Published on January 10th, 2010 | by Kyith2
Office Word and Excel on the iPhone:QuickOffice Review
In my opinion,for a productive worker, once you get pass scheduling on your calendar, reading mails and taking notes, the next frontier is whether you can do the same on your mobile device like how you do it on your desktop computer.
I always tell my friends that on a 3.5 inch device, and for the matter, the old devices comes not more than 2.8 inch screen,
- The OS SDK might be a limiting factor
- The OS might be generally powerful enough to reproduce the kind of things you can do on your desktop
- Your word processing can be carried out quite well on a mobile device
- You can do limited powerpoint slide review and creation on a mobile device
- Using excel will be a pain in the ass on such a small screen
I’m glad that the folks at QuickOffice is kind enough to provide me with the resources to carry out this review. The folks at QuickOffice have been doing this difficult task in translating what you do on the desktop to Palm,Symbian and Blackberry since i first saw them in 1997, so they are very experienced in this area.
The iPhone App cost USD19.99 but as far as i know for a limited time you can get this application for USD9.99 on the app store
The QuickOffice Suite
What you will be getting is a suite that enables you to manage your files, not just your Microsoft Word,Microsoft Excel but also
- Images: .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .tif, .tiff, .gif and .svg
- Microsoft Word: .doc and .docx
- Microsoft Excel: .xls and .xlsx
- Microsoft PowerPoint: .ppt and .pptx
- iWork: Pages, Numbers and Keynote (iWork ’09 is not supported
- Adobe Acrobat: .pdf
- Web Pages: .htm and .html
- Text: .txt
- Audio: .mp3
Of course, what is important is that you can create and edit Word and Excel documents well on your iPhone.
Transfer too and from your iPhone is a breeze with Web Access.
On top of that it does leverages on MobileMe’s iDisk to provide cloud storage so that you can have access to your files that is not on your iPhone.
You can also forward your email attachments that you want to open with QuickOffice to email@example.com to edit your files quickly.
Transfer your documents and spreadsheets via WIFI
The first way to get access to your existing word or spreadsheets is to transfer wirelessly by ensuring your computer is on the same WIFI network as your iPhone
By going to the Settings icon, you are able to configure your file transfers. You may also provide Authentication for added security.
You will be able to see a url http://192.168.1.101:4242 below. Basically, your iPhone is now a server and any computer on the network can connect to your iPhone via the Web Browser to transfer files to and from.
At your desktop computer, type in the URL and you should be able to see the above page. You would be able to download the files stored on your iPhone and at the same time upload files to your iPhone.
Accessing your MobileMe iDisk
The beauty of cloud computing is that it works very well if you are using a Mac computer and have a MobileMe account. To find out what is iDisk [link here >>]
Once you have set your iDisk details you would be able to edit and create files if you are connected to the cloud. There is this much i can say about this service since at the moment i do not have a MobileMe account.
Do feedback to me if you have problems with it.
Editing and Viewing your Email attachments
This is a functionality that i thought it would be quite seamless but it is not. Basically, when you see view email attachments, the idea in your head is that “I head over to Safari and i should be able to launch quick office when i select an attachment”
Well, this is not the case. Here are the steps. Basically, you will need to go to this screen and add your email accounts that you want to monitor for attachments. This would likely be your regular Gmail and Yahoo accounts people usually send mail to you.
- The first option allows you to add email address
Now once you click save, you are not done yet. You will need to go to your email accounts and validate the email account
Go to your email account and you should receive this mail. Click on the bottom Validate your address
You should see this page where they will teach you how to access your email attachment. So from now onwards, whenever you forward your email to firstname.lastname@example.org from this email address, the files will be stored. Note that you have 50MB of space for these to be stored online.
Here i will compose a mail with a text file and an excel sheet.Once sent i should be able to see it on my iPhone app.
I think its a long process but they probably don’t have a direct way of accessing safari for your attachments which is why they have to resort to this method. Having 3 methods is better than 1 i feel and they should look into partnerships with Dropbox, Syncplicity,SugarSync or ZumoDrive to make their network stronger.
Quickword comes in the QuickOffice Suite but if you do not need to Excel component you can always purchase it at USD11.99 and at a special offer now at USD8.99.
So how does this measure up?
I think its pretty good. Its got most of the things that you need to be on the road. For sure you are not gonna do full wordprocessing on it. You are looking to
- Kick start a document while the idea is fresh in your head
- Finish up a document as you really need to rush out
- Review a document someone did
If you are thinking about doing this then i think it measures up.
Apparently you can choose which format your new document is saved whether its MS Office 97-2004,XP format or Office 2007 format which is DOCX.
The first button below enables you to edit your text to the desired format. What you see in that image is what it can do. There are quite a few standard colors to choose from even though i hope that there will be more.
Selecting the Text Format and you are able to choose the font size and font type. Other than the 5 shown on the screen there is also Arial. Very limited selection here. Which is a down side
The second button on the bottom brings you to the Alignment options. You can drag the blue text left center or right to format it to how you want it to look. You can indent only the first line or the full paragraph here.
The fourth button lets you insert bullets into your document. The negative thing about this is that it only allows you to insert unordered bullets and not numbered bullets so i hope to see this in the future versions as i am sure alot of folks will need this.
The last button enables you to comb through a document to find certain word or phrases. Works like what it is suppose to.
Overall, I would say it serves the 3 functions that i mentioned above but not as close to even what you can do on a cloud word processor like google docs or zoho word.
The standalone quicksheet cost like the standalone quickword and alot of people will look forward to this as more important since it enables you to check calculations on the go or for some people they keep their accounts and expenses in excel sheets.
In terms of presentation i feel that the cell size is big compared to their old Palm and Blackberry software. Of course you can drag the columns to resize, no problem there.
You would be able to see the formula’s on top just like your excel and the layout below is just like Quickword
Clicking on the first button will bring you to the formatting options. Most of them are covered under Quickword but there are a few pertaining to sheet, which is Background color and Cell borders.
The Number Format gives you the standard options which is good because you can further define how many decimal places for example you want your Percentage.
Clicking on the third button enables you to add or go to another worksheet. you will use this alot for complex worksheets.
I did an experiement to see if you can cross reference cells in different sheets. In the above example i created a Sheet 2, and i try to reference cell B1 of Sheet1. It does work just like the desktop one which is a good thing.
The last button i want to go through is the fourth button which enables you to insert and delete columns and rows. A very useful feature that worked well.
Tapping on the fx word on top will bring you to the functions you can insert into your current cell formula. The formulas are well categorized but i haven’t fully tested them out so not sure if there are problems with it.
If you are going to use excel you want extensive formulas to work and this is where they score big points with me.
Overall, i would say in terms of functionality for Quicksheet it is adequate. Unless you are a math professor you won’t be meddling alot with things that are out of reach in terms of formulas. However, the problem is that the cells take up too much space and on portrait you can only see this much and you end up scrolling left and right.
The problems with QuickOffice
The main problem i have with QuickOffice is that it is somewhat lacking when you switch to Landscape mode for Quickword and Quicksheet. You do not get the bottom bar any more. I do not know if its to faciliate more screen estate to editing but for Quicksheet it really hurts without the top formula bar and the bottom bar.
It highlights that when it comes to user experience, working on a 3.5 inch might not be big enough given that resolution.
Switching between landscape and portrait
This is what pissed me off more than anything else on an iPhone device. Doing spreadsheets and word processing while the screen accidentally switches from landscape to portrait can be very detrimental to a person’s patience and productivity.
There are some software that have incorporated options or locking mechanisms so hopefully Quickoffice will come up with a great idea on this, since most of the time when you are reviewing something or editing you either view it for a prolong period in landscape or portrait.
PDF viewing of large files is laggy
I do understand that PDF is not the most friendly format to render and not the best format for reading. But would just like to point out that if you are looking at this to view alot of PDF files you might as well go for one that does well viewing PDF files.
Every software have its performance issues and you do have to understand when you open a large word document or text file or pdf files, its not gonna open immediately. If you are using a 3GS device then you might not face the same problem since 200Mhz diff can do quite a fair improvement to software responsiveness.
Overall, I think wordprocessing and spreadsheets have come along way from the days where we have to rely on Microsoft crappy Mobile Word and Excel. However, office productivity is one area that is very difficult to overcome due to the screen size and resolution.
I have a feeling a minimum of 6-7 inch is required for an adequate experience but feel that QuickOffice have provided a comprehensive Word and Spreadsheet package here. If you have the need, then you can’t go wrong with this one.