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Grow Your Business Technology

How to Use an iPad for Business

How to Use an iPad for Business
Put your iPad to work. / Credit: Shutterstock

If you already have an iPad, but you don't use it much at work, you're missing out. There's no doubt that the iPad's stellar display is great for watching movies and swiping through photos, but with the right apps and accessories, Apple's tablet can become a work machine.

When combined with a keyboard or a stylus, your iPad goes from being a nice tablet to a powerful tool for business. Tablets are portable, affordable and easy to use, and when paired with powerful accessories, iPads can be nearly as powerful as standard laptops but without the bulky frame.

Keyboard: There are plenty of keyboards available for both the iPad and iPad mini. Logitech makes high quality Bluetooth keyboards ($69.99) as well as iPad-ready keyboards ($129.99) that attach via Apple's Smart connector. You can also link your iPad to Apple's full-size wireless keyboards for Macs, or opt for an Apple Smart Keyboard ($169) that attaches via Smart connector.

Stylus: The Apple Pencil is a sensitive stylus specifically designed for iPad Pros, and if you plan on using your tablet for note taking during business meetings, it's a no brainer. The Apple Pencil can also be used to jot down notes on PDFs, scribble reminders, draw charts and graphs and more.

Case: An elegant folio case is the perfect accessory to keep your iPad, Apple Pencil and Keyboard together. Apple sells a wide range of cases in different materials, so you can find something that meets your needs and your business style. However, you can opt of a third-party case: Targus makes affordable no-frills cases for the 9.7-inch iPad (starting at $24.99) and Twelve South makes elegant iPad cases that look like leather-bound books (starting at $69.99).

Thanks to an increasing demand for mobile software solutions, you can run almost all the business tools you already love on your iPad. Here are just a few favorites among business iPad users:

Microsoft Office Mobile Apps: Thanks to Microsoft's line of mobile Office apps, you can outfit your iPad with your favorite work tools, like Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Being able to showcase presentations directly from your iPad without lugging your laptop around is a win. You can also download Microsoft Outlook and OneNote on your iPad for cohesive integration across different platforms and devices.

QuickBooks: One of the most popular software products, with small and large businesses alike, is QuickBooks. Thanks to the mobile QuickBooks app, you can access your account from anywhere, process invoices and keep an eye on the books. [See Related Story: Which Version of QuickBooks is Right for Your Business?]

OneDrive: OneDrive is a mobile friendly cloud storage system that has easy integration with Windows. The world is moving toward cloud storage in general, but if you're planning on doing real work on your iPad it's especially vital, since a few robust spreadsheets and videos can eat up your RAM pretty quickly.

Slack: Slack is a great tool for keeping your team connected. There is an iOS app for Slack, but it can also be run on desktops and across all different operating systems. With Slack, you can chat with your team, create different channels, DM people and host video and voice conference calls. [See Related Story: 8 Best Apps for Business Collaboration]

Trello: If you want to stay on task on your iPad, Trello is a solid choice. Trello has an easy to use project management and workflow management dashboard that makes remote collaboration simple.

CamCard: iPads are super convenient for expos and tradeshows when you don't want to lug your laptop around. The CamCard iOS app is great for keeping track of contacts and organizing customer data.

If you left your laptop at home but need something that's not stored in the cloud, you can always use remote desktop access to view your primary machine through your iPad. Microsoft Remote Desktop is a free and easy to use iOS app that makes remote access simple.

With powerful apps loaded on your iPad, the right accessories and remote desktop access, your iPad transforms from a basic tablet into a robust business tool.

Mona Bushnell

Mona Bushnell is a New York City-based Staff Writer for Tom’s IT Pro and Business News Daily. She has a B.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College and has previously worked as an IT Technician, a Copywriter, a Software Administrator, a Scheduling Manager and an Editorial Writer. Mona began freelance writing full-time in 2014 and joined the Purch team in 2017.