Office Productivity On The Go
For almost any person that uses a personal computer, the need for document creation is a necessity. With the advent of the iPhone and later, the iPad, this need has been addressed in some way or another, but the results have been somewhat lackluster. In the computing community, the predominance of Microsoft Office, the suite of apps that includes Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, has created a huge user base that Apple has tried to challenge with the iWork suite. Cross-compatibility isn’t great, and saving back to Word from Pages isn’t possible, so iOS users need a way to create and edit MS Office docs reliably on their devices. Documents to Go, from DataViz, has been on the scene for some time, but with their latest release, v4, they’ve added some cool new features to their app. In this review, I’m kicking the tires on the Premium version of the app, which adds some things I require for my work flow: cloud compatibility.
The primary allure for Documents to Go, or DocsToGo, is the ability to create and edit documents in the wildly popular MS Office formats. It will never be as fully featured as the real deal, but it certainly does great with the basics that most everyone uses in document creation. In my opinion, Word has become a unwieldy behemoth that is a necessary evil just to edit a simple document, but I’m sure there are folks that use it to it’s fullest extent. Excel is a different story, as folks more readily utilize the increasingly sophisticated functions that improve productivity. I’d guess that 80% of the people that use Word just want to type a document; leave the “advanced” features in another program. Regardless, DocsToGo does an admirable job of keeping Word doc creation exceedingly simple on your iOS device. Simple formatting options are provided, like fonts, color, size, indentations, bullets, and more. The interface is without frills, which allows you to gt right to what matters most: typing your content.
For Excel document creation, you can do the simple stuff, but by no means is this a substitute for Excel. Before you plunk down the $16.99 for the Premium version thinking this will replace your laptop with Excel, think again. You’ll find reviews on the app store with people griping about not being able to do this and that, but that is not what DocsToGo is for, it’s meant to “work in a pinch”. For PowerPoint slide shows, it goes a step further, in that you can’t do much aside from simple editing of slide content in outline mode. There are no bells and whistles for PowerPoint creation or editing, which is something most presentations need, in my opinion. It does allow you to take notes for each slide, so maybe it’s geared for commenting on an existing or rudimentary slideshow for future editing at the computer. DocsToGo will severely disappoint you if you need to create PowerPoint presentations on your iPad or iPhone.
The feature that I use with gusto that Premium does bring is the cloud integration. DocsToGo works with Dropbox, SugarSync, Google Docs, MobileMe, and more. You can enter your credentials and all your documents in the cloud are ready to be edited. It also views iWork docs, PDFs, and a few other formats, but that’s not why you will use DocsToGo: to easily create and edit Word docs on your mobile device. Want to complain? Go use a computer and get what you’re looking for.