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Microsoft Office Documents on iPad with CloudOn

We were excited about the launch of OnLive Desktop – which gives you Windows and Office Docs on your iPad. Now there’s another cool app for iPad that lets you manage your Office docs called CloudOn. It integrates with Dropbox so you can work on documents on your iPad and from other devices.

Currently there are questions regarding Microsoft licensing terms for the Windows Desktop included with OnLive Desktop. While the two companies figure it out, if all you want is the ability to work on MS Office Documents, give CloudOn a try. Unlike OnLive Desktop, which provides you with a Windows desktop, CloudOn just provides Word, PowerPoint and Excel. The office apps live in the cloud so you need to be connected to WiFi while using them. It also features handy integration with Dropbox. And, like OnLive Desktop, the app and service is free.

After downloading CloudOn you’ll need to create an account.

1 sign in

Then integrate your Dropbox account with CloudOn.

When you access your Dropbox, the UI is Cover Flow style. Sleek and responsive. This makes it easy to access your Dropbox folders.


When working on a document, a small command bar appears above your iPad keyboard which gives you Function keys for shortcuts and arrow keys for easy maneuverability in documents.


The UI isn’t as slick as OnLive Desktop, and it’s more sluggish. the text is more difficult to read as well.


Here is an example of what PowerPoint looks like. CloudOn has virtually every feature you’d expect in Office 2010, sans a few minor features like presenting in full PDF mode.


For a free app that lets you run Office 2010 apps on your iPad, it’s hard to complain. The main negatives is it’s more sluggish and the UI isn’t as crisp as OnLive’s. If you haven’t compared the two you’re not likely to notice though.

Also, with OnLive you only get 2GB of storage space. If you want more you need to pay more for OnLive Desktop Plus.  With Dropbox, you’re only limited to how much space you have.

I did find it much easier to use with a stylus. As you know there are a lot of features in the Office Ribbon. Using a stylus makes it easier to select what you want than using your fingers.

Install CloudOn if you want the ability to work with MS Office files on your iPad. And with the Dropbox integration, you’ll be more productive and have time for all of those TPS reports.

Give it a try and let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

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5 Responses to Microsoft Office Documents on iPad with CloudOn

  1. garry bryant March 17, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    All very well but not available in New Zealand. Have emailed OnLive but no response.
    Does anyone know when it will be available internationaly?

    • Brian Burgess March 18, 2012 at 3:58 am #

      @garry bryant: That’s unfortunate. I have had really good luck with OnLive Desktop Customer Support. I will email them to see if or when it will be available there as well.
      I also have a friend who works for HP in Australia — will have him keep his ear to the ground.
      Keep in mind though there is a dispute with OnLive Desktop and Microsoft Licensing… hopefully that will be resolved.

      Can you get CloudOn in New Zealand at all?

      • garry bryant March 19, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

        Hi Brian

        No. The CloudOn screen that shows says only available in US, UK and Canada. There is a form we can complete to be notified of availablity, etc but it makes little sense in what is to be provided i.e. just 3 blank boxes and a drop down country box. Weird??

  2. Jennifer Steinmetz April 5, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    Can you use a stylus with cloudon?

  3. Aaron Groff January 31, 2014 at 5:50 am #

    Using and liking CloudOn on my Ipad, specifically Excel. Looking to enter a time/date stamp in a cell on a spread sheet and unable to make the traditional shortcut work in my Ipad…..’Ctrl, Shift, +:’

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