Productivity

App Directory: The Best Office Suite For iPhone

The iPhone offers a number of office suites, bundling word processing, presentations, and spreadsheets all into one app, and none of them are really perfect because this type of work is never really optimal on a touchscreen phone. But when you need to get things done on the go, we like QuickOffice Pro for its many methods of accessing and sharing files, Microsoft Office compatibility, and simple, unencumbered editing features.

QuickOffice Pro

Platform: iOS

Price: $8.49 (Free Demo)

Download Page

  • Create, open, and edit Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents
  • Easily transfer files from your computer to your iPhone over Wi-Fi
  • Open email attachments (supported file formats only)
  • Connect to cloud services like Google, Dropbox, Box, and MobileMe to access and transfer files
  • Edit everything in your documents, from text formatting to colour to layout and more
  • Easily add images to your documents
  • View presentations on an external monitor
  • Share files via email or through cloud service providers

QuickOffice Pro benefits from being surprisingly easy to use, despite transporting a desktop office suite onto the tiny touchscreen of an iPhone. It offers a wide variety of editing capabilities that all just kind of show up as you need them. When you’re editing text, you select it and tap one of the icons at the bottom to bring up its relevant editing panel so you can change text colour, formatting, and more. When you’re done editing, just navigate back and your changes will be saved. You can then easily share the document with anybody via email, transfer it back to your computer via Wi-Fi, or upload it to one of many cloud services. These three transfer methods are also how you get documents on your iPhone, assuming you don’t create them directly within the app. Overall, QuickOffice Pro is very simple to use, offers plenty of functionality, and makes it easy to move your files to and from your device.

If you’re only managing a few documents this isn’t a big deal, but if you have a lot you might have trouble finding them all. There isn’t a good way to organise your documents and QuickOffice Pro doesn’t have a search tool. Some users have reported bugs and document compatibility issues in the past and unresponsive support, but everything was completely stable and functional in my testing.

Pages, Numbers, and Keynote ($10.49/each) are Apple’s entry into the iPhone office suite category, providing mobile versions of the desktop iWork suite. Overall the apps are very nice, and as far as user experience is concerned they’re pretty much what developers should look to for inspiration, but Apple’s approach towards office software has always been a bit too stylish. It’s less about processing words and crunching numbers and rather more about design and presentation. While that might be the right direction for you, it won’t be for most people. That aside, the entire suite still costs three times as much as QuickOffice Pro.

Documents To Go ($10.49) also offers a full office suite and even comes with the benefit of being a hybrid app (meaning you get both an iPad and iPhone version for the same price). Documents To Go lacks some of file transferring/sharing features you’ll find in QuickOffice Pro but it’s still a pretty solid choice as well.

Documents Free (Free) is your no-pay option, and isn’t a bad choice if you just need to edit text and spreadsheet documents. It can handle Microsoft Word and Excel formats, plus it can sync with Google Docs. If you don’t want to pay anything, this is a good app to check out.

Do you have an office suite on the iPhone that you love that wasn’t mentioned here? Share your favourite in the comments.

Lifehacker’s App Directory recommends the best applications and tools across multiple platforms.


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