Apple iPad, Pages and Microsoft SharePoint – it works

I’ve been trying out an Apple iPad 2 recently, and one of the topics that interests me is the extent to which it can replace a laptop.

That is a nebulous question of course – it depends what you use a laptop for – but one essential from my perspective is the ability to create and edit documents. Therefore I installed Apple’s iWork apps in their iPad guise: Pages, Numbers and Keynote.

Now, one iPad annoyance is that accessing its storage is more awkward than with a laptop. You cannot simply copy files to and fro over a network. You can copy files to the iPad using a network browser app like Stratospherix FileBrowser, but that works by opening recognised file types.

As for Pages, how it stores documents is opaque to the user. They save as you type, and you can manage them in a My Documents view within Pages, but if you want to move them elsewhere you have to use one of five options: email, iWork.com which is cloud storage for iWork apps, send to iTunes for synchronization, copy to iDisk which is cloud storage for MobileMe, or copy to WebDAV.

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The options for opening a document are similar, but without the email or for some reason iWork.com options.

None of these options appealed greatly, except possibly the last one. I use SharePoint, which supports WebDAV, might this enable me to open and save documents from Pages direct to SharePoint? This is convenient for me, since I have SharePoint as a mapped drive in Windows Explorer, and it works both on the internal network and over the internet.

I typed a document in Pages, then went to My Documents and chose Copy to WebDAV. I chose Word format. Then I entered the URL, username and password for my SharePoint server.

Rather to my surprise, it connected immediately, and performance was good. I then went to my mapped SharePoint drive in Windows Explorer and there it was.

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It works the other way too. I typed a document in Word 2010 and saved it to SharePoint in the default .docx format. Pages can import .docx, and the document opened smoothly.

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I appreciate that I am in a small minority of individuals running SharePoint – I do it for test and review – but for business users this is a handy feature. Individuals might want to check out DropDAV, though I’ve not tried the service.

Update: I have tried this successfully with both SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2007. If SharePoint is using a port other than 443 for secure access, then you enter the full URL in Pages, for example https://sharepoint.yourdomain.com:444

However I have not yet been able to get this to work with SharePoint in Office 365.

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14 comments to Apple iPad, Pages and Microsoft SharePoint – it works

  • Thanks Tim,

    It’s hard to convince some windows biased/android biased colleagues that iPad (read iOS) can integrate into normal corporate workflows.

  • Please forgive my ignorance if this is completely off the mark, but I have found Dropbox.com to be a similarly integrated tool, the share/save option integrating into Quickoffice (the Office editing iPhone app I use in lieu of an iPad) and the desktop app working fine via my work PC. Not certain whether it would work with iWork, but I’d be interested to know whether it would work this way.

  • tim

    @Peter

    There are a few issues with Dropbox and iWork on iPad. The Dropbox iPad app cannot see the iWork documents, and from within an iWork app you cannot see Dropbox. Hence DropDAV mentioned above.

    On a PC or Mac, where you can open and save from the Dropbox folder, I agree this works very well.

    Tim

  • Try SharePlus v 2.8 for iOS with Office 365 support.

  • tim

    So using SharePlus, how would you save from Pages to Office 365?

    Tim

  • For now is not possible from Pages because Pages doesn’t support Apple “Open In” protocol.
    In meantime you can use DocumentsToGo for example.

  • Gary

    I think that Apple should insist that all apps have the protocol of WebDav built in. This is the easiest and quickest way for my students to share their work with me the teacher.

  • tim

    Or Pages with WebDav :-)

    Tim

  • diRtybIt

    I am also among the few sharepoint/ipad users. We are rolling out about 200 ipads and I just want to tell you that your post is spot on! It is by far the simplest way to send to and from our private cloud.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Colleen

    I’ve been able to publish documents from Pages to a SharePoint document library using the Copy to WebDav feature, but I haven’t been able to copy from SharePoint to Pages. It connects to the server, but I don’t see any files or folders, even though I know there are some there. Is there something I have to set on the document library?

  • Coleen, we discovered a bug in using Pages with SharePoint around spaces. I had populated “Shared Documents” with some files, and “Shared Documents” wasn’t exposed. I added another folder named “Documents” and everything worked, both upload and download. (We’re using SharePoint 2007, don’t know if that’s the issue.)

    Pages using WebDAV will not see any folder or file with a space in the name.

    Anyone else found this problem, or found a workaround?

  • Cooper

    I’m running into the same issue with spaces – also running 2007. Thanks for pointing that out, Joseph.

  • Hi Tim, thank you for this insight. I have tried this and it keeps cycling between the Connect to WebDAV screen, and the file format screen. Would you have any ideas? Cheers Tricia

  • Nacho García

    I also found the problem with WebDav not seeing subfolders within the “Documents”, which was resolved by using proper caps (“D” in “Documents” has to be in uppercase i the webdav url).