Microsoft Office continues to be a key player in the business productivity software world, but has largely lagged as far as cloud-based access and mobile apps go. While a few official options exist, some of the best iPad apps for Microsoft Office come from other sources.
The Problem with Microsoft’s Office Apps
There’s not many of them. Unless you have an Office 365 subscription or only use OneNote, you’ll likely want to consider a non-Microsoft app when working remotely. Even if you do use Office 365, you may still find that other apps do a better job. For example, while Microsoft Office 365 does allow for mobile computing, using the Safari browser on your iPad to work with your Office documents is far from ideal. Below are three of the best apps for working with Microsoft Office on your iPad.
- Apple Apps (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) – Remember when comparing Apple and Microsoft was like comparing apples and oranges? Microsoft Office’s formats are now compatible with both platforms. This means you are no longer constrained by your operating system of choice. Apple’s Pages, Numbers, and Keynote apps are used for creating, editing, and viewing word processing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations on your iPad. Each of these apps is currently priced $9.99 on iTunes. For just under $30, you can work with your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files virtually anywhere.
- Go Docs for Google Drive & Google Docs – Google Docs is a popular alternative to Microsoft Office. It allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, and slideshows without the need for expensive software. Google Docs was groundbreaking when it initially arrived due to its cloud-based nature. While you can technically access Google Docs using Safari, the Go Docs for Google Drive & Google Docs is designed specifically for Apple devices. It is developed by a third party developer, not Google. Features such as push notifications, support for multiple accounts, the ability to upload and convert files, collaboration tools, and OCR for PDFs and images, make this app an elegant choice over using the Safari Web browser. Priced at just $4.99 as of this writing, this app is also an affordable choice.
- Quickoffice / Quickoffice Pro – Quickoffice was recently acquired by Google. Long before Google acquired it, Quickoffice Pro was widely regarded as one of the best Office apps for the iPad. Google Apps for Business subscribers can take advantage of this robust tool at no additional charge. Other users must pay for the Quickoffice Pro (for iPhone, iPod, or Android $14.99) or Quickoffice Pro HD (for iPad or Android $19.99). Quickoffice Pro is billed as the “first and only” full-featured Microsoft Office productivity app for mobile devices. It supports all MS Office file formats including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. It also integrates with popular cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Mobile Me, Google Docs, Evernote, SugarSync, Box.net, and more. Quickoffice Pro also includes many of the Office features you’ve come to rely on including track changes, comments, spell check, find and replace, and word definitions. In fact, this document was written using Quickoffice Pro.
Any of these three iPad apps will serve you well, and all are affordably priced. A MS Office training course is the best way to get most out of the software suite.
Chuck Parkin is passionate about the transformation of technology on our daily life. He writes about technology and software applications.