How to Sync Files between OneDrive and Your iPad or Mac

By Peter Weverka

You can sync your OneDrive to your iPad or Mac. In computer terminology, syncing (the term comes from synchronizing) means to see to it that the data in two different places is the same. For example, you would sync data on a cellphone and a computer to make sure that the same telephone numbers are stored on both devices.

Syncing is important for working on files on OneDrive because, unless your OneDrive files and the files on your iPad or Mac are in sync, you can end up with many different versions of the same file and not be sure which version is up‐to‐date.

Syncing files between the iPad and OneDrive

You will be glad to know that Office files on the iPad and Office files kept at OneDrive are synced automatically. In case you lose your Internet connection when you’re working on a file stored on OneDrive, the iPad keeps a local copy of Office files you’re working on. If you lose your Internet connection, you work on the local copy. This local copy is uploaded automatically to OneDrive when the Internet connection is restored.

You can tell when you’re working on a local copy of a file from OneDrive by opening the File menu. If you see the words “Upload pending” under AutoSave, it means the edits you made to your file haven’t been saved to OneDrive yet. The edits will be saved to OneDrive when the Internet connection is restored.

Syncing files between Office 2011 and OneDrive

To sync files between Office 2011 for Mac and OneDrive, you need an app called OneDrive. This app is available for free at the App Store.

After you download and install the OneDrive app to your Mac, you can tell the app which folders on OneDrive you want to sync on your Mac. The OneDrive app makes copies of folders on OneDrive and places these copies on your machine. Then, working in the background, the OneDrive app copies files back and forth between your Mac and OneDrive as necessary to make sure that the latest versions of all files are in both places and in sync with one another.

Open the Launchpad and click OneDrive to open the OneDrive app. After it opens, the OneDrive icon appears on the Mac toolbar. Clicking the OneDrive icon opens a drop‐down menu with information about how much storage space you have on OneDrive and when files were synchronized. As far as syncing goes, these are the options worth knowing about on the menu:

  • Open OneDrive folder: Opens the OneDrive folder so that you can see which folders are synced. You can open Office files from this folder. Click a folder to open it and then click the name of a file you want to open.

  • Preferences: Opens the Preferences dialog box so that you can tell the OneDrive app how you want it to work:

    • General: Place the OneDrive icon on the Dock and open the app at startup.

    • Choose Folders: Tell the app which OneDrive folders you want to replicate and sync with on your machine.

    • About: Unsync folders on your machine from OneDrive.

      Use the OneDrive app to sync files.

      Use the OneDrive app to sync files.