Working with Notes and Documents on the iPad – Alternatives & Suggestions

Yesterday, I got these questions from a student in my online Master Class:
On my iPad I am taking notes in the notes app. Is there a way to sync this through iTunes?
How else can I type documents on my iPad and will the iPad support Word documents from my computer?

Content from Apple’s Notes App gets associated with a mail program on your computer. On a Mac, the Notes will be synced with your Mail application and appear in the Notes folder under Reminders. On a PC, the Notes will be synced with Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express. To set this up, connect your iPad to the computer and open iTunes. Click on the Info tab and check the box marked Sync Notes. Most of us prefer that text files generated on the iPad be associated with a word processor of some kind, not a mail program.

I suggest you look at a few of the free/low-cost alternatives to the Notes app. PlainText is a simple word processing app for the iPad that’s ad-supported. If you like it, you can upgrade for $2 to get rid of the ads. Also see Notability, which has many more features and is on sale now for just .99.

The iPad will support Word documents from your computer using an app that can work with Word document files. Apple’s Pages app is one alternative. There are a number of “Office clones” available for the iPad. See these articles for reviews of such programs:
Review of Office Apps for iPad 1
Review of Office Apps for iPad 2
Review of Office Apps for iPad 3

There are also two new apps that connect you to Microsoft Office running on a remote server. While these may give you a fuller Office experience, I don’t recommend them for anyone who needs basic word processing functions. You’ll find an app that runs locally on your iPad a better alternative. Here are two recent reviews of these virtual Office environments, OnLive Desktop and CloudOn.
OnLive Desktop

About Andy Brovey

Dr. Andy Brovey, The Portable Prof, has over twenty-five years experience in educational technology, including teaching, administration and professional development. In 2007, Apple Inc. recognized his work and named him an Apple Distinguished Educator. Andy now runs a professional development business, working on site and online to help others make sense and make use of digital tools. He started the iPad Academy website shortly after the first iPad went on sale. His iPad Academy helps others become more comfortable and competent with the iPad, in person and online through a video training series. Video Message from Andy

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