4 Steps to Sync Microsoft Office for the iPad with Dropbox

downloadIf you are like us, most people in your organization have an iPad, and they’re using DropBox for document sharing and storage. When Microsoft Office for iPad was released, we installed it and linked our Office365 accounts for the full create-and-edit capabilities of Office docs, spreadsheets and presentations on our iPads.

However, the only choices for saving new or edited documents to the device are within the Office app or OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage. Saving to DropBox is not an option, even if it’s installed on the device.

That was kind of a deal breaker, so I researched and found a 2012 Darryl Miles blog post on syncing SkyDrive and DropBox for the desktop. With only one extra step, this solution works on the iPad. Here’s how to sync Microsoft Office for the iPad with Dropbox in 4 easy steps:

1. Install DropBox and OneDrive on your PC or laptop.Step 1

2. Set them to sync with your PC for the DropBox directory you want to save to from Office for iPad, and set OneDrive to Sync. I set up a single directory of the many we have on DropBox to sync with my PC, as I don’t want it all syncing locally or to OneDrive.

3. Open a command prompt on your PC. Click START, enter “cmd” and press enter (or click ‘Search’ and type in “cmd”). Please note that you may need to right-click on the command prompt app and select “Run as Administrator.” From the command prompt that opens, navigate to your OneDrive (or SkyDrive) directory. Typically it will be under C:\Users\<youruserid>\OneDrive (or SkyDrive).Step 2

4. From the OneDrive directory, create a symbolic link to the DropBox directory you want to save to, and sync files from Office for iPad. Create this with the mklink command, and you will need the full path to the Dropbox folder you are trying to sync with. The command will look like this: mklink /d “<foldername>” “C:\users\<youruserid>\dropbox\<foldername>. When the command completes successfully, it will display “Successfully created symbolic link >> foldername >> path.”

Within your OneDrive folder, you should see the new linked folder you just created. When you open that folder through Windows Explorer, you will see the contents on DropBox. This folder and all its contents will also sync via OneDrive to the Microsoft Cloud.

From Office for iPad, try creating a new Office document in the usual way and save it to your OneDrive linked folder. When you click “Save As,” OneDrive will be an option, and when it’s selected, you should see the folder you created. Select the folder and give the new document a name. Then click “Save.” Now open DropBox and go to the folder that you created the symbolic link to.

Your PC is doing the syncing, so remember it must be on for the sync to work. You should see the document you just created now in the DropBox folder. Success!

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