Sharing Files Between a MacBook & the iPad

By Avery Martin

As a business owner, keeping your documents synced between your devices enables you to increase productivity and ensures that all documents match the most current version. You can sync your documents automatically over a wireless connection using Apple's iCloud service or manually using iTunes. However, the business documents that are automatically synced are files compatible with the iWork suite, which contains Numbers, Pages and Keynote. Since Microsoft Office doesn't yet make an app for the iPad, you can't sync those documents to the iPad unless you open them with the corresponding apps in iWork.


Tap the "Settings" icon on the iPad and then tap "iCloud."

Type your sign-in information into the username and password fields. If you don't have an Apple ID, click the link to request a new Apple ID.

Tap the "Documents and Data" option and swipe the slider to "On" to sync your iWork application documents between the iPad and MacBook.

Select any of the additional items you want to sync, such as Contacts, Calendars, Reminders and Safari Bookmarks.

Tap the Numbers app and set the slider to "On" to sync documents from Numbers. Complete the same process for Pages and Keynote.

Click the Apple menu icon on your MacBook. Click "System Preferences" and then click "iCloud."

Click the "Documents and Data" option to enable your MacBook to sync iCloud documents. Close the dialog box.

File Sharing

Connect your iPad to your computer using the USB cable that came with the device.

Click the iTunes icon in the Dock if it doesn't launch automatically.

Highlight your iPad located in the Devices section of iTunes by clicking on the name of the iPad.

Select the "Apps" tab and then check the "Sync Apps" checkbox.

Scroll down to the File Sharing section. Click the name of an app that contains files you want to sync. Files associated with that app on the iPad appear in the section entitled "Documents."

Highlight each file in the Documents section you want to transfer to the MacBook and click the "Add..." button to include them in the list of synced files. You can also drag and drop files you want either from your computer to the list of Document files or from the iPad document list to your computer.

Click the "Apply" button to apply the changes and sync your information.


Visit the iCloud website to view all of your stored items. Once you sign in, you can manually download items to any device.

Microsoft Word documents can be dragged to the Pages list in iTunes. Excel and Powerpoint documents can also be added to the lists of their respective Mac applications -- Numbers and Keynote.