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I am trying to migrate my local files from my mac filesystem onto iCloud folders such that I can view and edit files using Pages and Numbers seamlessly from either my the local apps or the web interface. However something that's always confused me about iCloud is the location of these files. Does iCloud force me to put spreadsheets that I want to be able to edit from Numbers in the actual Numbers folder?

So for instance if I have client work that could be both documents and spreadsheets, in my local filesystem I would have something like

  • Client A

    • SS1.xls
    • SS2.xls
    • Letter1.doc
    • Letter2.doc
  • Client B

    • SS3.xls
    • SS4.xls
    • Letter3.doc
    • Letter4.doc

Instead iCloud would now force me to adopt the following structure:

  • Numbers

    • Client A
      • SS1.xls
      • SS2.xls
    • Client B
      • SS3.xls
      • SS4.xls
  • Pages

    • Client A
      • Letter1.doc
      • Letter2.doc
    • Client B
      • Letter3.doc
      • Letter4.doc

Am I missing something, or is this just what iCloud forces you to do?

1 Answer 1

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You aren't forced to use app-specific folders, it's just the initial setup. Why not just store things outside the app folders by dragging your existing file structure into the drive folder itself?

On OS X - iCloud drive works just the same as Dropbox. You get a folder and it syncs. Apple makes special folders for some apps and categories, but you don't have to use them.

On iOS - in the settings app under iCloud - enable the toggle that says "Show on Home Screen" for iCloud Drive and you can browse away just like Dropbox (and other file sync apps allow).

Also - finder tags are now portable across devices, so you could use tags as well to help categorize client files no matter where they are stored on the filesystem.

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  • I did a bit more investigation. My confusion was coming from how if I have a spreadsheet that lived outside the Numbers folder, every time I opened it in Numbers, it appeared to make a copy of the sheet into the Numbers folder itself. However its not actually a copy, that list is more like a 'recently used' list of symlinks. Not exactly obvious from the UI when iCloud likes to hide the physical location of these files.
    – Nick Head
    Apr 13, 2016 at 20:53
  • Oh wow - that's awesome deduction @Entropica - any time software hides what's going on, it confuses a subset of people despite helping others simplify their use. In your case, you did due diligence and got mislead on how things work.
    – bmike
    Apr 13, 2016 at 22:28

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