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I edited an Excel document by tapping on it in OneDrive on iPad, closed it, and opened it. The opened version was not the version I closed. Unreliable saving of office documents also happens in other apps like Word. It is a nightmare to work like this on iPad and highly frustrating and embarrassing: I sent an Excel file (by attaching it to an email) to a colleague, which did not reflect my recent changes and was therefore completely wrong.

It was suggested to not send Office documents by attaching them to an email but rather send a link. While this may work in most situations, there are times when I actually want to send a copy to a colleague and not a link. The problem also impacted me when duplicating a file, e.g., for a backup, i.e., an old version was duplicated.

I also experienced that a different (older) version was shown after opening an office document in the Word or Excel apps on iPad after closing it.

I have experienced these problems for a long time and I have filed several bug reports both to Apple and Microsoft. Although saving files reliably is very important, it has not been properly addressed.

It seems that I am not the only person who saw this or related problems:

Has anyone else experienced such problems? What can I do about this?


Here is an example for the Excel file „Vergütungen 2022-2023“, which I opened from the Files app and then modified it in the Excel app.

When I open the Excel document file from Safari or the OneDrive app, I get an old version. When I open the Excel document from the Files app, I get the version I just modified (although the date in the Files app is also yesterday).


Image 1: In the Excel app on iPad, it is confirmed that the file has been saved just now.



Image 2: However, in the Files app on iPad, the save date is yesterday.



Image 3: The date in OneDrive in Safari is also from yesterday, but it differs from the date in the Files app.



Image 4: In the OneDrive app on iPad, the date is also yesterday.

Update March 2, 2024: The problem has still not been solved under iPadOS 17.3.1.

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  • Where are you accessing OneDrive via the web, on the same iPad or on a different computer? What happens if you create a new Excel file on the iPad? How fast does it get synced into the cloud (aka is visible in Safari)? When it got synced, do the other files also get synced?
    – nohillside
    Commented Feb 7, 2023 at 9:26

1 Answer 1

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Unreliable saving of office documents also happens in other apps like Word. It is a nightmare to work like this on iPad and highly frustrating and embarrassing...

As an avid OneDrive, and Microsoft 365 user, I can confidently say that this is due to network connectivity/latency issues. For whatever reason, the changed file (local to your iPad) didn't get sync'ed.

I sent an Excel file to a colleague, which did not reflect my recent changes and was therefore completely wrong.

When you "send" the file, are you emailing the file itself, or a link to the document? If the latter, then this is where the issue is coming from. The cloud version hasn't updated due yet.

If you did edit via the web (you don't have Excel on your iPad), then you should email via the web. If you send the email by attaching a local file (a cached version not yet sync'ed), you're not sending the latest updated version.

Either email the link to the document or check sync status before emailing the file as an attachment.

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  • I created and modified an Excel file with the Excel app on iPad. I closed the Excel file and then I attached the Excel file to an email. The version that my colleague received was an old one.
    – John
    Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 22:37
  • I also experienced that a different version was shown after opening an office document in the Word or Excel apps on iPad after closing it. This has happened many, many times over months.
    – John
    Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 22:44
  • That doesn’t make sense. From where did you attach the file?
    – Allan
    Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 23:07
  • I dragged it from the Files app to an email.
    – John
    Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 23:31
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    Don't do that. You're using a cached version. MS365 is not like the old fashioned Windows days where you save a file then email it. Instead of emailing a file, share the link to the file instead.
    – Allan
    Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 18:50

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