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Office for iPad's PDF export feature has a big problem. Here's how fix it with IFTTT

Alex Campbell | Aug. 7, 2014
Microsoft's Office for iPad update added PDF export to Word--barely. After 20-something minutes of infuriated tapping, I found the option hidden in a menu you'd never expect--and it didn't do nearly as much as I expected. Remember how you couldn't print with the initial release of the app? This release allows you to export PDFs only as email attachments. This isn't enough for iOS users be truly productive.

To activate Google Drive, you may be asked to log in to your Google account. Once you're logged in, Google will ask if you want to let IFTTT have access to your account. Click Accept, and the channel will be ready.

Get cooking

Now, we have to create our recipe. Click My Recipes, then click Create Recipe on the next page. Click this and select Email as your trigger channel.

Select Send IFTTT an email tagged and enter a hashtag that you'd like to designate for file uploading. This is really useful because you can control exactly where each file will go by using hashtags in the subject of the email.

Say you wanted to upload TPS reports to a folder on Google Drive called TPS, you could use the hashtag #TPSReports in the subject line, and IFTTT will process it using the appropriate recipe. For this example, I chose to use the hashtag #PCWorld in my recipe.

When you're done, select Create Trigger.

Next, you have to set the action. Select then and Google Drive. Next, select Upload file from URL.

IFTTT will pre-fill the action fields with the most ingredients for that action. Leave the File URL field set as the Attachment URL, as that's where Drive will get your file.

For the file name, it's fine to use "Subject." This will set the filename of your uploaded file in Drive to the subject of the email without the hashtag. For example, if the subject of my email reads "Product brochure #PCWorld," the filename of the uploaded PDF would be "Product brochure.pdf."

Finally, you have to set the folder you want the file to be added in. This will default to IFTTT/Email, but you can set it to just about anything. You should note that if you leave the field blank, the folder defaults to 'IFTTT.' If you want to drop the file in the base Google Drive folder, you can input / as the path.

Again, when you're finished, click Create Action.

Now you'll be able to name the recipe. You'll also be able to select whether you want IFTTT to alert you via the IFTTT Android or iOS app when the recipe runs.

When you're finished, click Create Recipe.

Now you're all ready to test it. In the iPad Word app, simply email the PDF to with the appropriate hashtag in the subject line. It may take a minute or two, but the PDF will be automagically added to your Google Drive (or other cloud storage) account.

This is only a half-solution to the main problem: the lack of local PDF export. Plus, the export option is dependent upon an Internet connection. Luckily, if you send the email without an Internet connection, your email app will deliver the email as soon as you're back online.


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