MacMost Now 740: Mountain Lion iCloud Documents

Learn how you can store Mac Pages, Numbers and Keynote documents in your iCloud account with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. These documents can also be accessed on your iOS devices. Find out how to create iCloud folders, rename, delete and move iCloud documents.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's take a look at using the iCloud document features in Mountain Lion.

With Mountain Lion we can finally save pages from Documents, Numbers, and Keynote to the same iCloud document space as we have been using already in IOS say on the iPad. So, for instance, you can save your Pages documents not to your hard drive as before but also to this iCloud disk space that's up on Apple servers. That's a shared space between your IOS devices using Pages and your Mac using Pages.

So when I first open up Pages here I can see the open file dialogue looks completely different. It has two modes; iCloud and On My Mac. I switch to On My Mac and it looks just like it did before, the typical Finder open window here that is just about in every application.

But in iCloud it looks a little different. It kind of looks like it does when you try to open up something on the iPad. You can see the documents here that are stored in iCloud. So these are all documents up on Apple servers. If I would look in Pages on my iPad I would see exactly these same documents there. I can select one and choose to open it.

Now I can also do other things. For instance I can create a new document here by clicking this button and once I do that it will choose a template just as Pages always has.

The first time I go to save it, I'm going to go to File, Save, it will tell me where I want to save it. I can save it to iCloud or a location on my hard drive as before. Now there is a little expansion button there. Notice it is inactive when you are looking at iCloud. But if I were to go to say Documents I can expand it as before and see everything that I saw before. Switching back to iCloud will give me this simple window here and I can create a name. So I will just call this Testing and saved to iCloud. Now when I close that and go to open a new document you will see it goes to iCloud and I have the Testing document right here and it even tells me the last time that it was updated.

Now one thing that's not immediately obvious is that this window here, even though it is open dialogue in Pages, acts kind of like a Finder window. So for instance if I wanted to take this Testing document and move it to my local hard drive say on desktop or Finder window, I can drag it out and move it over. So now it's on my local hard drive.

Likewise if I have a document on my local hard drive on the desktop or Finder window I can drag it in. So this is kind of like Finder but only the Finder for Pages for the iCloud account for it. So you can drag it back and forth.

Also you can create folders. There is no new folder button here like there is in a regular open dialogue but you can create them by dragging one document onto the other. Just like you could with IOS and the Apple icons. So I'm going to call this "My Folder". There I go, I've got it. I can open it, I can rename it, I can drag something out of it if I wanted to. I can drag another document into it. So that's how you can manage folders. So this is just a folder inside of my Pages iCloud space.

Now if I were to create a New Document here and save it you are going to see that I've got the ability to save it to iCloud at the top level or that folder name right there. So the folders will appear here.

There is also a conjectural menu here I can control, click or two finger click, and Rename, Move to Trash (is how I would delete file from this), Duplicate it, Quick Look of this, and Share in various ways. Also I can drag this to the actual Trash Can on my Mac and it will behave properly.

This works for Keynote and Numbers. Here in Keynote I haven't put anything in it yet but it is the same exact window.

So a few things you should know about iCloud document space. First of all every app has it's own space. So when you open Pages you can only see Pages documents. And it is true across Macs and IOS devices. You can see all the Pages documents but you can't while running Pages see Keynote or Numbers documents. Likewise for Numbers and Keynote.

Other applications like TextEdit. TextEdit has the shared iCloud space for Macs but there is no TextEdit app on the iPad or iPhone. So there is no way to get access to the documents because there is no app that TextEdit will run and look for those.

Also keep in mind that these applications are a little different between IOS and Mac. So for instance there are things that you can do in Pages that are not available in Pages for IOS. So you get warning messages if you try to open a document on your iPad that is using a feature that is not available on the iPad.

Now as time goes on we are going to find more and more applications, particularly third party applications, that are hooking into iCloud. So some of your favorite apps right now may behave like they always have, just saving files to the hard drive but soon there may be updates to some of those that allow you to save documents to iCloud and there may even be IOS apps that are the equivalent that may allow you to open up those files. So your favorite app developers may be getting ready to use iCloud as well as continuing to use local hard drive space as well.

Indeed, we may be looking at a future where you don't save anything to your local hard drive. Everything is saved to the Cloud and if you are using say Pages, Numbers, and Keynote and applications like that it could be very soon. For people editing images and video it is going to be a lot further in the future as those files are huge and harder to actually store online.

I hope you found this useful. This is Gary with MacMost Now

Comments: 33 Responses to “MacMost Now 740: Mountain Lion iCloud Documents”

    Regan Bune
    7/28/12 @ 3:20 pm

    Are there any apps that can use iCloud this way with pdf documents?

      7/28/12 @ 3:28 pm

      I’m not sure. Which PDF creation app do you use now? I’d contact the developer of that app and ask them to add iCloud support.

        7/28/12 @ 3:29 pm

        Actually, a quick search shows that PDFpen has a “PDFpen Cloud Access” app for Mac. Not sure how it works, but check it out and let us know.

      8/2/12 @ 6:41 am

      You can now use Preview to store PDFs in iCloud. However, this only seems to work from Mac to Mac – there is no iOS app which will connect to these PDFs when you move them to iCloud. Maybe Apple will fix this in iOS 6, or with a new app.

      My biggest gripe with iCloud documents is that it doesn’t allow me to reply to email with an attached file when that file is stored in iCloud….unless I’m missing something….when you hit reply and go to choose an attachment, there is an option for “iCloud” in the usual folder view, but this folder comes up as empty (despite the fact that I have numerous documents stored in iCloud). This is a big problem for me, because I have to reply to emails sending out documents about 25 times a day, and this makes the process so much more cumbersome (having to copy the email address of the sender, go to the file in the app and start a new email thread). They need to fix it so that we can reply to emails (in Mac Mail app) and choose an iCloud document to attach.

        8/2/12 @ 7:52 am

        Both of your comments relate to the same thing. iCloud documents are app-specific. If you store a Pages document, it is only available for Pages. A Preview document is only available to Preview — and there is no Preview app for iOS, so there is nothing that will access that iCloud space. Mail iCloud documents are only available to Mail. You can save an attachment to iCloud from Mail, and then access that attachment to send to someone else. That may not seem very useful, but the alternative was not to have iCloud documents for Mail at all.
        If you are looking for a way to save document from one app (PDFs from Preview) and open them in another (Some PDF reader on iOS) then you have lots of other options: DropBox or something like it, iTunes, etc.

    7/29/12 @ 9:20 pm

    I was concerned about how saving to iCloud would work, as I’m always searching for documents using Finder. No need to worry, as Finder searched and found the iCloud document instantly – very impressive.

    Previously when using iDisk, I’m sure my documents were saved both locally and on the server. If you want to save locally while using iCloud, it seems that you would need to drag the document across to the desktop (and keep your eye on version control).

    Thanks for the great video!

    Greg Griffiths
    7/31/12 @ 8:49 pm

    Gary, Will I cloud synch files saved to iCloud with your Hard Drive for offline access while you may not have connectivity to the internet? (similar to DropBox?)

      7/31/12 @ 9:27 pm

      Yes. You can access the files locally while not connected, and then it syncs with the server the next time you connect.

    Frank Erazo
    8/2/12 @ 10:51 am

    Awesome! I’m glad they came out with this. Since Lion, I had wondered if there was a way to map to the iCloud.

    Gordon Dunlop
    8/2/12 @ 11:00 am

    You lost me at “when you first open up pages here”. How? Where? Thanks your videos are very helpful.

      8/2/12 @ 11:19 am

      Run Pages however you usually do. Some people use the Dock to launch apps, others use LaunchPad, others use the Applications folder, etc — however you run Pages.

    Geoffrey Keeys
    8/2/12 @ 1:12 pm

    I too would like an IOS Preview app to allow PDF files to be read from iCloud. PDF Pen in theory has a similar facility but too many PDF files fail to open once uploaded. I have come to dread the file icon with the question mark? Also am unable to work out what causes it to happen

      8/2/12 @ 1:21 pm

      Try the DropBox app. Use DropBox on your Mac, then put your PDFs in the DropBox folder. Then the iOS DropBox app sees them and you can open them. I use this quite a bit.

    8/5/12 @ 4:09 am

    Gary, Is there really any good reason to use iCloud, if I have Dropbox installed? I cannot see any functionality that iCloud offers (other than the iOS type interface), that I cannot get with Dropbox. Or am I missing something here?

      8/5/12 @ 8:52 am

      Perhaps you don’t mean “use iCloud” but “use iCloud for documents” — what the video is about. Because obviously iCloud is a lot more than documents.
      But for documents, it works better if you have iOS in the mix. With Dropbox you could share Pages documents between Macs, but not with Pages for iOS since there’s no way to open the DropBox files — you can view them in some 3rd-party apps, I guess, but not to edit them.
      So it makes sense to use iCloud for apps that support iCloud (Pages, Keynote and Numbers — but soon a lot more as 3rd party devs start to use it) and DropBox for the rest.

        8/8/12 @ 5:41 am

        I believe you can go to Dropbox, select the file, then “Open in Pages” from the icon in the top right (I forget what it’s called…).

          8/8/12 @ 8:56 am

          Yes, you can! So that makes it even a better option. But what it does is copy it over to Pages. It is a copy, and the original in your DropBox folder will remain untouched. Then there is no way to get the new version back to DropBox directly — you’d have to use iTunes, email it or use iCloud to then complete the loop back to your Mac.

    Mr Anthony Cotton
    8/26/12 @ 12:47 pm

    I have found there is no “save has” in Preview,so i am using ColorSync Utility.
    I found how to change the name in Preview,but when i click on the outside it reverts back to Screen Shot. Gary

      8/26/12 @ 1:09 pm

      In Mountain Lion? There is. Hold down Option, select the File menu.

    Mr Anthony Cotton
    8/27/12 @ 9:22 am

    Thanks for pointing this out Gary.

    9/22/12 @ 7:47 pm

    One thing I want to do but for the life of me cannot seem to figure out is how to share a document in Pages with another iOS user. iCloud currently supports sharing of photos but not documents (I have a huge gripe with this!). If I use Dropbox to share the document, the other user can see but not edit it. Furthermore, with Dropbox, I cannot edit the document in Pages for iOS without it opening up a copy of that document within Pages for iOS — which means the now edited doc cannot be seen by the other user since the new/edited doc is now in iCloud. So… is there *any* way that I can easily edit a single document across all my Apple devices and still be able to share the most recently updated document with another iOS user?

      9/22/12 @ 11:18 pm

      iCloud doesn’t currently have a share-with-others function like that. Using DropBox is a good way to do it — I don’t know why they can’t edit the document. I definitely use it that way all the time. Check your sharing settings for that DropBox folder as you definitely can set it up that way.

    Jim P
    9/29/12 @ 4:05 pm

    I have upgraded to mountain lion and pages is now 4.2 (1008) though when I open up the open dialog box it seems to be like the previous 4.1 and there is no signage for icloud anywhere. Please can you help.

      9/29/12 @ 5:01 pm

      Perhaps you don’t have iCloud turned on in your System Preferences? Or, if you do, you have Documents turned off.

    Jim P
    9/30/12 @ 1:37 am

    Yes it is turned on. As is documents and data on system preferences. ?????

      9/30/12 @ 9:06 am

      When they you should see iCloud/On My Mac in the upper left corner of the open dialog in Pages. Look carefully for it. If not, maybe a visit to the Genius Bar for a first-hand look will help.

    Jim P
    9/30/12 @ 10:43 am

    Have solved the problem. I updated through mac AppStore and all is fine now. Many thanks though.

    10/23/12 @ 8:12 pm

    Nice one, Gary, thank you.

    Am I correct in thinking there is no way to have files on my local disk automatically store/update to iCloud? It’s either one or the other, right?

      10/23/12 @ 9:37 pm

      iCloud files ARE on your disk. If you have two Macs, then they would be on both disks. iCloud is the service that syncs the files between the disks.
      It is hard to grasp how this works, thus the “cloud” metaphor. The idea is not to worry about where the file is located — it is everywhere.

    12/12/12 @ 11:46 am

    I watch you daily on my TiVo. Keep up the good work.
    My wife and I both have iPads. But we share an iMac. Is there a way with 2 iCloud accounts to both send iPad pages documents to the one pages program on the iMac?

      12/12/12 @ 12:06 pm

      To send each other Pages docs, either email them to each other, or use a cloud sharing service like DropBox.

        12/12/12 @ 12:43 pm

        So, there is no way to share the iMac pages program?

          12/12/12 @ 12:58 pm

          You mean documents within Pages, right? Not the app itself.
          Many ways. You can email or use DropBox like I mention — those are just two, there are other apps that facilitate sharing like DropBox. But iCloud Documents is for seeing your own documents on your own account.

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