Even if you bought an iPad with work in mind, there is a good chance you mostly ended up using it to watch movies, play games, or dawdle on the Internet. This article in the Wall Street Journal might kick start your work ethic, though: it’s Walter Mossberg’s review of some of the market’s best office software for tablets. Microsoft Office still isn’t optimized for tablet use, but get your hands on these substitutes and you may find yourself getting a lot more work done on your iPad. Here’s a quick summary of Mossberg’s impressions:
The office suite includes three facilities: Pages (word-processing), Numbers (spreadsheets), and Keynote (presentations), each $10. It generally works well with Office-formatted documents and is clear about when it won’t be compatible. A PowerPoint file imported perfectly, though there was a hiccup importing a Word document.
QuickOffice Pro HD
This app is cheaper– $20 for word-processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. Mossberg doesn’t seem to recommend it, though. Pulling up a PowerPoint file messed up the formatting, and he couldn’t put a photo in the imported Word document.
This free program has a lot of features, like video and audio calling, that the others don’t because it doesn’t “live on the iPad”; instead, it’s operating through an Office-like program running on a server. Unfortunately, it’s also not designed for a tablet, so it is difficult to use without a mouse. It doesn’t work offline, and when tested with a PowerPoint file, it failed to format the presentation properly.
This app works similarly to AstralPad, except the program running on the server is an actual copy of Office, and not a clone. It displayed a Word document and a PowerPoint presentation perfectly, but like AstralPad, it’s clumsy to use and won’t work offline.
Your choice depends on what you are looking for in the app, but any one of these should help you take your work on the go.