[The iPad Lawyer] You Are Not Alone — Dropbox and Your Office Apps

You Are Not Alone — Dropbox and Your Office Apps


Scott J. Grossberg, Esq.

Based on the old pain/pleasure principle, I think you’ll agree that most people will fight to the death to keep what they have (what they think works) rather than implement a new workflow or new option or new opportunity. And this is true even if they logically understand the “new thing” and rationalize that they “want it.” Actually using your iOS devices in powerful, new ways is no different. Most of you will do more to keep things the way they are than adventure out into the exciting world of new apps.

So, today, I’ve got good news for those of you who don’t want to learn new stuff.

And I’ve got even better news for those of you who do want new stuff.

For the “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” crowd, I’m going to talk about apps you’re already likely using — Dropbox and Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).

For my “cutting edge” crowd, I’m going to be discussing a new workflow that will make you even more productive and let you breathe easier.

See . . . something for everybody!

Microsoft Office remains the primary way business people perform their day-to-day work on a computer. Dropbox remains the primary way we store and access online files due to the fact that app developers make Dropbox integration part of nearly every successful app that is released. Still, it came as a surprise for most when, in November, Dropbox and Microsoft announced an unheralded partnership.

For the first time, the major online storage provider (Dropbox) was essentially unified with Microsoft’s Office suite of apps. This now means that the apps from the two companies collaborate in real time with each other. In other words, you can now edit Office documents on-the-go and directly from your Dropbox mobile account. You can also see if anyone else is viewing or working on a shared Office file (and you’ll even get an online visual notification if someone else opens up a document you’ve been working on). And, if two or more people happen to be working on the same document at the same time, you’ll be notified with an exclamation point and can save your version independently so that your work is not lost. You can also check to see if there’s a more current version of a Dropbox Office file and update accordingly.

To make this system work for you, you have to have the latest version of the Office apps. You can obtain Word, Excel, and PowerPoint here:




Naturally, you will also need a Dropbox account. If you need to sign up (you can get a free account), go here:


Then, download the app to your iDevice from here:


Now, when you go into your Dropbox app, find an Office file you want to work on and tap on it.  You will be given the option of opening the file with Word, Excel, or PowerPoint from within Dropbox, itself (there’s a little paper/pen icon down at the bottom of your screen). Yes, you still have the old option of “Open With . . . “ from within Dropbox. But this newer option automatically launches Word, for example, opens your Dropbox-stored document, asks if you want to convert it for editing if it’s an older version, converts it for you, permits full editing and annotation, and then stores it right back to Dropbox. It’s quite an automatic, effective, and efficient workflow.

By the way, if you work from within Dropbox in the manner just described and you then open your Word app independently (let’s say to create a new Word document), you are first greeted with a “Today” screen that shows your combined and earlier use of Dropbox and Word and you can open your previously viewed and edited Word documents from that screen, as well. After you create your new Word document, naturally you can then save immediately to the Dropbox folder of your choice.

The entire process is very self-explanatory and easy to implement. If you still want more information on the workflow, here’s Dropbox’s Help Center link entitled, “How do I edit Microsoft Office files stored in my Dropbox from my mobile device?


One bonus tip for you: With either your iPhone or iPad, you can create great content by also implementing Siri dictation into your work style. Siri has gotten much more accurate in her voice recognition and I dictate now more than ever before. I have noticed, by the way, that by speaking faster, the speech recognition is better. I also hasten to remind those of you with concerns about confidentiality that any dictation you create with Siri is sent away from your device to Apple’s servers and then back again.

We’d all like to be more successful using the tools with which we’re already comfortable. This elegant pairing of Dropbox and Microsoft Office apps allows you to do just that. It meets a basic human need — giving you what you really desire (not having to get bogged down in technical things) while solving a problem (helping you to be more streamlined).

Your time is precious. Go ahead. Take the time to discover how powerful this new partnership will be for you and how easy it makes your document creation, editing, and collaboration workflow.

Let’s take this discussion further . . . You can find me on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn and at https://theipadlawyer.wordpress.com or  https://milliondollaripad.wordpress.com.

If you enjoyed this, I’d be grateful if you share this with others. That’s right, go ahead and help spread this information by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. And, if you’re interested in finding out how I can make a presentation to your law firm or association, please contact me at 909-483-1850 or email me at sgrossberg@cgclaw.com.© 2015 by Scott Grossberg. All Rights Reserved.


2 responses to “[The iPad Lawyer] You Are Not Alone — Dropbox and Your Office Apps

  1. It was great to finally meet you at the workshop last night. I learned a great deal, and I appreciate all of it. By the way, I’m doing this by dictation thanks to Siri.

    Hopefully I can make it to another one of the workshops when I’m down in Southern California again.

    Have a great day!


    • Tammy — It was terrific having you attend. And what a great pleasure to meet you, as well. Congrats on adding the Siri workflow component. You won’t be disappointed. All my best. – Scott

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