.

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Wired: Evernote Acquires iPad App Penultimate

Evernote Expands Note-Taking Empire By Acquiring iPad App Penultimate | Epicenter |

The company that makes one of the best apps for taking notes, on mobile devices or otherwise, is scooping up another app.

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New blog: Academic Workflows on Mac

My grad assistant @ericleewelch just sent me to this blog. Looks very useful to the likes of us.

Academic Workflows on a Mac

This is a blog about being a more productive academic with or without a Mac. We explore how to make note-takingwritingpresentingemailingorganizingschedulingtask management, and timing  – faster, easier and more fun. Good work habits which we learn on Mac are irreplaceable in any working environment – so many posts on this site are about academic productivity in general while most of the remaining are interesting for everyone with some Mac tips. Finally, there are also posts for Mac geeks.  Enjoy reading!

Posted in MacOS, Tech Tip | Tagged | 2 Comments

Podcast Short: the Macs in my office

MacSENewton 110New Office: Mac BookendsMac SE in the sunPower/i/MacBooksMac SEShift 3PowerBook 140Mac PlusMac SE/30

Office, a set on Flickr.

I recently recorded a podcast for the SHC with Dan Veltri, co-founder of He noticed I had a few old Apple machines in my office.

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Text Editors for iOS devices

This is from TUAW and a useful chart it is. As I noted earlier this week, I do use text editors on the iPad, but mostly I use QOHD (which is not on this list since it is more than a text editor). What you will see missing is any support for RTF. This is odd and frustrating for those of us who use NisusWriter on the MacOS. The latest iOS has some support and I have been told that it will be coming…eventually.

The world is divided into two kinds of people: those who love to edit text files on the iPad, and those who really, really don’t. For everyone in the first group, our resident mad scientist Brett Terpstra (ably assisted by a crew of volunteers including TUAW contributor Michael Jones) has kicked off the iTextEditors reference page.

The page provides a full feature matrix for more than 30 iOS editors, with more entries on the way. Looking for an editor with printing capability, Dropbox sync and word count for $0.99? The chart’s got you covered (several times over, actually, including iA Writer). Brett plans to continue updating the page indefinitely, so if you’re a developer (or ardent and well-informed fan) of an application that’s not yet on his list, check out the page and let him know.

Posted in iOS, Text Editors | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Using Quickoffice Pro HD with Dropbox on the iPad

As part of my workflow I use QuickOffice Pro HD in conjunction with DropBox. DropBox is a service that allows you to backup, access, and share documents and is free for the first 2 GB. I have a subscription and use to enable me to have access to ALL of my documents on all my machines and devices. (It works with MacOS, iOS, Windows, and Android. You can also access your documents directly via a web browser.) A lot of iOS apps have integration with DB and that includes QO.

QuickOffice Pro HD is not a great word processor, but it does allow you to open and edit MS Office documents (Word, Excel, and PPT). I use it to allow me to open a meeting agenda (which has been emailed to me ahead of time and saved into a folder on my computer then synced via DB) and place my notes directly into the agenda. Now I have those notes available on every machine I use.

My colleague recently acquired an iPad and in setting up her iPad she ran into a problem that is quite common. While you can open a file from the Dropbox app into QuickOffice (or other apps) you cannot upload it to Dropbox from within QO until you add DB to QO. Once you have done that, the best practice IMHO is to open the file from DB in QO and edit it there. QO will then automatically save that document back to DB. A few screenshots should help clarify.

First you need to connect QO to DB. You do this from within QO: Continue reading

Posted in iOS, iPad, Tech Tip | Tagged , , | 5 Comments